I'm a Mechatronics Engineer, in the Industrial Automation field, I work in PLC programming, machine design, sensors and actuators. Ask Me Anything!

Juan Sebastian Uribe
Jul 10, 2017

I have 4 years of experience working in tha automation field. I've seen a lot and learned a lot in these years. You get to know the companies from inside, their processes, machines and how they deal with the daily problems they have with machines. Also, I've learn a lot when it comes to designing new machines, automating processes.

Juan Sebastian Uribe says:

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What industries are most likely to utilize automation and robotics?

Jul 10, 12:27AM EDT0

Almost all industries may have mechatronics, but the most common are manufacturing of industrial goods because they have big production lines with high volume, repetitive operations and it's economically possible to do it (investments will have good returns, from reduced costs). 

Jul 10, 8:07AM EDT0

Thank you.

Jul 11, 2:55PM EDT0

What branches of science are combined in mechatronics?

Jul 9, 7:07PM EDT0

Mechanics, electronics, and computer science.

Jul 9, 9:18PM EDT41

oh, i see that it's very complicated branch

Jul 11, 9:35AM EDT0

What companies are pioneers in the field of mechatronics?

Jul 9, 3:26AM EDT0

As suppliers, you have Siemens, Mitsubishi, OMRON, Autonics, ABB, Kuka, Fanuc, to mention some.

Jul 9, 10:35PM EDT16
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Are there any start-up companies with a focus on mechatronics?

Jul 8, 12:15PM EDT0

Yes, there are many start-ups that focus on mechatronics, as automation integrators or developers of new products.

Jul 9, 9:19PM EDT15

Could you name successful one?

Jul 11, 2:30PM EDT0

What is the role of human workers in an automated industrial setting?

Jul 8, 7:36AM EDT0

Human intervention will always be very important in industrial automation. It can be in technical and maintenance 

It can be in technical and maintenance works because automation requires that every component of the system works, like sensors, actuators, electronics, etc.

There is also a need for human workers in the supervision of the general system, quality of the product, setting the machines, logistics, etc.

And of course, there is also a need in engineering the systems, setting new processes and updating the current ones.

Jul 8, 10:25AM EDT29
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Where does robotics fit in the field of industrial automation?

Jul 8, 2:42AM EDT0

Robotics is one way you can do industrial automation. Industrial robots are very useful for material handling, welding, painting, pick and place, etc. They are "easy" (with a proper training) to install, program and set, but they can also be expensive.

Another way of automating is with a special machine, designed for a special purpose, this machines will have a structure, sensors, motors, pneumatic actuators, etc. They will also have a controller that runs the logic of the machine, reads the sensors values and gives the corresponding signal to the actuators, in order to do the process as it should be.

Tha main advantage of robots is that they are already designed by great companies, you just have to install them and start programming them (robot programming is mainly teaching them some points and running a sequence between those points, they also have some inputs that condition the sequence and the steps), which may be easier that programming a complete machine from zero.

Jul 8, 10:34AM EDT26
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Which industries are most likely to utilize mechatronics engineering?

Jul 6, 2:55PM EDT0

Almost all industries may have mechatronics, but the most common are manufacturing of industrial goods because they have big production lines with high volume, repetitive operations and it's economically possible to do it (investments will have good returns, from reduced costs). 

Jul 8, 10:50AM EDT0

What is the response from consumers to automation in service settings?

Jul 6, 2:14PM EDT0

I don't know if I fully understand your question, but if you mean automation in service, I'm not very expert, I mainly work in industrial automation. I now there is a lot of automation in services, like banking, medical appointments, etc. This is mainly done by IT, mobile apps, web development, etc. 

People often respond well to these developments, mainly young people that prefer to do things online.

Jul 8, 10:59AM EDT56
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Do you know when the buzzword 'mechatronics' was first coined?

Jul 6, 12:14PM EDT0

The term Mechatronics was first used by Tetsuro Mori, the senior engineer of the Japanese company Yaskawa in 1969

Jul 8, 10:37AM EDT29
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What kind of tools do mechatronics engineers typically use?

Jul 6, 8:24AM EDT0

That depends on the field of specialization, even if Mechatronics covers mechanics, electronics, and computer science, in reality,  some mechatronics engineers specialize in one of them because of their preferences or their experiences.

For example, a Mechatronics engineer that prefers mechanics will work with CAD Softwares like SolidEdge, CATIA, NX, Inventor, also they'll use mechanical tools like screwdrivers, wrenches, hex keys, etc.

One that prefers programming will use mostly its computer with programming software. However, software programming can be divided into software for PCs, web, etc or software for controllers, like PLC, micro-controllers, etc.

Finally, one that prefers electronics will use a software for designing and testing circuits and boards, but they will also use oscilloscopes, multimeter (voltage, current, resistance), etc.

Jul 8, 10:45AM EDT0

How would you pitch a mechatronics project to venture capitalists?

Jul 6, 6:40AM EDT0

That would depend on the specific mechatronic project. Are you talking about an automation project that will reduce costs or will increase production in a company? Or is the project a development of a product that will life easier?

Without knowing the specifics of the idea, I'd focus mainly on the benefits of the project, how it will make money and the MOST important, why your project is unique and what technological aspect you have done that gives you a competitive advantage.

