Mechatronics machinery

At the intersections of mechanics, electronics, and computing—mechatronics specialists create simpler, smarter systems. Mechatronics is essentially the integration of mechanical systems with electronics and software to create more functional and efficient products and processes.

What is Mechatronics?

Mechatronics is a multidisciplinary field that refers to the skill sets needed in the contemporary, advanced automated manufacturing industry. At the intersection of mechanics, electronics, and computing, mechatronics specialists create simpler, smarter systems. Mechatronics is an essential foundation for the expected growth in automation and manufacturing.

Mechatronics deals with robotics, control systems, and electro-mechanical systems Do you like mechanics, robotics, or production equipment? Do you have a knack for creative problem solving? Do you enjoy technical and engineering activities? Can you work well as a member of a team? Mechatronics could be for you. Request information today.

What do mechatronics professionals do?

Mechatronics specialists can do quite a bit across multiple disciplines and have a solid base from which to grow. Mechatronics specialists know both mechanical and electrical engineering fundamentals—they speak both languages—so a mechatronics specialist can work with both mechanical and engineering teams.

Mechatronics specialists work with massive industrial robots, smaller robots in pick-and-place operations, control systems for bottling or packaging of food and drink products, drones, designing control systems for rides in amusement parks, prototype development.

Some mechatronics specialists are employed in firms where it is necessary to design and maintain automatic equipment. This includes industries such as manufacturing, mining, aviation, robotics, defense, and transport. Other mechatronic specialists are employed by large manufacturing companies involved in high-volume production. Many new career opportunities are on the horizon due to technological advances.

Mechatronics Disciplines

Mechatronic systems can be found in a wide range of applications, from manufacturing and robotics to automotive and consumer electronics. Here are some key aspects of the mechatronics field:

Mechanical Engineering: Mechatronics involves the design and analysis of mechanical systems, such as sensors, actuators, and mechanical structures. This can include anything from robotic arms and automated machinery to consumer products like cameras with auto-focus mechanisms.

Electronics: Electronic components and circuits are used to control and monitor the mechanical aspects of a system. Sensors collect data from the environment, and microcontrollers or microprocessors process this data to make decisions and control actuators. This might involve things like circuit design, PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards), and electronic components.

Control Systems: Mechatronic systems often rely on control theory to regulate the behavior of mechanical components. This can involve feedback loops and control algorithms to ensure precise and desired system performance. Control engineering is crucial to maintaining stability and optimizing the system's operation.

Software and Programming: Mechatronics systems often involve software development to control and coordinate the various components. This can include writing code for microcontrollers, implementing user interfaces, and integrating systems with computer networks.

Sensors and Actuators: Sensors gather information about the system's environment, and actuators take action based on this information. Sensors can include things like cameras, accelerometers, temperature sensors, and more. Actuators might be motors, solenoids, or other mechanisms that move, manipulate, or change the state of the system.

Integration: Mechatronics requires a holistic approach, bringing together experts from various disciplines to work collaboratively. Engineers in this field need to understand and bridge the gaps between mechanical, electrical, and software engineering.

Applications: Mechatronics is applied in a wide range of industries, such as manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, healthcare, and consumer electronics. Examples include industrial automation, robotics, automated vehicles, smart appliances, and more.

Innovation and Automation: Mechatronics has a strong focus on automation and improving the efficiency and performance of systems. It plays a crucial role in enabling advancements in industries by developing smarter and more capable machines and products.

What careers are there in mechatronics?

A degree in mechatronics can lead to management positions, including project management. Workplaces range from laboratories and processing plants to engineering design offices.

Mechatronics specialists work in the fields of cybersecurity, telecommunications, computer science, automotive engineering, robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer products and packaging.

Mechatronic specialists may use the following job titles:

  • Automotive Engineer
  • Control System Engineer
  • Data Logging Engineer
  • Instrumentation Engineer
  • Project Engineer
  • Software Engineer
  • Systems Engineer
  • Service Engineer

Where do mechatronics professionals work?

  • Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction
  • Public Administration
  • Finance and Insurance
  • Manufacturing
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises
  • Transportation and Warehousing
  • Accommodation and Food Services
  • Construction
  • Health Care and Social Assistance
  • Retail Trade
  • Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation
  • Educational Services

What skills do mechatronics specialists need?

Mechatronic specialists have broad multidisciplinary skills, so they are able to move into more traditional engineering disciplines.

A mechatronics specialist is a creative problem solver who can work on a team. Thinking creatively is the first step; being able to communicate good ideas to coworkers involves tact.

Many mechatronic engineers use computer-aided design (CAD) and other engineering software for modeling, simulating, and analyzing complex mechanical, electronic, or other engineering systems.

What tasks do mechatronics specialists do?

There are many tasks mechatronic specialists perform, depending on their particular industry.

  • Some design, develop, maintain, and manage high-technology engineering systems for the automation of industrial tasks.
  • Others apply mechatronic/automated solutions to the transfer of material components or finished goods, or design and assist with the manufacture of consumer products such as cameras and video recorders.
  • Still others carry out studies into the feasibility, cost implications, and performance benefits of new mechatronic equipment.
  • And others apply electronic and mechanical processes and computers to tasks where the use of human labor may be dangerous (for example, underwater exploration, mining, or forestry).

How much do mechatronics engineers earn?

An Electro-mechanical or Mechatronics Technologist and Technician has a mean annual wage of $72,430 (BLS) with the top 10 percent making $104,690 (BLS).

See additional computing salary information.

Figures from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), dated May 2023.

The future of mechatronics engineering

Overall, mechatronics is a rapidly evolving field at the intersection of multiple engineering disciplines, and it plays a vital role in the development of advanced, intelligent systems that make our lives easier and more efficient.

Mechatronics at Michigan Tech

Technical degree programs have changed. Traditional degrees leading directly to closely aligned positions in industry are a thing of the past. Tomorrow needs individuals with advanced technical competencies capable of engaging in interdisciplinary research and industry applications.

Mechatronics BS

Graduates of Michigan Tech's Bachelor's in Mechatronics are key to the digital transformation of our regional and national economy. What sets this degree program apart is the way it brings together engineering and computing to create something entirely new. This convergence is the very essence of "Industry 4.0" and the future of manufacturing and industry.

Mechatronics MS and Graduate Certificate

Graduates of Michigan Tech's Master's of Science in Mechatronics are sought after applied researchers and entrepreneurs, revitalizing the US and global economies in advanced manufacturing and automation. Advised by industrial advisory board members and other industry contacts to meet industry needs and to develop career pathways, our industry-driven curriculum addresses the need for skilled advanced manufacturing technologies.

The 15-credit graduate Mechatronics certificate is available for students looking to enhance a specific skill set, further their career, find a new job, or meet state or national licensing requirements.

Contact the Graduate Program Director, Aleksandr Sergeyev, for more information.

Watch Demo of an Integrated Machining System video
Preview image for Demo of an Integrated Machining System video

Demo of an Integrated Machining System

Michigan Tech Professor Alex Sergeyev and Chinmay Kondekar, '21 (M.S. in ECE/Mechatronics) discuss the Mechatronics degree programs and Kondekar's final design project, an interconnected machining system that is flexible, reconfigurable, and controlled from a central control interface to emulate a production process.