As a Mechatronics Engineer…
Hello readers, welcome to another info-blog for students. This is the second blog on the Info-Blog Series. Let’s check out what I’ve got for you.
Have you ever wondered that there is a stream of study where you can find all the major streams that many students take up? There are a wide variety of streams that fits into the above statement. We shall particularly see about a stream where Mechanical, Electronics and Electrical concepts play a major role. Yes, as said in the title today We are going to know something about “Mechatronics Engineering”.
Before starting, I’d like to share something. The main motive to pen this blog is, As a Mechatronics Engineer, I always wondered how an interdisciplinary course works. And my interest in robotics made me opt for Mechatronics. I’ve constantly collected multiple resources after finishing my freshman year. So, here’s the abstract of what I collected.
Note: Something useful and interesting is waiting for you at the end of the blog.
As our conventional way let us see what is there on the internet and break down the concept into grains. According to Wikipedia…
Mechatronics, also called mechatronics engineering, is an interdisciplinary branch of mechanical engineering that focuses on the integration of mechanical, electronic and electrical engineering systems, and also includes a combination of robotics, electronics, computer, telecommunications, systems, control, and product engineering. As technology advances over time, various subfields of engineering have succeeded in both adapting and multiplying. Mechatronics intends to produce a design solution that unifies each of these various subfields. Originally, the field of mechatronics was intended to be nothing more than a combination of mechanics and electronics, hence the name being a portmanteau of mechanics and electronics; however, as the complexity of technical systems continued to evolve, the definition had been broadened to include more technical areas.
The Working definition of Mechatronics:
Mechatronics is the synergistic integration of sensors, actuators, signal conditioning, power electronics, decision and control algorithms, and computer hardware and software to manage complexity, uncertainty, and communication in engineered systems.
In short, Mechatronics is the combination of multiple streams of education. As the technology of our times expand the implementations should also get broadened. Let me explain a simple example that pretty much sums up the above matter.
Let us take a robot that has to be built from scratch;
To make a fully functional robot that moves on its own, we first need to design the bot and start the production of parts. To do so, we need the knowledge of a Mechanical Engineer. For the bot to work, we all know that we have to write a program on how our robot should work for that we need the programming skills of a CS Engineer. For interfacing, several sensors and the circuitry part Electrical/Electronics Engineer is required, when I say a specific engineer that means the person who has these skills.
So, to build a robot from scratch we need to have a team of three different disciplines. What if a single person collectively has these skills? This is where a Mechatronics Engineer come into the frame.
In the next few minutes, you’re going to understand various things about Mechatronics.
We’ve seen what is Mechatronics and what does a Mechatronics Engineer do briefly. Now let’s see the elements involved in Mechatronics Engineering
- Mechanical structure & Mechanisms
- Static/Dynamic characteristics
- Physical Power to produce Motion
- Thermo-fluid, hydraulic aspects, force, heat, etc.
- Electrical components (e.g., resistor (R), capacitor ©, inductor (L), transformer, etc.), circuits, and analog signals
- Electronic elements refer to analog/digital electronics, transistors, thyristors, opto-isolators, operational amplifiers, power electronics, and signal conditioning
Control Interface/Computing Hardware
- Analog-to-digital (A2D) converter, digital-to-analog (D2A) converter
- Digital input/output (I/O), counters, timers
- Microprocessor, microcontroller
- Data acquisition and control (DAC) board, and digital signal processing (DSP) board
- Computer-Aided Dynamic System Analysis, Optimization, Design, and Simulation
- Virtual Instrumentation
- Rapid Control Prototyping
- Hardware-in-the-loop simulation
- PC-based data acquisition and control
- Smart consumer products: home security, camera, microwave oven, toaster, dishwasher, laundry washer-dryer, climate control units, etc.
- Medical: implant devices, assisted surgery, haptic, etc.
- Defence: unmanned air, ground, and underwater vehicles, smart munitions, jet engines, etc
- Manufacturing: robotics, machines, processes, etc.
