Robotics Mechatronics Engineer

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Robotic Process Automation Engineer
Robotics or Mechatronics Technician

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Clerical or OrganisingAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 5Skill Level 6

 

Future Growth Very StrongMechatronic engineers design, develop and build products that combine mechanical and electronic engineering for a range of practical applications. Mechatronics also incorporates computer, control and systems design engineering, and can be used to create intelligent machines and advanced manufacturing and processing systems. Mechatronic engineers create engineering systems that automate industrial tasks, develop mechatronic solutions and electronic control systems for existing products or processes, and investigate the cost and performance benefits of mechatronic engineering solutions.

Mechatronic engineers design and maintain machinery with electronic and computer control systems, such as aircraft, robots, motor vehicles, cameras, power generators and mining and chemical plant machinery.

Workplaces range from laboratories and processing plants to engineering design offices.

 

Alternative names: Acoustic Engineer; Mechatronics Engineer; Product Design Engineer


Knowledge, skills and attributes

To become a mechatronics or robotics engineer, you would need:

  • a flair for maths, science, technology and IT
  • enjoy technical and engineering activities
  • able to work as part of a team
  • interested in mathematics, physics and mechanical equipment, such as robotic and production equipment
  • the ability to think creatively and analyse problems
  • strong decision-making skills
  • excellent communication skills
  • the ability to prioritise and plan work effectively
  • the ability to manage a budget.

Mechatronics Engineer
(Source: Good Universities Guide)

 Duties and Tasks

As a mechatronics or robotics engineer, you might:

  • research, design and develop hybrid systems, machinery and robotic components and equipment to automate tasks in a range of industries

  • design, develop, maintain and manage high-technology engineering systems for the automation of industrial tasks

  • apply mechatronic or robotic applications to tasks which may be dangerous to humans (underwater exploration, mining or forestry, for example)

  • apply mechatronic or automated solutions to the transfer of material, components or finished goods

  • apply advanced electronic control systems, which are usually computer-driven

  • design and assist with the manufacture of consumer products such as cameras and video recorders

  • prepare technical plans using computer-aided engineering and design software

  • estimate manufacturing and labour costs, and project timescales

  • coordinate the work of technicians

  • assess proposed new developments or innovations to see if they are workable

  • test prototypes and analyse data

  • make sure that projects meet safety regulations

  • plan and oversee inspection and maintenance schedules

  • carry out studies into the feasibility, cost implications and performance benefits of new mechatronic equipment


Scope TV: Harvey the capsicum picking robot; 5 November 2017
https://youtu.be/2i1GjBGpI30

 

Working Conditions

Mechatronics engineers normally work standard weekly hours, but you may work longer to meet project deadlines. Most of your work would take place in an office or in a lab. Occasionally, you may have to work on site in factories, workshops or outdoors.

Mechatronic engineers work mostly in the laboratories, workshops, processing plants and offices of engineering design firms. Their work is usually split between administrative and organisational tasks, and design and development work. They usually work regular hours, but may be expected to work longer hours at times, especially when working to a deadline. Mechatronic engineers may be required to travel to view new design ideas or technologies, or to present at or attend conferences.

Tools and Technologies

Mechatronic engineers use computers and computer-aided design (CAD) and other engineering software that is used specifically for modelling, simulating and analysing complex mechanical, electronic or other engineering systems. They use numerical computing environments and may also need to be familiar with programming languages.


Education and Training

To become a mechatronics engineer you usually have to study mechanical, electrical or electronics engineering, with a major in mechatronics or robotics. Some universities now offer specialised mechatronics engineering courses. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, mathematics, chemistry and physics would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university.

More senior roles in mechatronics engineering usually require a master's degree in mechatronics and relevant experience in the field, especially experience working with robots and artificial intelligence systems.


Employment Opportunities

Employment of mechatronics and robotics engineers is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations. Job growth is expected because of the broad range of industries in which mechatronics engineers can apply their knowledge in developing and applying emerging technologies.


Job growth will occur in engineering services firms, as more companies contract engineering services rather than directly employing engineers. Mechatronics engineers will also be employed by large engineering manufacturing companies which make robotics systems once they are designed and developed.


The rapid pace of technological innovation and development will also drive demand for mechatronics engineers in research and development, with the increased appetite for new developments in automation of a broad range of tasks across a wide range of industries.

Mechatronic engineers are employed in firms where it is necessary to design and maintain automatic equipment. This includes a variety of industries, such as manufacturing, mining, aviation, robotics, defence and transport. Some mechatronic engineers are employed by large manufacturing companies that are involved in high-volume production.

New opportunities are becoming available due to technological advances. Mechatronic engineering can lead to management positions, including project management. Mechatronic engineers have broad multidisciplinary skills, so they are able to move into more traditional engineering disciplines.


Did You Know? 

Origins of "robot" and "robotics"


The word "robot" conjures up a variety of images, from R2D2 and C3PO of Star Wars fame; to human-like machines that exist to serve their creators (perhaps in the form of the cooking and cleaning Rosie in the popular cartoon series the Jetsons); to the Rover Sojourner, which explored the Martian landscape as part of the Mars Pathfinder mission.

R2D2 C3PO
(Source: The Atlantic)

Some people may alternatively perceive robots as dangerous technological ventures that will someday lead to the demise of the human race, either by outsmarting or outmuscling us and taking over the world, or by turning us into completely technology-dependent beings who passively sit by and program robots to do all of our work. In fact, the first use of the word "robot" occurred in a play about mechanical men that are built to work on factory assembly lines and that rebel against their human masters. These machines in R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), written by Czech playwright Karl Capek in 1921, got their name from the Czech word for slave.


The word "robotics" was also coined by a writer. Russian-born American science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov first used the word in 1942 in his short story "Runabout."

Asimov had a much brighter and more optimistic opinion of the robot's role in human society than did Capek. He generally characterized the robots in his short stories as helpful servants of man and viewed robots as "a better, cleaner race." Asimov also proposed three "Laws of Robotics" that his robots, as well as sci-fi robotic characters of many other stories, followed:


Law One: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

Law Two: A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

Law Three: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
(Source: Stanford University)

The Jetsons (Rosey: head of the household)
https://youtu.be/1pphyvgd7-k


Robotics Engineer

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Environmental Scientist

Marine Biologist

Museum Curator

Biochemist

Entomologist

Conservator

Microbiologist

Agricultural Scientist

Industrial Designer

Inventor

Geneticist

Biotechnologist

Criminologist

Botantist

Agronomist

Historian

Geologist

Soil Scientist

Immunologist

Hydrologist

Anthropologist

Cartographer

Zoologist

Geophysicist

University Lecturer

Exercise Sports Scientist

Oceanographer

Astronomer

Political Scientist

Physicist

Toxicologist

Haematologist

Medical Laboratory Technician

Robotics Engineer

Pharmacologist

Archaeologist

Mathematician

Scientist

Forensic Scientist

Environmental Scientist

Marine Biologist

Museum Curator

Biochemist

Entomologist

Conservator

Microbiologist

Agricultural Scientist

Industrial Designer

Inventor

Geneticist

Biotechnologist

Criminologist

Botantist

Agronomist

Historian

Geologist