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Is Mechatronics Leaving Some Behind?

Posted September 29, 2008 8:34 AM

The trade press tells us what a wonderful thing mechatronics is — the new paradigm of electrical, mechanical, and software controls combined in complex machinery. Mechatronics may be a great way of thinking for design engineers, but what about technicians who work on the factory floor and who must deal with so-called mechatronics equipment? Do they have the ability to troubleshoot and take action to correct faults? Are they able to modify and impact the overall performance of a system? Do they need more training?

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#1

Re: Is Mechatronics Leaving Some Behind?

09/30/2008 1:28 PM

I think it's safe to say EVERYBODY could use more training (of what use would less training be?)! Especially when a span-new technological paradigm is being implemented. Or would you be willing to settle for second rate?

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#2

Re: Is Mechatronics Leaving Some Behind?

09/30/2008 1:48 PM

let me tell my experience

we have one latest cartooning machine which has all servo motor and computer controls. before me people don't know how to do synchronization or settings of machine because they are spanner man. but i am bit conversant about this machines and i succeeded. but still i dont have deep know how about compuer controls.

can anybody suggest me what can i do for same

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#3

Re: Is Mechatronics Leaving Some Behind?

10/01/2008 11:51 AM

Some years ago in Uni where i worked had appeared this new specialization for students vs old soviet time standards where 1)mechanical, 2)electrical, 3)electronic, 4)programming occupations were separated. I had a great doubts about these innovative approach and my suspicious had been confirmed when I've been firstly introduced to udergraduate mechatroncis students. I conclude that these mostly guys do not aware a tiny how they should treat all abovementioned (1,2,3,4) when, for instance, classical electrical engineer student did not aware only of (2) . To be more serious I think it's really a hard task to teach such a multi-task specialist. I think it's mostly a result of self-development, self-education and experience.

As for technicians, any training is useful. And they would shoot any trouble since those were predicted and enlisted in docs. As for impact the overall perfomance, I so doubt of ordinar personell capabilties to do this for novadys machines & equipment.

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#4

Re: Is Mechatronics Leaving Some Behind?

10/02/2008 1:26 PM

I have been in the OEM machine building industry for some 20 yrs now, from automotive to packaging to now agricultural. As a senior manager I have had the opportunity to interview and hire many graduates of the "Mechatronics" programs being offered at the local college level here in Canada. Some have proven to be excellent finds and other not so much. The ones who were above average to start with were exposed to a much broader range of design, programming and troubleshooting different aspects of equipment than a lot of techs with years of experience. I believe that the multi-task approach suits manufacturing much better than the single focus trades of the past.

My only complaint is that due to the funding structure of these programs the exposure is limited to major brands such as AB and Siemens which are not the mainstays they once were.

All things considered, the mechatronics approach is the future like it or not. End users that dont have the tech savvy on the floor need to consider that fact along with the purchase of new equipment. Either bring the floor up to speed, hire in some fresh talent or consider a "bumper to bumper" support program (unheard of in automotive but SOP in agricultural).

Great topic.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Is Mechatronics Leaving Some Behind?

10/02/2008 2:33 PM

"...consider a "bumper to bumper" support program (unheard of in automotive but SOP in agricultural)..."

I guess that's a whole new way to look at program graduates - as a bumper crop...

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#6

Re: Is Mechatronics Leaving Some Behind?

10/21/2008 1:13 PM

I teach at a college and we are right at this moment discussing Mechatronics, which has absolutely no "new" technology, unless you count what's new in electronics and mechanics separately. In two years of college you can at best expect a student to be able to recognize what they need to understand in order to do the job. In other words they know what they do not know and need to learn. This in essence makes them a more efficient employee because they waste less time chasing rabbits down holes. The other side to this is if you need them to be proficient on any one technology, they are at a disadvantage to a student that spent two years learning just that technology and developed a more in depth knowledge.

For employers the question is this, do you need a flexible work force or do you need a technology specific work force. Do you work on the same equipment over and over or is each job unique. It's been my experience that people with life-long-learning traits in their personalities tend to be better at Mechatronics and function more efficiently in constantly changing environments. People with status quo personality traits tend to be more efficient in jobs that rarely change. It's my opinion that the future of Mechatronics is the future of employment in general, are you a life-long-learner or a status quo person and company. Do you like change and learn, or do you like consistency. This is not to say the technology specific employees do not learn, but their knowledge tends to be far less broad. Both have there place in business and with your employee pool. It's the manager's job to figure out which type of employee fits the job and where the business is going in the future.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Is Mechatronics Leaving Some Behind?

10/22/2008 6:15 AM

Welcome aboard! Good answer, and great to hear from someone so directly involved! Thanks loads. Concur with your conclusions all the way.

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#8
In reply to #6

Re: Is Mechatronics Leaving Some Behind?

10/22/2008 9:32 AM

Hello, martinw1970,

I like you comment as profound, but my conclusions remain the same. Mechatronics has right to be one of discipline as it already appeared. But I think it has to be a specialization(mostly as postgraduate) for those who has become a specialist in any traditional engineering/science occupation. One may to come to this specialization from electric engineering, another one from mechanics, third from electronics, forth from software&programing and so on. Otherwise here's a risk to be invaded by a half-taught persons. It was just my viewpoint.

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