What does a Robotics Engineer do?

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What is a Robotics Engineer?

Also known as: Automation Engineer, Robotics and Automation Engineer, Automation Robotics Engineer

A robotics engineer is a behind-the-scenes designer, who is responsible for creating robots and robotic systems that are able to perform duties that humans are either unable or prefer not to complete. Through their creations, a robotics engineer helps to make jobs safer, easier, and more efficient, particularly in the manufacturing industry.

A Robotics Engineer is a specialized type of Engineer.

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What does a Robotics Engineer do?

A robotics engineer will spend the majority of their time designing the plans needed to build robots. They also design the processes necessary for the robot to run correctly. Some of these professionals are also responsible for designing the machines that actually assemble the robots. Once the design phase has been completed, only then do they move toward assembling the unit.

This type of engineer is responsible for creating several different types of robots that are used to complete a variety of different tasks. Prior to a robot being constructed, the engineer will have first researched and determined exactly what the robot will be used for, and the manner in which it will accomplish its goal. For these professionals, the building process will take a great deal of time. Robots are highly technical and difficult to create, and the task can be very tricky. For this reason it's not uncommon for a robotics engineer to only work on a handful of projects throughout his or her entire career. Professionals in this field need to be very patient.

Typical day-to-day duties include:

  • Building, configuring, and testing robots
  • Designing software systems to control their robotic systems, such as those robots used for manufacturing
  • Designing automated robotic systems that are used to increase the production and precision levels within a specific industry
  • Analyzing and evaluating the prototypes and robotic systems they have created. This is generally a never-ending task, since technology is constantly changing and advancing
  • Reviewing and approving cost estimates and design calculations
  • Serving as technical support for the robotic systems they have created
  • Teaching plans paths to robots
  • Performing research into the design, operation and performance of robotic mechanism components or systems

What is the workplace of a Robotics Engineer like?

Robotics engineers typically equally share their time between a lab and their office. Time in the lab is spent working on small mechanical parts that are components of the larger robot they are creating. The time in their office is spent working on plans and writing papers. A typical work week will consist of 40 hours, Monday to Friday. However, the project that the robotics engineer is working on can make this schedule vary drastically. For some projects, overtime work may be necessary to make sure that the job is completed by a deadline. Occasional travel may also be necessary. The typical day-to-day duties are often mentally draining and can sometimes be stressful. This is particularly true when strict deadlines are in place.

Most commonly, robots are used within the automotive industry on vehicle assembly lines. Some 90 percent of all robots created are used within this industry. However, you can also find these professionals working in the food packaging, appliance building, and electronic industries.

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Further Reading

  • 10 Questions for a Robotics Engineer: Lonnie Love

    From mesofluidics and hydraulics to solar photovoltaics and biogeneration, Dr. Love discusses his innovative approaches to advancing robotics, clean energy technology and nanomaterials.

  • Robotic Engineering Careers

    Robotics engineers design robots and develop the programs and applications that allow them to function.

  • Career Profiles of NASA Robotics Engineers

    What's the best way to become a robotics expert? Scientists and engineers at NASA reveal how their career paths led to the world of robotics.

  • How To Become a Robotics Engineer

    The majority of people have merely grown up with fantasies about the possibility of robots doing humanity's bidding. With the creativity and engineering concepts from Robotics Engineers, this fantasy has become a reality in a handful of industries such as in the manufacturing sector.

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