What Is Mechatronics? A Complete Guide

Mechatronics is a term for a diverse field that describes the skill sets required in the modern, highly automated manufacturing sector. Mechatronics experts design simpler, intelligent systems at the intersection of mechanics, electronics, and robotics.

Key Takeaways

Mechatronics is a term for a diverse field that describes the skill sets required in the modern, highly automated manufacturing sector. Mechatronics experts design simpler, intelligent systems at the intersection of mechanics, electronics, and robotics.

In this article, we will talk about what mechatronics is and how it has evolved. We will also talk about how you can successfully break into this well-paid industry and start earning $60,000+ per year with just a high school diploma and a short 10-week certificate course, so read on.

If you are the kind of person who has always been very inquisitive and enjoyed tinkering with electronic devices, perhaps even pulling them apart and assembling them again, then getting into mechatronics could be a great fit for you.

Since this is a relatively new profession that is gaining popularity, you might not have heard of mechatronics engineering or mechatronics technicians or know exactly what they do for a living. It is a fascinating field with great employment opportunities.

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Engineers in mechatronics not only make things move quicker but also operate more intelligently. This essentially means that you participate in the development of better systems that operate more effectively and produce better results.

A lot of rapid future development in automation and manufacturing depends on the field of mechatronics. 

Mechatronics itself, however, has evolved slowly over time from a number of different disciplines including, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, electronics engineering, software engineering, and robotics and we will explain all this in detail below.

To start off, let’s see what mechatronics is and how it can get you started on a path to a lucrative career.

What is Mechatronics Engineering?

As mentioned earlier, mechatronics evolved over time when mechanical engineers felt they needed knowledge in other areas such as electronics, electrical, and software engineering to find solutions to cutting-edge challenges in their industries.

Understanding mechatronics can open up new opportunities and allow you to make an informed decision should you consider pursuing it as a future career. Mechatronics engineering has a very wide scope, and you may even choose to specialize, affecting both the variety and the number of career opportunities that come your way.

Did you know you can start a mechatronics course for FREE and transfer all of your course progress if you choose to purchase the course?

What Skills Do Mechatronics Specialists Need?

Before we discuss mechatronics further, you must understand that mechatronics technicians only acquire the necessary knowledge that is necessary for each of the disciplines mentioned below to get their job done.

It might seem to you that you have to study all of mechanical engineering and electrical engineering and programming to become a mechatronics technician, but this is simply not true.

Electronics engineers for example are specialists in that subject so they deep dive and do 4 years of study to get a bachelor's degree in electronics engineering. 

Mechatronics technicians on the other hand are only interested in the practical basics of electronics engineering that are enough to help them propose solutions with electronic components. This, for example, can be learned in a few months.

Now let's look at all the skills and disciplines that combine to make mechatronics what it is, and how they help a mechatronics engineer or a technician propose better solutions.

Mechanical Engineering in Mechatronics

Mechatronics sprang from mechanical engineering so there is a lot of overlap between the two fields of study.

The roots of mechatronics were laid during the industrial revolution, which began in 1760, popularizing mechanical engineering. In those days, manufacturing in industries depended mainly on human labor which became unsustainable in terms of time and expense as demand for quicker production of goods increased.

Engineers were called in to design parts, machines, systems, or processes with the objective of making production more efficient. Mechanical engineering was born. Soon, these engineers focused on creating new solutions that fulfill many other mechanical-driven requirements, such as building airplane engines, wind farms for renewable energy, or a sports car's braking system.

Although mechatronics and mechanical engineering share the same goal of staying one step ahead of the future of technology, the methods used to achieve that goal differ

While mechanical engineers focus on finding solutions that are primarily born out of the discipline of physics and mechanics, mechatronics engineers have access to knowledge from other fields such as electronics and software engineering, that allows them to propose better and more efficient solutions in most cases.

Image by Freepik

Why Mechanical Engineering Concepts are important for Mechatronics Technicians

By studying mechanical engineering concepts in mechatronics you are preparing yourself to think creatively and solve mechanical issues to production-related challenges. 

Understanding mechanical engineering concepts can help you in areas like nanotechnology, the manufacturing of composite materials, biomedical applications, and environmental preservation.

Mechanical knowledge is essential for mechatronics engineers working from future bio labs to those working in space exploration.

Mechatronics technicians also have one other great advantage over mechanical or any other engineering field. It is quite difficult to begin a successful mechanical engineering career with anything less than a 4-year bachelor's degree. Sometimes nothing less than a master's is required to enter specific jobs as a mechanical engineer.

On the other hand, you can enter the mechatronics industry after receiving your high school graduation and add to it just a 10- to 12-week certificate program. 

Electrical Engineering in Mechatronics

The mechanical solutions proposed by the early engineers were a marked improvement over 100% human labor-based production, but soon entrepreneurs began to wonder how powering these mechanical systems with newly discovered electricity would improve things even further.

Electrical engineering was born. After the commercialization of the electric telegraph, the telephone, and the generation, distribution, and use of electrical power, it became a distinct profession in the second half of the 19th century.