- Automotive: Climate control, antilock brake, active suspension, cruise control, airbags, engine management, safety, etc.
- Network-centric, distributed systems: distributed robotics, telerobotics, intelligent highways, etc.
Generally, Mechatronics Engineering itself is a specialization course. Some of the applications that can be deduced from Mechatronics are:
- Digital control systems
It’ll take a lot of time to explain all the above applications. We can plan this in another blog. Now let’s see what job can a Mechatronics Degree get you.
A B.Tech in Mechatronics can get either of these designations
- Robotics Technicians
- Robotics Test Engineers
- Robotics Systems Engineer
- Robotics specialists
Some of the misconceptions about Mechatronics that many people feel are:
And these are what I personally heard from the people (you know who they are😅😅)when I was opting for Mechatronics. So, I just want to clarify to the student who is about to take Mechatronics and is confused by all the unnecessary talks. If you want to follow what you want to pursue, go for it.
- As an interdisciplinary course, we don’t get complete knowledge on either of the subjects. My answer for that is, a university teaches what an Engineer requires, so we will get what we need to know. And we can learn the stuff we want to from the internet too.
- There might be low opportunities in this field. Generally in we have a huge count of graduates passing out every year in our country. So obviously there’ll be a scarcity of finding jobs. If we stand out differently from others, definitely we can create an impact.
- There might be no jobs for this department. I just mentioned what a Bachelors in Mechatronics degree can get in the above section.
- According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected job growth from the year 2014 to 2024 is 5% for Mechatronics/Mechanical Engineers and -1% for Electronics Engineers. It means there is an increase in the employment opportunities for Mechatronics/Mechanical Engineering jobs in the above mentioned year span and a decline in the Electronics Engineering jobs in the same period.
And if I list out all the advice and talks I got it’ll be another blog. So let’s cut that to here.
I don’t know what I achieve in future, but I’m really optimistic that I do what I love and what I have passion for. This is what constantly runs in my head 24/7.
Now, this is the exciting part for all the Mechatronics Engineers. I’m going to share some resources regarding the mentioned elements.
- A community forum for Mechatronics Engineers: https://www.mechatronicseducation.org/
- Youth4Work Community Forum: https://www.youth4work.com/Talent/Mechatronics/Forum
- Mechatronics at NYU-Poly is leading the way in implementing the latest methods for engaging mechatronics students and helping promote collaborative learning in the classroom. They work on the numerous applications of mechatronics, which includes medical, defence, manufacturing, robotics, automotive, among others. http://engineering.nyu.edu/mechatronics/
- The Mechatronics Revolution: Fundamentals and Core Concepts. https://www.edx.org/course/mechatronics
- The Mechatronics Academy helps students refine their mechatronics skills and be aptly equipped to tackle the rapidly advancing industry that is full of opportunity. They focus on three crucial dimensions to mechatronics, which allows them to greatly specialize in these issues. http://www.mechatronicsacademy.nl/index.htm
- Mechatronic Me has the latest news and information on projects done by those working in mechatronics. It’s a great place to come to share a project or get great ideas to try. https://www.mechatronic.me/
- Dick Cappels’ Project Pages has tons of information and guides on how to assemble various mechanical pieces and robotics. It’s also very notable that questions asked on the site are answered promptly, which makes it a crucial source for anyone wondering where to turn for help. http://cappels.org/dproj/Home.htm
- MIT Open Course Ware: https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/mechanical-engineering/2-737-mechatronics-fall-2014/index.htm
- Colostate provides this in-depth collection of resources. This extensive set covers all modern mechatronic topics including actuators and electrical components. https://mechatronics.colostate.edu/resources/
- St. Clair County Community College’s Resources: https://esearch.sc4.edu/mechatronics/web
- Course: NSC Mechatronics Technology Certificate Program Autonomous Robots https://www.skillscommons.org/handle/taaccct/3992
- And many more websites in this link: https://ait.libguides.com/c.php?g=280063&p=1866389