What mechatronic engineers do
It may sound a bit far-fetched but Mechatronic engineers create smart machines that are aware of their surroundings and can make decisions. These smart machines are complex beings made up of several parts: the mechanical system itself, the sensing and actuation, the control systems and the software. The opportunities available to develop such intelligent machines are ever evolving.
Mechatronic Engineering careers
Mechatronic engineers work in all aspects of the development of the smart machine – from design and testing right through to manufacture. This could be in industries like robotics, medical and assistive technology, human-machine interaction, manufacturing, unmanned aerial and ground vehicles and education.
As a Mechatronic engineer
Here are some things you might be expected to do in your job:
- Develop new solutions to industrial problems using mechanical and electronic processes and computer technology.
- Design and build completely new products by integrating various technologies, for example, developing robotic vehicles for underwater exploration.
- Build and test factory production lines introducing automation to improve existing processes.
- Maintain and improve previous industrial and manufacturing processes and designs, for example, robotic lawn mowers and robot floor cleaners.
- Design, develop, maintain and manage high technology engineering systems for the automation of industrial tasks.
- Apply mechatronic or automated solutions to the transfer of material, components or finished goods.
- Apply advanced control systems, which are usually computer-driven.
- Apply electronic and mechanical processes and computers to tasks where the use of human labour may be dangerous (like underwater exploration, mining or forestry).
- Study the feasibility, cost implications and performance benefits of new mechatronic equipment.
- Carry out modelling, simulation and analysis of complex mechanical, electronic or other engineering systems using computers.
Where do Mechatronic engineers work
Mechatronic engineers work in companies that require hi-tech input into what they are developing. They may work in a laboratory, a processing plant or an engineering office but are also research opportunities in emerging fields like bioengineering, nanotechnology and robotics.
You will find Mechatronic engineers in large global enterprises developing futuristic vehicles, challenging defence technology and revolutionising consumer products. They may also work in smaller innovative ‘high tech’ companies supplying software, parts and equipment. They could be product developers, work in manufacturing, or mining or defence industries, and in government and industry research groups.
Mechatronic Engineers may be required to travel to present at a conference or view a new design idea or innovative technology.
‘Aliases’ for Mechatronic engineering
Mechatronic engineering is an emerging field but it has been around in one form or another for some time. Mechatronic engineers have been cleverly disguised as many of the following: Automation Engineer, Control System Engineer, Data Logging Engineer, Instrumentation Engineer, Project Engineer, Software Engineer, Systems Engineer, and Service Engineer.