A futuristic industry set to boom globally is at the heart of a new Mechatronic Engineering degree offered for the first time at USC, starting at its Moreton Bay campus in 2020.
Mechatronics is the technology behind every remote-controlled garage door, self-parking car and automated production system – a blend of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computing and the systems that control them.
The Bachelor of Engineering (Mechatronic) (Honours) is one of four new degree programs to be offered by USC exclusively at Moreton Bay campus, alongside a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical and Electronic) (Honours), Bachelor of Computer Science and Bachelor of Business (Digital Futures).
Elexon Electronics is one Moreton Bay employer keen to see local graduates join their company to design, test and create new products for its international markets.
Managing Director Pieter Kuiper says his team of 78 is growing quickly alongside the region, and that the new USC university campus would offer an exciting link to future employees.
“We are an innovation company doing what most engineering graduates hope they are going to do when they study engineering – we cover a mix of electronic, software and mechanical engineering across a group of five separate companies that share staff across electronics, mining and other sectors,” Mr Kuiper said.
“We are excited about having a university on our doorstep, because many of our engineers started as graduate interns and have stayed with the company. Many of our employees live in Moreton Bay. Having a campus so close is only going to support more of that.
“It’s also an opportunity for us to give back to the community because these young engineers need the experience and we offer a great environment to get that experience in Moreton Bay.”
USC Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Selvan Pather said he developed USC’s new Bachelor of Engineering (Mechatronic) degree in response to growing global demand for graduates with skills to integrate electrical, mechanical, computer and control technologies to create “new efficient and effective systems”.
“You can’t talk about anything new that’s being developed without talking about a mechatronic device because everything is becoming more sophisticated with complex programming, smart sensors and improved performance,” Dr Pather said.
“If you look at modern cars, they have very intelligent control systems, they are self-parking, have lane control monitoring and automatic following and braking. We are on the verge of a massive explosion of this type of technology to the point where it will permeate every facet of everyday life.
A mechatronic device can be described as a system that has a motion controller, sensors, a programmed microchip and a means of inputting instructions and providing feedback.
“You have mechatronic devices in your home. Remote-controlled garage doors, microwave ovens, washing machines are all good examples of mechatronic devices,” Dr Pather said.
“Mechatronic technology is becoming the central theme of most systems on which society operates, with applications in a broad range of industries. As a mechatronics graduate, the world is your oyster.
“Most industries are on a path towards greater productivity, hence there is a need for mechatronic engineers to develop more automated systems and robotics for the manufacturing, mining and agricultural industries.”
The program also provides the foundations for innovation and entrepreneurship. Students will gain a foundation in the theory and application of the mechatronic technology, and graduates will be encouraged to find a niche or need to create something new and innovative.
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