Studies & Degrees in Automation Engineering
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Are you an engineering student seeking an exciting and fascinating specialty in which to focus your studies? Have you considered an advanced degree in Automation Engineering, one that will ultimately lead to a career working with and perfecting industrialized equipment? Automation engineering is a relatively new specialty that was primarily borne out of the explosive advancement in computer technology and robotics over the past two decades. Graduates with a degree in this field will be on the cutting-edge of engineering technology and will immediately become eligible to work in a variety of fields in which their skills are currently in high demand. To help you become a bit more familiar with this degree program, below we have briefly outlined some of the course content you are likely you encounter while pursuing a degree in Automation Engineering, as well as the main requirements for admission into this type of program.
About the Automation Engineering Degree
The Master’s of Science degree in Automation Engineering is a two to three-year program now being offered by most major colleges and universities. This course of study will train students to build, troubleshoot, repair and maintain the automated industrial equipment now used in a variety of manufacturing and processing fields, such as computer numerical control (CNC) equipment and robots. The program will include classes in fields such as statistics, advanced technical mathematics, particle and solid dynamics, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics and electrical circuits, as will feature courses in subjects such as:
- Pneumatics and Hydraulics. In the Pneumatics and Hydraulics course students will study the terms, history, principles and functions of the various fluid power components used in automation engineering. They will examine aspects such as control tactics, hydraulic interpretation, pneumatic drawings and blueprints, component symbols and pneumatic circuit design, and explore actuators and fluid transmission devices as well as the causes and effects of fluid contamination.
- Automated Manufacturing. The Automated Manufacturing course offers a comprehensive examination of the principles and integration of robots in factory-type settings, emphasizing computer numerical control (CNC) devices, computer-aided design (CAD), programmable logic controllers (PLC) and computer integrated manufacturing (CIM). Students will also be expected to learn the components of a robotic structure, industrial robot programming, system drivers and sensors. The prerequisites for this course vary depending on the university, but generally speaking, students are expected to take both college algebra and trigonometry prior to enrollment.
- Programmable Logic Controllers. In the course on programmable logic controllers students will examine and learn the programming and implementation of programmable logic controllers, devices which act as the computerized 'brain' of automated industrial equipment such as assembly line robotic arms. Some of the topics students will explore include the theories and applications of hardware selection, sensor positioning, motion control, automatic identification and configuration, math blocks and troubleshooting.
To qualify for admission into the Master’s of Science degree program in Automation Engineering students must possess, at minimum, a Bachelor of Science degree in the same or closely-related field and a have a 3.0 grade point average or better in their undergraduate coursework related to engineering and technology.
Job positions for Automation Engineering:
Last March 2009 in Geneva, almost all world-renowned carmakers strutted off their concept of what future cars will look like in the Geneva Motor Sport Show 2009. The motor show was a huge success because motor show goers can’t stop wowing and gaping in awe. The cars seen on the motor show were concept cars basically, meaning most likely those cars were just built to show off the level of technology their automotive engineers have achieved so far. However, some cars on the exhibit did announce that they would be ready for production by 2010 so some are not merely concept cars at all. During these kinds of motor shows, it is not just a feast for the eyes of spectators but this is also where cutting edge technological breakthroughs are unveiled. Those beautiful concept cars and those features that unceasingly awed spectators were a product of a team of automotive engineers’ hard work.
Automotive Engineers are truly the life blood of every automaker. From conceptualization to design and finally to manufacturing of a car, it is an Automotive Engineer who does all these. However, Automotive Engineers can be classified into three teams namely: design, development and manufacturing.
Those in design are the ones who design components and systems (like brake system and aerodynamics) found in a car. It is also the duty of a Design Engineer to do testing the designs they made to see if, indeed, the intended result for a particular design meet expectations. Like for example, a Design Engineer came up with a superior aerodynamic body design that uses fiber glass. Once approved to go ahead with the project, the prototype for this body design would then be fabricated for testing purposes. This prototype then would be subjected to all kinds of test that would check its sturdiness. Computer simulations would also be a big part in product designs so a bit of computer know-how is necessary for Design Engineers.
The development team is responsible for integration of the different systems looking from the point of view of a complete car. Final testing of anything would be his concern since it is his call what inclusions and exclusions would be made. Because of so many considerations to consider, the Development Engineer would have to decide if the car would be for the racing or for the city driving. A racer car would mean development should be geared for higher power displacement and faster acceleration while city driving would lean more to less fuel output cars. Generally, it is the Development Engineers who would set the tone of the car.
The third type of Automotive Engineers would be those in the manufacturing team. Once the design of a car has been ordered for production, the Manufacturing Engineers would be the ones in charge of planning and executing the assembly of the vehicles. They would decide what equipment, tools, and people would be needed. Making and designing assembly plants should rest upon their shoulders but perhaps the most important question for Manufacturing Engineers is how many units they can make on a daily basis.
Automotive Engineers are indeed a vital cog in the automotive industry. The automotive industry pretty much is a self sustaining industry as cars get obsolete for a period of 5 years or so. This would mean that Automotive Engineers would never run out of work as long as people have a need for cars.