Jul 8, 11:03AM EDT0
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Are there any competitions for designers of mechatronics?

Jul 6, 1:24AM EDT0

Yes, there are some competitions, mainly at the student level.

Ones I know:

- Festo has a competition for automating a sequence using pneumatics and controllers.

- There are world championships for robotic cars that solve mazes, follow lines on the floor and that kind of tests.

- There are "Robot Wars", where people use modified RC Cars, with weapons to destroy the other robot.

Jul 8, 10:48AM EDT35
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What features or functions distinguish a robot from a machine?

Jul 5, 3:41PM EDT0

Robots are machines, but a precise subtype. The main feature of a robot is that may be reprogrammed by an operator to do a different task

The main feature of a robot is that may be reprogrammed by an operator to do a different task (welding, painting, material handling, etc), whereas a machine is designed for a specific process (injection molding machine, extruder, mill, die cutter, lathe, etc).

Industrial robots are usually robot arms with a final end effector or tool that performs an operation. Changing the tool and program you can do a very different task.

I think it may be some examples that may create confusion or discussion, like CNC machines, some may say they are reprogrammable and perform different operations. In the strict definition CNC aren't robots, but the discussion is open. 

Jul 5, 8:50PM EDT0

The question is too complicated. As I can see there is a fine line between these two terms. And still discussable.

Jul 11, 2:30PM EDT0

What are some examples or uses of ecomechatronics engineering?

Jul 5, 1:39PM EDT0

I haven't heard a lot of this term before, but for what I've read, this concept stands for more efficient machines in terms of energy, which is a very important criterion in mechatronics design.

The introduction of electronics into mechanical machines gives the possibility to design more efficient machines, you have now more information (sensors) and intelligence (controllers) to optimize industrial processes like moving motors, temperature and pressure control, just to mention some examples.

Energy efficiency is one of the main concerns of today's industry. They realize how expensive energy is, so they want to attack inefficiencies in order to reduce costs. 

Jul 5, 8:57PM EDT0

What do you predict for the next breakthrough in mechatronics?

Jul 5, 1:11PM EDT0

It's hard to imagine the future. Industrial machines and factories are usually behind the gadgets tech, because of the investments needed (you cannot change all your machines every time there is a new version, like you do with a Smartphone). That's why I think breakthroughs in mechatronics will follow breakthroughs in more dynamic fields.

Regarding Industrial machines and factories, they are usually behind the gadgets tech, because of the investments needed (you cannot change all your machines every time there is a new version, like you do with a Smartphone). That's why I think breakthroughs in mechatronics will follow breakthroughs in more dynamic fields. One big change I see nowadays is info and the cloud. Factories want to have more info about their machines, their production, problems, alarms, etc. This leads to SCADA systems and cloud data. Cloud storage may seem very basic for our regular lives, but for a machine is not so normal to have a cloud stream of data.

For other mechatronic's fields, I guess there will be more innovation, like humanoid robots, robots as home appliances and all that kind of developments.

Jul 5, 9:05PM EDT18

 it's very interesting) time will show

Jul 11, 10:59AM EDT0

What are some practical commercial uses of PLC programming?

Jul 5, 9:59AM EDT0

PLC programming is the key of industrial automation. In the industry, almost all the machines and processes are controlled by a PLC, because of its robustness. For an Automation Engineer is very practical to have PLC programming skills, so he can develop algorithms that control any industrial process.

Jul 5, 9:07PM EDT0
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What are the different disciplines in the science of mechatronics?

Jul 5, 8:32AM EDT0

The main disciplines are Mechanics, electronics, and computing science. You can combine them or add some extra disciplines like pneumatics, hydraulics, control systems, materials science, to mention some of them.

Jul 5, 9:09PM EDT26

it sounds very serious. i think it's difficult to learn all of these...

Jul 11, 1:53PM EDT41

What are some ideas for mechatronics at theme parks?

Jul 5, 7:48AM EDT0

In theme parks almost all you see is mechatronics, the roller coasters are machines that have a mechanical part (the cars, the rails, the structures) and electronics (motors, speed control, sensors, etc). Also, the robots you see in some parks are called animatronics, they are a particular kind of robots made for amusement and attractions.

Jul 5, 9:12PM EDT0

How much can you expect to earn as a mechatronics engineer?

Jul 4, 10:55PM EDT0

I don't know an exact amount, that varies a lot between countries, different work fields, etc.

I think we are well paid because it's a very complete formation in several fields of engineering. Mechatronics engineers tend to be very autonomous, problem solvers, they can lead a multidisciplinary team or project and they have a lot of work in almost every industry (automotive, goods production, software, etc). Searching on the web it says wages are between 90.000 and 100.000 USD.

Jul 5, 9:18PM EDT0
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What is the purpose and the science behind bio-mechatronics engineering?

Jul 4, 6:52PM EDT0

The purpose is to make patient's life better. People that may have a special condition, a disease or that lost a part of their body.

They use the basis of mechatronics and robotics combined with biomedicine, biocompatibility, and other sciences to successfully combine the human body with mechatronic's components.

Jul 8, 11:07AM EDT0

This is such interesting science. Sometimes i regret to be not a scientist or engineer. For me it is something out of understanding.

Jul 11, 2:38PM EDT0
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