In 1951, as previously mentioned, the three Institutes that offered the above mentioned courses merged, giving life to one of the first Italian multi-subject Institutes under the directorship of Prof. Ottorino Sesini, who held this position until his retirement in 1961-62, when it was taken over by Prof. Italo Bertolini who held the position until 1969.
The departments of Automotive Construction and Agricultural Mechanics – falling under the umbrella of the same course of study – together with Technologies and Industrial Plants, became a part of the Institute and were directed by Prof. Antongiulio Dornig, nominated director of the institute, following the retirement of Prof. Bertolini. In the meantime, in 1965, most of the Institute had moved to a new building referred to as “la nave” (the ship), situated in Via Bonardi. The new location meant that there was now more space, especially for the laboratories, thus serving as the first example of a modern, efficient economy of scale. At the end of the three year period, the directorship was handed over to Prof. Giovanni Bianchi who was subsequently succeeded, for two mandates, by Prof. Emilio Massa until his election to President of the School of Engineering in 1980, when Prof. Bianchi was once again asked to complete the remainder of the three year mandate.
Following the entry into force of law no. 382 of 1980, it was finally possible to implement the long-awaited departmental structure to which reference had been made in the centenary book published fifteen years earlier. Prof. Dornig was elected director of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and it was, in fact, under his aegis that the somewhat complex transition to administrative autonomy took place, being finally completed under the auspices of Prof. Andrea Capello, who served as its new director during the three-year academic period between 1984-1987. The transition was finally completed following the appointment of Prof. Giuseppe Bernasconi to director for the three-year academic period between 1987-1990, an appointment that he was unable to complete due to his failing health. In 1989, he was replaced by Vice-director, Prof. Giorgio Diana, who was also re-elected for the next three-year period from 1992 to 1995 and who started the process of the Department’s move to the new Bovisa campus.
The task of organizing and implementing the Department’s move to the Bovisa campus fell first to Prof. Sergio Sirtori (1995-98) and subsequently to his successor, Prof. Marzio Falco (1998-2001). In fact, it was at the Bovisa campus that the IV School of Engineering (Scuola di Ingegneria Industriale) was established, thus marking the creation of those “separate Politecnico di Milano Schools” clearly envisaged seven years earlier. However, misfortune struck once again when the director of the Department, Prof. Falco, died after a long illness.
In 2000-01, Prof. Giorgio Diana was called in to complete the task started by his colleague, bringing it full cycle during the next two mandates which lasted until 2007 when he was forced to resign following the entry into force of new laws which prevented him from performing different institutional roles. During these years, the Department opened new laboratory facilities and a wind tunnel and increased its participation in European Union research projects. The research budget boosted the Department to the top-level ranking which it still holds today.
Prof. Diana was succeeded by Prof. Ferruccio Resta who opened the new head office. The Department then went on to inaugurate new laboratories (Mechatronics, Micromechanics). In 2008, based on an international peer review of the Politecnico di Milano, the Department of Mechanical Engineering obtained one of the highest ratings in the overall ranking.
On November 2016 Prof. Ferruccio Resta was elected as the Chancellor of the Politecnico di Milano and, in 2017, Prof. Marco Bocciolone became the new Head of the Department.