Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2018
  • Online publication date: December 2018




Engineers are required to provide economically feasible solutions to existing problems. To achieve this, engineers must possess knowledge of economy to evaluate the monetary consequences of the products, projects and processes that they design. Engineering design solutions do not exist in a vacuum but within the context of a business opportunity. Since almost every problem has multiple solutions, so the issue is: how does one rationally select a design with the most favorable economic result? The answer to this question is provided by engineering economy. Engineering economy, the analysis of the economic consequences of engineering decisions, is said to have originated in A. M. Wellington's The Economic Theory of Railway Location, published in 1887. Engineering economy is now considered a part of the education of every engineer, as it provides a systematic framework for evaluating the economic aspects of competing design solutions. Just as engineers model the effect of temperature on cutting tools or the thermodynamic response of an air compressor, they must also model the economic impact of their recommendations. What is ‘engineering economy’ and why is it so important? The initial reaction of many engineering students to this question is, ‘money matters will be handled by someone else and I need not worry about these matters’. In reality, any engineering project must be, not only physically realizable but also economically affordable. Understanding and applying economic principles to engineering have never been more important. Engineering is more than a problem-solving activity focusing on the development of products, systems, and processes to satisfy a need or demand. Beyond function and performance, solutions must also be economically viable. Design decisions affect limited resources such as time, material, labor, capital and natural resources, not only initially i.e. during conceptual design but also through the remaining phases of the life cycle i.e. during detailed design, manufacture and distribution, service, retirement and disposal. Engineers should realize that the solution provided by them does not make sense and will not be acceptable, if it is not profitable.