It is a branch of engineering that focuses on the research, development, and usage of machinery, gadgets, and systems that rely on electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. 

In essence, mechatronics engineers were born when mechanical engineers merged electrical engineering components into their mechanical solutions. These new engineers understood both mechanical and electrical engineering concepts, unlike their counterparts who specialized in these fields alone.

Electrical engineers operate in a very diverse range of industries, and the skills needed are also diverse. These cover everything from circuit theory to project management abilities.

Computer engineering, systems engineering, power engineering, telecommunications, radio-frequency engineering, signal processing, instrumentation, photovoltaic cells, electronics, and optics and photonics are just a few of the many subfields of electrical engineering that exist today.

Why Electrical Engineering Concepts are important for Mechatronics Technicians

Studying electrical engineering covers a wide range of specialties, including hardware engineering, power electronics, electromagnetics and waves, microwave engineering, nanotechnology, electrochemistry, renewable energy, mechatronics/control, and electrical materials science. 

Many of these disciplines also overlap with other engineering branches but essentially, adding these components to potential solutions as a mechatronics technician can greatly impact the efficiency or even the viability of your solutions.

Understanding electrical engineering helps take your mechanical solutions to the next level by powering them with electricity. To understand this, simply think of a hand or water-powered thresher on a farm. Now imagine powering it with electrical energy. The output will grow many folds and become highly efficient.

Electronics Engineering in Mechatronics

The term "electronic engineering" refers to a branch of engineering that deals with electronic circuits, devices, and the tools and systems that make use of them. Creativity is the key to electronic engineering. The entire field of engineering focuses on creating, maintaining, and repairing items that humans require.

Electronic engineers typically focus on a certain topic or field. This means that one can choose a specific area of interest, such as analog electronic engineering, radiofrequency engineering, digital development engineering, programmable logic engineering, software engineering, and systems engineering.

Electronics has brought about the biggest revolution in human life. Everything from space flight to your mobile phone is a product of electronics.

Why Electronics Engineering Concepts are important for Mechatronics Technicians

While mechanical devices were efficient and electricity powered them to make them more efficient, electronics enabled devices to actually function multi-dimensionally.

In a way, electronics give a particular device a brain to think and evaluate different alternatives. For example, electronics changed the basic concept of a telephone for simple communication to the mobile you use today.

Your smartphone can take pictures, count your steps, and browse the internet. By adding electronic components to your mechatronic designs you can build machines that can do complex tasks rather than just simple ones. 

Most industrial machines today have an electronic component in them that helps them take on complex decision-making.

Software Programming in Mechatronics

Software programming is the process of creating the computer code necessary for machines to run.

Software development and software programming are not the same things. Programming is the execution of development instructions, whereas development is the actual design of a program. Computer programmers are individuals who create software

Typically, software applications are grouped according to the programming languages that can be used to create them. There are many different kinds of programming languages in use today. A list of some well-known programming languages includes JavaScript, SQL (Structured Query Language), Python, Java, and C#.

Why Software Programming Concepts are important for Mechatronics Technicians

Software programming has added a new level of control to solutions proposed by mechatronics technicians. They can program machines and robots to carry out tasks under varying conditions.

As an example, the software in the Mars rover helps it carry out most of its tasks automatically with minimum feedback from back home on earth.

Speaking of back home, here on Earth, software programming is being used by mechatronics engineers for simpler things as well like dispensing a can of Coke when someone chooses that product in a vending machine or turning solar energy panels to adjust them automatically in the direction of the sun.

Robotics in Mechatronics

Robotics is the branch of technology that deals with the design, manufacture, and automation of robots. A robot is a device that automatically completes difficult, often monotonous jobs.

Robotics can also be thought of as the science and engineering involved in creating, deploying, and controlling robots and computer systems for control, sensory feedback, and information processing.

In addition, robots can do tasks that are dangerous for human beings like exploring dangerous terrains or working in environments that are harmful to humans.

Robots speed up the manufacturing process in various industries. They are also used in fields such as nuclear science, sea exploration, maintenance of transmission electric signals, design of biomedical equipment, and others.

Why Robotics is important for Mechatronics Technicians

Mechatronics and robotics have been intertwined since their inception. It's very much a chicken and egg thing. It was mechatronics that gave birth to robotics but now the application of robotics is a key component in most mechatronics solutions. 

Robots have evolved from robotic arms used in diecasting to humanoid robots powered by artificial intelligence thanks to multiple systems working together and seamlessly communicating.

Mechatronics engineers use robots to collect samples on the surface of Mars to help assemble cars in factories back on earth.

Engineers using tablet to control a robotic arm
Image by Lifestylememory

What Does a Mechatronics Engineer Do?

Mechatronics engineers are frequently employed in industries such as automotive, aerospace, aviation, manufacturing, and oil and energy. They are responsible for a variety of tasks and duties, including:

  • Identifying areas of a business where tasks can be automated or integrated
  • Creating mechatronic devices for use in either an industrial or consumer setting.
  • Creating intelligent, computer-driven systems and controls for use in a business.
  • Testing devices and processes while they are in use
  • Feasibility studies, modeling, and analysis of potential mechatronic solutions
  • Implementing successful solutions throughout their larger operation
  • Troubleshooting existing mechatronic systems and devices for problems and issues

What Careers Are There in Mechatronics?

