Mechatronics is a multidisciplinary field of science that integrates the principals of mechanical engineering, electronics, computer engineering, telecommunications engineering, systems engineering and control engineering into a unified discipline while keeping the core mechanical engineering education.
In high demand, mechatronics engineers are uniquely equipped to work as mechanical engineers with electronics, instrumentation and real time software engineering skills. With a core mechanical engineering education and a strong background in integrating electronics, sensors and actuators into devices, mechatronics engineers are a valuable asset in a wide field of engineering.
What does a Mechatronics Engineer do?
Mechatronics engineers work in all aspects of the development of products, from design and testing right through to manufacture. There is almost no product in the world that is solely electronic, electrical or mechanical in nature. With the growing capabilities of electronics, modern mechanical systems are embedded with electronics and controls. This means that the lines between each discipline are becoming increasingly blurred, and there is a growing demand for mechatronics engineers whose knowledge is strong across all of these areas.
From consumer goods, such as microwaves, cars and smart phones, to industrial applications such as CNC machine tools, robots and MRI and X-Ray machines, mechatronics engineers use fundamental principles of electrical, mechanical, software, and control engineering in their design and development in order to generate a simpler, more economical and reliable way to do things.
Mechatronics engineers create machines that are made up of several parts: the mechanical system, the sensing and actuation, the control systems and the software. An industrial robot is an excellent example of a mechatronics system; it includes aspects of electronics, mechanics, and computing to do its day-to-day job.
Some tasks mechatronics engineers undertake:
Develop solutions to industrial problems by using mechanical/electronic/computer technology
Design and build new products - for example, developing robotic vehicles for underwater exploration
Introduce automation to factory production lines to improve existing processes
Improve previous industrial/manufacturing processes - for example, robotic floor cleaners
Design and develop engineering systems for the automation of industrial tasks
Apply mechatronic solutions to the transfer of material, components or finished goods
Apply control systems which are typically computer-driven
Apply electronic/mechanical processes and computers to dangerous tasks in underwater exploration, mining or forestry
Study the feasibility of new mechatronic equipment
Carry out modelling and analysis of mechanical, electronic or other systems using computers
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What is the workplace of a Mechatronics Engineer like?
Mechatronics engineers work in industries such as robotics, aerospace, medical and assistive technology, mining or defence, material handling, human-machine interaction, manufacturing, unmanned aerial and ground vehicles, and education. They may work in laboratories, high tech companies, large global enterprises, processing plants or engineering offices but can also be involved with research in emerging fields like bioengineering, nanotechnology and robotics.
Mechatronics engineers may be required to travel to present at a conference or view a new design idea or innovative technology.