Mechanical Engineering Robotics
Industrial robots are powerful and intelligent machines that have become vital for the manufacturing processes of many industries. There are many types of robots that vary upon size, configuration, payload capacity, and range of motion. They can perform simple tasks to complex tasks including automated welding, painting, inspection, robotic assembly, and material removal, among many others. Designing these sophisticated manufacturing machines is no easy task itself, which is why it is left to mechanical engineers.
Mechanical engineering robotics involves the design of an industrial robot’s physical structure. This includes the robot configuration, type of robot, joint mechanisms, axes, heat transfer characteristics, mounting positions, among many other aspects that go into the creation of a new robot. For instance, when FANUC launched their collaborative robot line, it was most likely a mechanical engineer that created the rounded design concept of the CR15ia to make it safe for operation around humans. CAD or other design software is used to create a new robot concept and how to best manufacture it. Mechanical robotic engineering takes conceptual ideas and makes them a reality allowing for the continuous advancement of manufacturing automation.
Robotic mechanical engineering involves not only the invention of new robots and robotic systems, but also the maintenance of current systems. This includes troubleshooting issues, operating robotic equipment, and programming robots to perform desired processes. Safety measures fall under mechanical engineering as well, including the use and integration of force sensors, barriers, scanners, and other safety devices. Mechanical engineering robotics can also be applied to the development and testing of different types of robotic applications.
Those who are looking to pursue a career in robotic mechanical engineering typically will need to obtain a four-year mechanical engineering degree. Many colleges and universities now offer mechanical engineering with a focus towards courses related to the robotics field. Robotic mechanical engineers will gain a knowledge of complex math, science, mechanics, material engineering, manufacturing, and mechatronics. Having an understanding of these subjects will provide robotic engineers with the knowledge and skill needed to be able to come up with new innovations and problem solve in order to continue to advance the scope of articulated robots as well as the technology surrounding them.
Mechanical engineering is considered one of the best areas of study for those looking to pursue a career in robotic technology. Robotics continues to be a fast-growing industry with more manufacturers automating their facilities each year. In addition, non-industrial industries are moving to automate with robots including the medical, food, and pharmaceutical industries. The ABB 120 and the FANUC LR Mate 200id are two six axis robots that are specially designed to be used in pharmaceutical manufacturing. These robots are the product of the expansion of robotic technology through mechanical engineering. The drive for advancing robot automation combined with the increased use of robots emphasizes the importance of mechanical engineering robotics. This is why robot mechanical engineers are in high demand, higher than other types of engineers.
Robotic mechanical engineering is important for supporting the advancement of industrial robots, allowing them to automate new industries and new applications.