We don’t really produce ‘products’ as such. We manufacture bits and pieces as required to help keep the particle accelerator running. In my time I’ve helped design amplifier systems, built a control box to protect £1M worth of equipment. I’ve made I-don’t-know-how-many cables and connectors and done my fair share of plumbing. There’s a bit of everything to do!
There is a difference between product design and engineering. Product design is about form, fit and function for products being sold to the general public. Product designers have to make things that will appeal to the current tastes and trends and can be made cheaply and easily in vast quantities. Product design courses are normally found at art colleges (from my experience – i could be wrong).
The equipment I develop is more about function – the key for what I develop is that it produces the science it needs to rather than whether people would like one in their homes. I develop bespoke items to suit one application.
Product designers and engineers do work together though – I have a friend who is an engineer at Dyson and he develops the technology needed to make things work while the product designers make the products appeal to the general public.
I also don’t produce products so much. The things i do are for R&D (research and development) and one off beskope designs for customers, often with a very specific use, so it’s a development type level rather than a finished product that you’ll sell lots of.