Mechatronic engineering is a new focus area in engineering that promises to become even more important in the future, both in South Africa as well as internationally. With automation as the current key to productivity, the need for mechatronics (which makes it possible to generate simpler, more economical, reliable and versatile systems) increases by the day.
Mechatronic engineering is a synergistic combination of precision mechanical engineering, electronics and computer systems. A typical mechatronic system is characterised by close integration of the mechanical components, electronic sensors, mechanical and electrical actuators and computer controllers. Mechatronic engineering is an interdisciplinary engineering field that specialises in the control of advanced hybrid systems. These systems are found in numerous industry sectors where mechanical and electronic engineering are interfaced with computer systems, such as aerospace, automotive, chemical processing, computers, communications, electronics, healthcare, manufacturing and mining.
At Stellenbosch University, the BEng (Mechatronic) programme contains elements from the BEng (Mechanical) and the BEng (Electrical and Electronic) programmes. The most important difference between the mechanical engineering programme and the mechatronic programme is that mechanical engineers are equipped to develop mechatronic systems with existing controllers (computers, PLC’s, etc.), while mechatronic engineers are also equipped to develop specialised controllers (e.g. for embedded controllers) and the relevant electronics themselves. In the BEng (Mechatronic) programme, some of the more specialised elements of the BEng (Mechanical) programme are replaced with electronics and computer engineering from the BEng (Electrical and Electronic) programme.
Please visit the web site of the Faculty of Engineering for a downloadable version of our Calendar. This document contains more information on undergraduate study such as the curriculum of each year of study.
Mechatronic engineers (men and women) may be employed in enterprises of any size, both in South Africa and internationally. There are numerous small and medium sized enterprises that develop and use mechatronic systems where mechatronic engineers are needed. International trends indicate that the need for mechatronic engineers in South Africa will increase significantly in the foreseeable future.
- Aerospace industry
- Automotive industry
- Chemical Processing
- Manufacturing and automation
- Marine engineering
- Research and development