A degree in mechatronics can lead to positions in management, including project management. Laboratories and processing plants, as well as engineering design offices, are typical places where mechatronics technicians can find employment.

Cybersecurity, telecommunications, computer science, automotive engineering, robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer products and packaging all employ mechatronics specialists.

The following job titles are some typical examples of mechatronic specialists:

  • Automation engineer
  • Control systems engineer
  • Embedded Systems engineer
  • Data logging engineer
  • Instrumentation engineer
  • Project engineer
  • Field Service engineer
  • Robotics engineer

What Qualifications Do I Need to Begin a Mechatronics Career?

A certificate in mechatronics will provide you with all the knowledge and abilities you need to start an entry-level career in the field. You will get practical learning experience using the machinery, programs, and tools used in modern production environments.

In addition, you'll study computer-aided design, electrical schematics, industrial robots, and other technology-related topics that will get you ready for a cutting-edge job.

Moreover, if you like technology and want to work in manufacturing, you can think about pursuing higher education in the field of mechatronics. Although hiring standards vary by business, mechatronics technicians have an advantage if they possess an associate's degree or a brief postsecondary certificate before being employed.

If you are truly considering a career in mechatronics, we offer a special guide to help you break into the field in just 10 weeks. Did you know you can start a mechatronics course for FREE and transfer all of your course progress if you choose to purchase the course?

Do Mechatronics Employees Earn Good Wages?

Yes, a mechatronics salary can be at par with some of the best options out there so it is rewarding and well-paying.

According to a survey done by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2021, technologists and technicians working in the electro-mechanical and mechatronics industries made a median annual income of $60,360.

The highest 10% of mechatronics technicians received salaries above $98,070, while the lowest 10% got wages of less than $37,650.

The best course for Mechatronics

Course Title: Mechatronics for Equipment Maintenance - Level II

Developed: Developed with Amazon

Type of Course: Online - On Demand Course

Duration of Course: 8 hours per week, 10 estimated weeks only

Cost: $674.00 Total price (excluding tax) 

Course Description: 

Begin your career as a technician of material handling equipment. Earn a certificate while developing job-ready skills for an in-demand career with Amazon.  

This Level II original course designed with Amazon is only exclusively available at Unmudl.

Amazon will reimburse you for the course fee* if you successfully complete this Level II course and join the Amazon Reliability Maintenance Engineering Team within 6 months of course completion.

*Reimbursement will occur after you have been actively employed with Amazon in the RME team for 90 days.

We suggest this course because it is not only offered online and from a recognized community college, but it is also reasonably priced. You can become a mechatronics technician by completing this 10–12 week course from the convenience of your home.

It has never been easier to create robotic gadgets and computer-controlled machines. The convergence of low-cost embedded CPUs, sensors, and actuators has made experimentation and prototyping easier than ever.

The modules will cover control systems, sensor interfaces, embedded system programming, and microcontroller concepts. Students will receive practical experience building their own mechatronic systems and gain a better knowledge of basic mechatronics engineering concepts through a series of hands-on labs.

Students who successfully complete the course will be equipped with the core knowledge necessary to benefit from the mechatronics revolution.

What Are the Benefits of Completing a Mechatronics Degree Online?

Nowadays, a lot of students choose to finish their degree programs online. In fact, we get so many queries on mechatronics online courses that we have this dedicated article to guide you on how to get a mechatronics degree online.

Additionally, post-COVID, online degrees have become easily acceptable by all companies and industries. Now there are many reasons why someone could select online education, but the two below are important ones:

1. You can learn at your own pace:

You have access to all of the learning resources online at once, so you can monitor your individual learning progress and study whenever it is most convenient for you. It doesn't matter if it's in the morning before work or at night after you've accomplished all of your errands you can choose a time to study that best suits you.

Keep in mind that for most courses, you must turn in all of your assignments by the deadline.

2. You can learn from any location:

One of the many advantages of online learning is that you may learn from anywhere in the world. While learning online, you can move around and be wherever you need to be. You can attend all of your classes as long as you have internet access. Regardless of whether your profession required you to travel or you had to relocate for any other reason, online learning enables you to continue studying while on the go.

Read more on the 10 Benefits of a Mechatronics Career.

Final conclusion

Mechatronics possesses a great future. With a certificate or degree in mechatronics engineering, you may position yourself for a fulfilling job at the forefront of technological advancement. 

These certificate courses offer the ideal blend of coursework that addresses many elements of mechanical engineering, electronic engineering, electrical engineering, and computer systems, which can help you advance in your profession.

A profession in mechatronics is lucrative. The median income for mechatronics technicians, as mentioned above, is $60,360. However, if you are ready to put in the necessary effort and prove the needed potential, there is no reason why you can't earn the top-end average salary of $98,070.

We really hope that this information was useful to you in helping you decide on a professional path. Wishing you the very best for a successful future from everyone at Unmudl.

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