Manufacturing offers many exciting opportunities for forward-thinking professionals. Today, manufacturing specialists take on high-tech, hands-on roles, creating and working with the latest advancements in technology. AI, robotics, computerization, and automation are at the heart of the field – but companies are in need of more professionals to step in. If you are interested in a technology-driven career, two popular paths are CNC machining and mechatronics. Both are on the cutting-edge of the manufacturing industry, but there are clear-cut differences between the two career paths.
Below we break down what you need to know about mechatronics and CNC machining – what these fields entail, the skills are required for each path, and the career outcomes for aspiring manufacturers of tomorrow. Let’s start with the basics:
What is Mechatronics?
Mechatronics is a multi-faceted field that combines several types of engineering – mechanical, computer, and electrical – with machining, robotics, and information technology. The main function of mechatronics is to identify and manage new, efficient, and smart machines to improve manufacturing operations.
What is CNC Machining?
CNC stands for Computerized Numeric Control. It is a computerized manufacturing process in which pre-programmed software and code controls the movement of production equipment. CNC machinists control a range of complex machinery, such as grinders, lathes, and turning mills – all of which are used to cut, shape, and create different parts and prototypes.
What is the Key Difference between Mechatronics and CNC Machining?
CNC machining uses advanced technology to create the machines, materials, and products that we use. Mechatronics works to make our everyday machinery and processes simpler, more efficient, or easier to use.
What to Expect in the Mechatronics Field:
Tech-lovers are often eager to learn about mechatronics at a career-focused school like Goodwin University, because the program combines hands-on-training with classroom learning at a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. Students learn how to operate and maintain the electro-mechanical, computer-controlled systems often found in automated manufacturing settings. They also gain hands-on experience with industry equipment.
The mechatronics program curriculum covers subjects like:
- Introduction to Mechatronics
- Principles in Manufacturing Mathematics
- Computer-Aided Design (CAD)
- Basic Electrical
- Hydraulics and Pneumatics
- Mechanical Drives and Kinematics
- Electrical Schematics
- Industrial Robotics
- Motor Control
- Programmable Controllers
- Industrial Electrical Maintenance
- Machining and Pipe Fabrications
These courses also teach the following skillsets, which are essential in a mechatronics career:
- Analytical skills
- Computer application
- Math skills
- Mechanical/technical skills
- Manual dexterity
- Experience reading blueprints, schematics, and diagrams
If you are wondering what type of career you can look forward to with a mechatronics certificate on-hand, you will be happy to know that there are several key roles needed in this growing field. Some of the roles graduates at Goodwin go on to pursue include:
- Craft workers
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), mechatronics technologists earned a median pay of $59,800 in 2020.
What to Expect in the CNC Machining Field:
Professionals in the CNC machining field work to create a variety of products, and this role plays a critical part in Connecticut’s booming manufacturing industry and overall economy. Skilled CNC machinists see a product through every phase of its inception and creation, from the initial design to the finished product.
In a career-focused CNC machining program, like the one at Goodwin University, students also benefit from a mix of classroom and hands-on learning experiences. At Goodwin, CNC students have access to our new CNC 3-axis milling and turning machines, providing the machining experience needed to be successful in the industry. Students also gain advanced skills in Mastercam, and knowledge of the following topics:
- Technology in Advanced Manufacturing
- Technical Drawings and Specifications
- Materials and Processes in Manufacturing
- Manufacturing Mathematics
- CNC Machining
- Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM)
Some of the skills needed for CNC machining overlap with the skills needed for mechatronics. CNC machining professionals need the following skillset in order to be successful:
- Analytical skills – Understanding technical blueprints, models, and specifications so that machinists can craft parts and products
- Manual dexterity and accuracy – Developing parts and getting production down to the exact inch or millimeter specified by a design
- Math skills and computer application experience – Working with CAD/CAM technology, CNC machine tools, and computerized measuring machines
- Mechanical skills – Operating milling machines, lathes, grinders, laser and water cutting machines, wire electrical discharge machines, and other machine tools
- Physical stamina – Standing for extended periods and performing repetitious movements
- Technical skills – Understanding computerized measuring machines and metalworking processes
This hands-on, creative career offers plenty of reward for those interested in working in the machining field. CNC machinists earn an average salary of $47,040 annually, as the BLS expects this employment of this role to grow 7 percent between 2020 and 2030.
Mechatronics vs. CNC Machining School: Which is Right for You?
As you consider the fields of mechatronics vs. CNC machining, you should keep in mind that both career paths are growing and on the cutting-edge of manufacturing today. Manufacturing is experiencing a resurgence, and these technology-fueled fields are at the helm of it all.
Author and Professor Klaus Schwab has declared that the country is amidst its fourth industrial revolution. Connecticut plays a key part in this booming industry. In fact, manufacturers in the Nutmeg State export $15 billion in goods every year – representing more than 92% of the state’s exports! There is plenty of room to grow for professionals looking to break into this in-demand career.
With the programs offered at Goodwin University, you can get prepared for a mechatronics career, or a CNC machining future, fast. Both the mechatronics certificate program and the CNC certificate program can be completed in just two semesters, enabling you to get into the workforce as quickly as possible.
Are you ready to jumpstart your career in CNC machining or mechatronics? Learn more about the manufacturing programs available at Goodwin University. Call us at 800-889-3282 or visit us online to request more information.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.