Washington’s Centers of Excellence for Marine Manufacturing and Clean Energy recently commissioned Alan Hardcastle, PhD, Washington State University Social and Economic Sciences Research Center to research mechatronics current concepts and practices in the marine and energy industries. The report entitled Mechatronics in Washington State: Manufacturing, Energy and Martine Sectors identified a growing number of national and state-level education-industry partnerships that are working to design education and training programs, degrees and certifications that are better attuned to the changing needs of employers for technical employees in modern industrial settings.

Mechatronics is a multidisciplinary field of engineering with roots in the manufacturing industry that combines mechanical, electronic, computer, software, control and systems design engineering in order to design and manufacture useful products. Factory automation equipment and Industrial robots are typical examples of products that integrate mechanical, electronic and software systems.

The infusion of mechatronics principles and practices in the workplace also has implications for the knowledge, skills and abilities required of employees in most modern industrial settings.  The design, installation, maintenance and repair of new, integrated high-tech systems places greater emphasis than in the past on interdisciplinary knowledge and multi-skilling that also cuts across many occupational areas.  These transferrable skills are increasingly in demand by employers across many different industry sectors, including energy, marine technology, construction and food processing.

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