Mechatronics is the study of electronics, mechanics, and computer control in one cohesive hands-on, project-based program. The field of mechatronics includes robotics, industrial automation, industrial process control, and electro-mechanical systems.
Mechatronic systems include ATMs, copy machines, security scanners, elevators, medical diagnostic equipment, automated package handling, ski lifts, food and beverage production, industrial robots, and municiple water treatment facilities, to name a few.
The Sierra College mechatronics program teaches real-world skills, not solely math and theory. The lectures are followed by labs where you actually do what was talked about. All of the lab equipment is industrial-quality; the same equipment used in industry.
The mechatronics curriculum was developed in consultation with local industry to insure that the curriculum supports up-to-date industrial skills. It is regularly revised and updated to meet current employment demands in the region.
Whether you are a recent high-school graduate looking for your next educational step or you are looking to get out of a dead-end job path or you are a technical professional looking to broaden your skill set, this program will work for you.
Regardless of what stage you are at in your career path our state-of-the-art instruction will provide the skills you’ll need to get working in the exciting field of mechatronics.
There are associate degree and certificate options.
We also have a Mechatronics Robotics club that provides a community among fellow technology enthusiast students.
More information can be found at the Sierra College Mechatronics Department website: www.realskillsrealjobs.com
Successful completion of the curriculum in Mechatronics Technology prepares students for positions in businesses and industries that manufacture, utilize, or repair equipment incorporating electronics, mechanics, pneumatics, hydraulics, and programming.
Completion of the skills certificate provides students with the underlying principles and hands-on techniques of basic electronics and basic mechanics, thereby preparing them for entry-level electro-mechanical technician positions. Emphasis is on use of electronic test equipment for troubleshooting as well as tools and processes of manufacturing as applied to industrial materials.
The Sierra College Robotics Club travelled to San Mateo, CA in April 2012 for the annual RoboGames competition. RoboGames is the largest robot competition in the world with over 50 events and competitors from over 20 different countries. (www.robogames.net) Our team, sponsored by the Sierra College Mechatronics and Welding departments, competed in the 120-pound and 220-pound robot-combat competitions (commonly called “battelbot” events).
This was our club’s 6th year in attendance at RoboGames and this year we brought two robots, whereas in the past we had only one. We also brought our largest pit crew ever, with nine students getting the opportunity to experience RoboGames firsthand and learn the skills it takes to compete at this high level of technical competition. Students needed to learn about DC motor characteristics, tradeoffs of various battery technologies, properties of various alloys of steel, TIG and MIG welding, radio control technologies, high-reliability electrical construction techniques and many other skills just to get here. They then needed to apply these skills in a situation where any small design or implementation flaw is exploited by your opponent and can mean the end of your robot’s ability to function or even its total destruction.
Our brand-new 220-pound bot named “Kick Me” (made mostly out of left-over parts of previous bots to keep the cost down) did fairly well for its first time in the arena. It won one match and lost two, which is typical for a rookie robot. We learned a lot and will apply those lessons to make it even better for next year.
Our 120-pound combat bot, “Wolverine”, is in its third year of competitions and did even better, with three wins and two losses. Its good performance and wicked 30-pound spinning blade was also highlighted in a Wired magazine online article entitled “10 Angry Robots You Shouldn’t Let Inside Your Home”. This was a year of experimentation for our 120-pound bot. We were trying a new battery configuration, a new weapon scheme and an improved armor configuration. The best news this year is that we FINALLY solved our battery problems that had caused us to burn up several hundred dollars worth of batteries over the last three years. A small flaw in the construction of our new battery box caused us to lose one of our matches this year, but with that fixed, no burnt-up batteries and valuable data on our weapon performance, we are ready to enter next year’s competition with a design we know will make us an even more serious competitor.
Robot competition is a fantastic experience for our students. The lessons they learn in teamwork, communication and task prioritization are something that they will find valuable for the rest of their lives. And the technical knowledge they acquire applies directly to the high-tech industrial careers they are preparing for (except with less sparks, flame and flying metal shards). The best part is that they are learning these things not just because they want to pass a test in school but because they want to build the best robot that they possibly can. This “pulling” of information by the students and getting instant, non-ambiguous results on their efforts is a fantastic way to learn.
(For video, search www.YouTube.com for the “MechProfTonyO” channel)