Hello friends, I hope you all are doing great. In today's tutorial, I will give you a detailed information about What is Mechatronics Engineering? We will also cover Mechatronics Courses, Jobs, Salary, Scope & Projects. If you ask me, Mechatronics is the most advanced & stylish one of all the Engineering Branches. Even if you look at its name, it's so different & macho-type, other engineering branches' names are so typical i.e. Electrical, Electronics etc. (No offence :P) I may sound a little biased because I am also a Mechatronics Engineer. B|
Anyways, let's start with the question: What is Mechatronics Engineering?
What is Mechatronics Engineering?
Mechatronics Engineering is not a pure engineering branch, instead a merger of various engineering fields, major ingredients are mechanical, electronics, control & computer engineering and is used to design smart & intelligent machines. It's name is also taken from first two major fields i.e. "Mecha" from Mechanical & "tronics" from Electronics. Apart from these two main engineering fields, it also has the flavour of computer, telecommunication, robotics, control, systems engineering etc. Mechatronics has a wide range of advanced fields & few of them are: Robotics, Automation, Embedded Systems, Control Systems, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning etc.
Why Mechatronics Degree Created?
Before Mechatronics Degree, machines were quite simple and weren't smart enough to work on their own so human operators were required to operate them, which resulted in human error, cost-inefficiency, time wastage etc. With the evolution of technology, engineers got to know about Machine Learning & they started designing smart systems for controlling mechanical machines/structures with electronics(embedded to be precise) circuitry i.e. Electric Locomotive.
Let's understand it with an example. You must have seen robots in sci-fi tv shows, they have a mechanical structure and electronics circuitry embedded inside it. So, if you want to design robots, you need to hire two different engineers i.e. mechanical engineer for structure/body designing & electronics engineer for designing the circuitry. So, in order to fill this gap & to make the process cost-efficient, Mechatronics Degree was introduced. Degree of Mechatronics has further evolved with the addition of computer-aided design software. Another example is of a car rear-view mirror. Initially, it was a simple mirror. Now it has cameras, compass direction, register temperature, sensory systems etc. Mechatronics is behind these revolutionary changes. Mechatronics devices are also used in medicine, home, commercial buildings, agriculture, toys, etc.
History of Mechatronics
The term mechatronics originated in Japan in the 1960s and the term was first coined by Tetsuro Mori, a Japanese engineer. The field is said to have grown from robotics. Initially, when robots were designed, the arms were uncoordinated and had no sensory feedback. However, as science advanced and developments were made in sensory technology, controls, and programming, the arms and overall robotic movements became coordinated & controllable.
When mechatronics was initially developed, it was only viewed as electromechanical systems and this is where its name originates from. It's name was coined by Yaskawa; the company that is famous for combining words and concepts like this. Yaskawa had registered the name mechatronics and won its rights in the early 70s. However, in the 1980s, Yaskawa released the rights so that they could be used publicly. After this event, the term started gaining popularity.
When it was newly developed, its main focus was servo technology which converts electricity into precisely controlled motion. With the help of this, it created automatic door openers and auto-focus cameras. After a decade in the 1980s, mechatronics diverted its focus to information technology. It improved the performance of antilock braking and electric seats by attaching microprocessors into mechanical systems. Eventually, in the 1990s, mechatronics focused on communication technology and connected products into large networks. The application area of mechatronics engineering has substantially broadened. The technology is now used in the automation of machines, industrial goods, biomedical systems, servo mechanisms, computer-aided designs, data communication systems, CNC and DNC systems etc.
Mechatronics Degree Colleges & Universities
Mechatronics Degree has emerged rapidly in the last few decades. Initially, it was referred as the sub-branch of mechanical engineering but later because of its growing industrial needs, it has finally become a separate branch of engineering itself. Today, Mechatronics degrees are offered by almost every top Engineering College & University. Below Table shows few Mechatronics Degree Colleges & Universities:
Mechatronics Degree Colleges & Universities
Arizona State University
Institute of Technology Sligo
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Liverpool Hope University
London Metropolitan University
Mohawk Valley Community College
You must have heard the proverb: "Jack of all trades, master of none". That applies to a Mechatronics engineer but in its fullest form. “A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” Mechatronics has a wide range of courses, few of them are actually designed for Mechatronics while most of them are borrowed from other engineering fields. If you have a look at the Mechatronics subjects list for Bachelor's Degree, you won't find a symmetry. In Electrical Engineering, students are studying electrical subjects mostly but in Mechatronics Engineering, you are studying Mechanical, Electronics & programming in the same semester. (that's why I used that proverb at that start) Here's a list Mechatronics Courses:
Hydraulics & Pneumatics
Signal & Systems
In the last year of Mechatronics Bachelor's Degree, students have to design & present a Final Year Project, which has to be related to any subdomain of Mechatronics. Here's a list of few Mechatronics Projects to get an idea:
Home Automation System
Bank Security System
Self Balancing Robot
Path Finding Robot
Smart Bottle Filling System
IOT Mesh Networking
Image Processing based Waiter Robot
Obstacle Avoidance Robot
Wifi based Surveillance System
Smart Irrigation System
Mechatronics Jobs Sector
As mechatronics involves subjects related to multiple fields i.e. electrical, mechanical, computer engineering etc. so its applications & thus jobs have no limits. Fresh Mechatronics graduates can easily find a decent job and here's a piece of advice, just make sure you build your career in the pure mechatronics industry, instead of electrical or mechanical. Mechatronics is a demanding career with expanding job ranges. Businesses/Industries are updating their technologies and turning to intelligent systems and robotics. Let's discuss few of Mechatronics scopes:
Mechatronics Jobs in Agriculture
Agriculture, being one of the oldest industries, initially relied solely on human and animal efforts. When the industrial revolution began, it made agriculture relatively easier. Diesel and steam engine tractors were used as well as hydrostatic power equipment. Mechatronics has now arrived and it is making things way too easier with its advanced technologies i.e. microcontrollers, actuators, sensors etc. Mechatronics is now playing a significant role in cropping, cleaning, fertilizing, seeding, monitoring etc. Crop colours, alcohol levels, moisture levels, chemical levels, insecticides levels, pesticides levels, light levels etc. are now being detected with the help of different embedded sensors.
