June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.1181.1 - 12.1181.11
Preparing Swedish Mechatronics Engineering Students for a Global Industry
The subject of mechatronics is defined to be cross-disciplinary, based on the concept of synergy and synergistic use of knowledge and skills in underlying subjects. To master the subject means, according to the analysis in this article, to be skilled in applying the subject rather than having vast knowledge. The mechatronics engineers therefore tend to work as an integrator, as project coordinator or project manager. Mechatronics engineers also tend to work with applications, with systems rather than components and with synthesis and design rather than analysis.
In the perspective of globalization the skills required of the mechatronics engineer has to be valid on an international market, and “international skills” ought to be included in the curriculum. This article presents experiences from different modes of integration of international skills into capstone courses and curriculum in mechatronics at KTH, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden.
In conclusion, international collaboration in the settings described can provide experiences of working in a global setting in order to prepare students for future work in a multinational company. International collaboration is also more directly related to the special identity of the subject of mechatronics, and the experience of working with global, diverse teams is valuable preparation for a future career in a global market.
Mechatronics has been taught at KTH, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, since 1984. The Mechatronics engineer is characterized by cross-disciplinary work, by utilizing competencies in various areas such as electrical engineering, mechanical engineering as well as functional skills in programming, control etc. In prior studies of relations between educational programs and professional roles, the Mechatronics engineers (at least in Sweden) are more associated with project management and broad system design than comparable engineering programs1.
Mechatronics as an academic subject has existed since the 1960s, and has since then evolved from being a combination of a subset of MECHAnics and elecTRONICS to a subject that is defined as “the synergistic integration of mechanical engineering with electronics and intelligent computer control in the design and manufacturing of industrial products and processes” 2. Authors such as Adamsson3 have identified and analyzed the professional role of the mechatronics engineer in studies of engineers and their roles in companies. Since mechatronics is an integrative and synergistic subject, the mechatronics engineer in many cases is an integrator, a project manager, a technical coordinator or a designer of complex cross-disciplinary systems4.
International skills, in the context of international understanding and international competence, involve issues such as the comprehension and understanding of “our place and our potential in
Grimheden, M. (2007, June), Preparing Swedish Mechatronics Engineering Students For A Global Industry Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2361
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