Mechatronics is a multidisciplinary field that combines several types of engineering—electrical, computer, and mechanical—and refers to the skill sets needed in the contemporary, advanced automated manufacturing industry. At the intersection of mechanics, electronics, and computing, mechatronics specialists create simpler, smarter systems. Mechatronics is an essential foundation for the expected growth in automation and manufacturing.
Mechatronics is an industry buzzword synonymous with robotics and electromechanical engineering. Robotics, control systems, and electro-mechanical systems fall under mechatronics. Like mechanics, robotics, or production equipment? Have a knack for creative problem solving? Enjoy technical and engineering activities? Can you work well as a member of a team? Mechatronics could be for you.
What do mechatronics engineers do?
Mechatronics specialists can do quite a bit across multiple engineering disciplines and have a solid base from which to grow. Mechatronics specialists know both mechanical and electrical engineering fundamentals—they speak both languages—so a mechatronics specialist can work with both mechanical and engineering teams.
Mechatronics specialists work with massive industrial robots, smaller robots in pick-and-place operations, control systems for bottling or packaging of food and drink products, drones, designing control systems for rides in amusement parks, prototype development.
Some mechatronics specialists are employed in firms where it is necessary to design and maintain automatic equipment. This includes industries such as manufacturing, mining, aviation, robotics, defense, and transport. Other mechatronic specialists are employed by large manufacturing companies involved in high-volume production. Many new career opportunities are on the horizon due to technological advances.
What careers are there in mechatronics?
A degree in mechatronics can lead to management positions, including project management. Workplaces range from laboratories and processing plants to engineering design offices.
Mechatronics specialists work in the fields of cybersecurity, telecommunications, computer science, automotive engineering, robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer products and packaging.
Mechatronic specialists may use the following job titles:
- Automotive Engineer
- Control System Engineer
- Data Logging Engineer
- Instrumentation Engineer
- Project Engineer
- Software Engineer
- Systems Engineer
- Service Engineer
What skills do mechatronics specialists need?
Mechatronic specialists have broad multidisciplinary skills, so they are able to move into more traditional engineering disciplines.
A mechatronics specialist is a creative problem solver who can work on a team. Thinking creatively is the first step; being able to communicate good ideas to coworkers involves tact.
Many mechatronic engineers use computer-aided design (CAD) and other engineering software for modeling, simulating, and analyzing complex mechanical, electronic, or other engineering systems.
What tasks do mechatronics specialists do?
There are many tasks mechatronic specialists perform, depending on their particular industry. Some design, develop, maintain, and manage high-technology engineering systems for the automation of industrial tasks. Others apply mechatronic/automated solutions to the transfer of material components or finished goods, or design and assist with the manufacture of consumer products such as cameras and video recorders. Still others carry out studies into the feasibility, cost implications, and performance benefits of new mechatronic equipment. And others apply electronic and mechanical processes and computers to tasks where the use of human labor may be dangerous (for example, underwater exploration, mining, or forestry).
How much do mechatronics engineers earn?
According to Recruiter, the mean salary for a mechatronics engineer is $88,800 with the top ten percent earning close to $103,380.
The future of mechatronics engineering
According to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for Mechatronics Engineers is expected to experience moderate growth, specifically in Michigan and Wisconsin. Michigan Tech is strategically located in close proximity to the largest automotive companies that have expressed they are in need of Mechatronics specialists.