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Mechatronics jobs can vary as much as the scope of the field of mechatronics itself. The term is a combination of "mechanical" and "electronics," and the role of the mechatronics engineer is to integrate the two into useful products. Jobs in this field require cross training in mechanical and electronic engineering to build devices, as well as knowledge of control engineering and computers to manage the operation of the devices. Job titles that may require the skill set of a mechatronics engineer include systems engineer, electro-mechanical engineer, or a mechanical design engineer. Many jobs are not advertised using this term, so the best bet for finding such a job may be to read the full job description.
Many products are integrated with electronics and are created with highly automated processes. Both the product and the manufacturing equipment need a diversely trained engineer to develop and maintain them. Accordingly, mechatronics jobs may require the engineer to design an ergonomic outer shape for a product, the electronic circuits on the inside, or even the robotic equipment that assembles the product.
Due to the variety and complexity of the tasks that a mechatronics engineer may be called on to perform while bringing systems to market, he may use a systems design approach. Systems design, as it relates to many jobs, means that the engineer must analyze the design intent and how the product should function throughout its lifecycle. He must then incorporate the disciplines of mechanical, electrical, controls, and computer engineering to create the product.
In large companies, a mechatronics engineer may work on a team with other engineers or only work on a portion or sub-system of the final project. The jobs he may be tasked to perform include defining requirements, designing initial concepts, building prototypes, testing systems, or setting up assembly lines. An engineer's knowledge must be wide enough to be useful in all areas of the development process.
Training for many mechatronics jobs can be acquired through a variety of backgrounds, including mechanical, systems, and electrical engineering programs. Some schools offer degrees and/or training in mechatronics. An electronics technician with design experience is also a strong candidate for this type of job. Mechatronics engineers who work on large-scale projects generally have secondary degrees in an engineering discipline.
Some of the actual skills a job in mechatronics may require include programming software, creating models using computer aided design (CAD), and operating data acquisition instruments. Traditionally, many mechatronics engineers have had a robotics background. A few of the other industries where these jobs are available are in aerospace, automotive, medical, and machine design.
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