A mechatronics engineer can join the agriculture field as an embedded expert. If we talk about salary, a degree in mechatronics may earn $52,000 per annum.
Mechatronics Jobs in Food industry
Mechatronics is being greatly used in the food industry from cooking to packaging to manufacturing. Lean manufacturing is in demand in the food industries and for this reason, mechatronics has found its way into it.
Mechatronics Jobs in Renewable Energy
As global warming is increasing and measures are being taken to control the environmental hazards, renewable energy is being given importance and preference that in turn is creating more job opportunities. A bachelor’s degree in mechatronics provides an engineer with various jobs in wind energy, hydropower, solar power, geothermal technologies, etc. Mechatronics engineers will find various opportunities in this field and can bring innovations using their skills. Mechatronics engineers are responsible for testing and improving components used in solar panels, wind turbines, and other modules used for generating renewable energy. A mechatronics engineer may join this industry as an energy systems technician, safety coordinator, materials engineer, and many other positions.
If we talk about salary, the salary for mechatronics engineers in this field is relatively higher. Mechatronics engineers in wind power earn an average salary of $84,000 per annum. While in solar power he earns $87,000 per annum on average. The wind turbine installer earns around $100,000 with experience.
Mechatronics Jobs in Homeland Security and Defense:
It has been predicted that 40% of military ground troops will be robots in near future. This prediction, if came true, will increase the mechatronics applications in the military and robotic sector. Mechatronics engineers can also find their scope in drone technologies, border control, logistics, surveillance, ground operations, etc.
Mechatronics Jobs in Medical Industry
Although mechatronics is being used in numerous industries, it has been way too successful in the medical field. The utilization of mechatronics techniques allows for miniaturization. Using the technique, a patient can be examined, sensed, and monitored from inside. This technique has revolutionized the field of healthcare and has a profound effect. Devices are used that allow sensors to detect chemical, biological as well as physical signals. This technique helps in the early detection of a patient’s medical issues. The mechatronics also designs and creates tools for endoscopic surgery, robotic surgical devices, home monitoring, telemedicine, implanted devices, etc. Using mechatronics techniques, many profound medical things have been created so far. For example, defibrillators, arthroscopic devices, ultrasonic probes, cardiac pacemakers, etc. Below are examples of some revolutionary mechatronics techniques that are being used in the healthcare industry:
Mechatronics Jobs in Prosthetic limbs
The prosthetic hand is created with microprocessors that enable precise manipulation. It handles a variety of movements. For example, threading a needle or picking up an egg. It has been designed to use a combination of actuators, microprocessors, sensors, and control software. When these combinations are used, we see a prosthetic hand that mimics a real hand. It has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. The FDA considers it the device that is capable of making multiple movements with the help of muscle contractions detected by electromyogram electrodes. The prosthetic hand is built with computers and motion sensors that enable it to make movements.
The Da Vinci Surgical System is another great innovation by mechatronics. It is a robotic surgical system and was developed by Intuitive Surgical. It is a robotic-assisted surgery platform. After a surgical cut is made on the patient, the actions of the robotic arms are manipulated by the surgeon that in turn enables the robotic arm to sync with the surgeon’s movements.
Although Mechatronics has a wide range of applications. I've mentioned few of Mechatronics Applications below:
Medical mechatronics, medical imaging systems.
Computer-aided and integrated manufacturing systems.
Computer-driven machines i.e. CNC milling machines, CNC water jets, CNC plasma cutters etc.
Structural dynamic systems.
Modern Transportation systems.
Sensing and control systems.
Engineering & Manufacturing systems.
Microcontrollers / PLCs.
So, that was all about Mechatronics Engineering. Thanks for reading. Have a good day !!!
I am Syed Zain Nasir, the founder of The Engineering Projects (TEP). I am a
programmer since 2009 before that I just search things, make small projects and now I am sharing my
knowledge through this platform. I also work as a freelancer and did many projects related to
programming and electrical circuitry. My Google Profile+Follow