Mechatronics in Manufacturing Engineering

An engineering discipline, mechatronics is the branch of the profession which handles the convergence between mechanical and electrical manufacturing systems. As such, it is often thought of by the industry as going hand-in-hand with related fields, such as robotics. A multi-disciplinary field of engineering, mechatronics requires an engineer to be well-versed in control processes, telecommunications systems, electronics, computer engineering and mechanical principles. As such, it tends to attract academically gifted engineers and those who have a grasp of processes across several industry sectors. Recent research has indicated that a qualified mechatronics engineer will earn anything from AU$65,000 to AU$75,000, depending on the exact role.

A Career in Mechatronics

As well as getting involved in machinery, mechatronics engineers need to be able to relate to people. The field of modern mechatronics gets involved with sectors like healthcare as well as manufacturing processes. A typical job will require you to be able put together completely new processes by integrating a number of existing technologies in novel ways. Adapting existing systems means being able to understand how they currently work and, most importantly, how they might be improved. As such, a mechatronics engineering job will often mean putting together feasibility studies of the impact of changing existing methods of production. Modelling and simulating such approaches is needed in order to provide a sound business case for adopting a new mechatronics process, so engineers in the field also require a degree of commercial acumen.

Working Environments for Mechatronics Engineers

Due to the many opportunities for engineers to apply the principles behind mechatronics in industry these days, you could find yourself working in a number of areas and – potentially, at least – all over the globe. In the past, mechatronics engineers might find themselves working on existing production lines, conducting something akin to time and motion studies to work out how to improve processes where 'pinch points' in production may occur. These days, the field also lends itself to avionics, especially where unmanned flight is concerned, and in fast-moving fields like nanotechnology, too.

Although consumer manufacturing industries which rely on automation processes are still the mainstay of employers in the field, some defence contractors and also biomedical companies now tend to hire engineers with experience in the field, too. In manufacturing, some mechatronic engineering roles will be given alternative job titles, such as automation engineer or control system engineer. However, where such jobs involve engineering solutions across more than one discipline, they are really mechatronic engineering roles.