Robots welding in factory

Robotics Engineers – Automating Car Manufacturing

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In the 2013 science fiction movie Pacific Rim the world was defended by invading monsters from another world by large robots called Jaegers that were large enough to battle the constantly increasing in size attackers. The Jaegars were gigantic humanoid appearing robots that were controlled by multiple human controllers with exotic computer systems and neural bridges between the human pilots.   The Jaegars required extensive support teams with large control rooms and support teams that managed everything from movement speed, fighting movements, fuel consumption, to armaments and specialty actions while they were in battle. The idea for these exotic mechas was built on the robotic equipment that has been used in automotive manufacturing for many years that have performed large tasks that are too big for humans to perform alone with reliability and precision. And the engineers behind these assembly robots are Robotics Engineers who coordinate everything from the coding in the controllers to the design of the robotic arms and movement patterns they use during assembly.

Robotics engineering background

The Robotics Engineering field and robotics has been an important part of automotive manufacturing since the 1960s when robots first began to be used in assembly. This important field began as many technological advances did, in the fictitious stories of popular authors such as Isaac Asimov and has since grown to become prevalent in all types of manufacturing process and assembly lines. As the use of robots has grown in manufacturing processes so has the need for robotics engineers and this engineering specialty has become mainstream in the automotive manufacturing industry.

Robot and robotics technology has three essential areas that require engineering focus; there is the mechanical construction and movement, the electrical design including wiring and communication paths and finally there is the robotics programmer who sets up the code that determines the actions a robot performs and in what order they are performed. Each of these areas requires engineering focus to ensure they work together harmoniously while they are in the production line performing a task and there are robotics engineering specialties that potential students can choose to pursue when you earn your degree.

Getting started in Robotics Engineering

The requirements for entering a robotics engineer program are similar to those for other engineering degrees including a strong foundation in math, physics, sciences, chemistry as well as core courses in English, social studies and foreign languages. Additionally, schools require a higher than average grade point average and good scores on the SAT and ACT college entrance exams. When you have been accepted to a robotics engineering degree program you will be inundated with computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and physics courses to give you a sound basis to complete your degree and be prepared to enter the work force as a Robotics Engineer.

Gain practical skills while earning your degree

Earning a degree in robotics is not sufficient to prepare you for the work you will be doing in the field, it is essential to gain hands on experience in the robotics field in order to have the practical applications you will need to fulfill your job requirements. Universities that have robotics engineering schools will also provide opportunities for students to gain practical skills by competing in robotics engineering competitions both within your school and externally with other schools. These challenges set specific operational parameters the team must work within as they design their robot that will meet the challenges goals and give students in the programs the chance to gain real skills and learn new techniques.

Day in the life of a Robotics Engineer

Robotics Engineers are involved in both the conceptual design and production assembly development process but also support daily manufacturing operations by troubleshooting robots that may be malfunctioning or not performing optimally. Robotics Engineers will review design drawings and determine how robots can be designed to perform the assembly process. They will review pick up and handling positions that new parts will have and design any specific tooling that is required to successful handle a part or component. When the mechanics have been designed they will write the computer coding that will instruct the robot on how to perform the assembly process.

Getting involved in the robotics community

Because of the highly specialized requirements of the robotics engineering position there are numerous organizations available for engineers to network and share their experiences. A listing of the numerous organizations is available at the DMW Automation Site.

Robots are no longer just found in science fiction movies and books they are now an integral part of our lives especially in the automotive industry. If you are looking for a career where you can truly have an impact then Robotics Engineering is the ideal place for you to design creative solutions to assembly problems.

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