What is Mechatronics?
Mechatronics integrates the principles of mechanical, computer, electrical, and controls engineering into a unified discipline while keeping the core mechanical engineering education. Present mechanical systems are either controlled by the computers, or their intelligence is enhanced by the embedded sensors and electronic circuits. Examples of mechatronic systems range from simple household devices such as microwaves to industrial CNC Machines, robots, Medical Resonance Image (MRI) and X -Ray machines, aircraft and ship steering controllers, automobile power steering and engine controllers, telescopes and all the way to the International Space Station. Mechatronics engineers are uniquely equipped to work as mechanical engineers with rich electronics, instrumentation and real time software engineering skills which are in high demand in industry.
Why the Mechatronics Option in Mechanical Engineering?
With the growing capabilities of electronics, modern mechanical systems are embedded with electronics and controls. A background in Mechatronics engineering provides a strong set of skills and knowledge that will allow graduates to integrate seamlessly with this growing trend. At UBC’s unique Mechatronics program, students learn the fundamental principles of mechanical, electrical, software, instrumentation and controls engineering and gain hands on experience at our specially prepared laboratories. The students are trained to work in any mechanical and instrumentation discipline, whether they decide to work in industry or pursue a graduate research degree.
What are some of the unique opportunities students at UBC have?
At UBC, students of the Mechatronics option have access to unparalleled resources. Operating out of the one of the most well-equipped laboratories in North America, UBC Mechatronics students have the unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the integrated design of mechanical, electrical, and software systems. Beyond the Mechatronics curriculum, 4th year students have the opportunity to test their experience by solving interesting and unique industrial problems for their final year project. After graduation, Mechatronics graduates have the necessary background to pursue increasingly interesting and relevant projects, whether it is in industry or graduate studies.
Where can I work?
From consumer goods, such as cars and smart phones, to industrial applications such as CNC machine tools and biomedical instrumentation, fundamental principles of electrical, mechanical, software, and control engineering are all necessary in design and development. The graduates of the Mechatronics program are well suited to any field of mechanical engineering. The graduates have gone to work in various industries including the mechanical design, aerospace, biomedical devices, manufacturing, electronics packaging, mining machinery and material handling, building automation and robotics industry. With a core mechanical engineering education and strong background in integrating electronics, sensors and actuators into devices, Mechatronics engineers are a valuable asset in a wide field of engineering.
Seastar Solutions (formerly Teleflex Canada) have hired many mechatronic graduates. We have since supported twelve students completing the final eight-month projects of the mechatronic program. Developed by these generalists in the specialist way, the smart products and automated manufacturing equipments attest the success of the program! – Ray Wong, Teleflex Canada
Those interested in Mechatronics are able to work in a variety of fields: industrial automation, intelligent systems, manufacturing, robotics and more. Graduates of the mechatronics program are in high demand in industry. Below is a sample list of companies where graduates currently work:
Canadian Space AgencySaint-Hubert, QuebecCanada’s space programMacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA)Richmond, BCSpace robotics, satellites
|Avigilon Corporation||Vancouver, BC||High definition surveillance|
|Ballard||Burnaby, BC||Fuel cells|
|Bosch||Stuttgart, Germany||Automotive components, household appliances|
|Maxon Motor||Sachseln, Switzerland||Motors|
|Mori Seiki||Nagoya, Japan||CNC machines|
|Royal Dutch Shell||The Hague, Netherlands||Oil and gas|
|Sierra Wireless||Richmond, BC||Wireless communication equipment|
|Teleflex||Limerick, Pennsylvania||Medical devices|
|Westport Innovations||Vancouver, BC||Natural gas engines and related tech|
After graduation, mechatronics students are well positioned to pursue an M.A.Sc. (research-focused) or M.Eng. (industry-focused) in mechatronics, mechanical, electrical, or computer engineering. An undergraduate degree from UBC opens the door to graduate studies across Canada and around the world.
The Department of Mechanical Engineering at UBC offers MASc and PhD programs in Mechatronics and Manufacturing, as well as a course-based MEng program in Mechatronics Design. Possible MASc/PhD research areas include (but are not limited to):
- Intelligent Systems
- Metal Cutting
- Metal Forming
- Production Engineering
For more information on our graduate programs, visit mech.ubc.ca/graduate.
Dr. Xiaoliang Jin
Coordinator, Mechatronics Option