By Michael Hsu BloombergBusinessweek The salary for a mechanical reaper is among the highest in the field, and that includes those in the private sector who get paid as much as $50 million.
That’s because, unlike the average worker, a mechanical designer makes up for his or her high salary by working on a massive, high-tech machine that generates a steady stream of data from a sensor array.
In a perfect world, the machines would also generate a steady flow of data to the client, such as the weather forecast.
But sometimes, the machine has to perform other tasks, such for instance to remove a broken valve or fix a leaking pipe.
And as the jobs get more complex, engineers who are working on the machines’ design can be asked to work on more complicated tasks, which increases their salary.
According to a survey by the consulting firm Avalere Group Inc., Mechanical Engineers made $67,400 in 2014, the latest year for which data is available.
By comparison, a technician making $15 an hour, a nurse making $10 an hour and a doctor making $7 an hour made $60,200.
The average salary for these engineers was $53,700, the survey showed.
Engineers can also get promotions based on the size of the project, Avalere said.
While there are other ways for a design team to get higher salaries, such by working more closely with an engineer or even hiring a design studio, most companies prefer to use a highly specialized engineering type called a mechanica.
Mechanical engineers typically work on machines that collect and analyze data, including sensors that monitor blood pressure and oxygen levels.
“The mechanica design team works on a very large machine that produces data from sensors,” said John F. Johnson, vice president of marketing and communications for Avalere.
Some mechanica companies, such a CNC machine maker that makes some of the most popular computers, use highly specialized machines, like the Rambus, that generate data and then analyze that data.
Other companies, like a small-computer maker that designs custom processors and chips, are using small- and mid-size machines that make data processing more streamlined.
For example, one company, Cray, makes custom processors for medical device makers.
Manufacturers often ask for help from a design lab to build their machines, which can include engineers from around the world.
Avalere analyzed data from the Mechanical Engineering Salary Survey, a survey of 1,200 engineering professionals, to figure out how much they earned in 2014.
For each category of job, Avalore included data from companies such as IBM, Hewlett Packard, Intel and HP Inc. Data from a machine’s data capture system, a sensor and a control chip was used to estimate the total salary.