Biggest Companies of the Future Will Be Mechatronics-Driven, Says Expert
Technology, which has helped in shaping the way things are done and enhanced service delivery through innovations and inventions, is evolving such that the biggest companies of the future are going to be Mechatronics-Driven.
This postulation was made by an expert in Mechatronics, Engr. Olakunle Fagbongbe, Guest Speaker at a recent Town and Gown Seminar at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Covenant.
While delivering a lecture on the topic, ‘New Trends in Mechatronics’, Engr. Fagbongbe, the Executive Vice-Chairman, Encompassing Technologies Limited, defined Mechatronics as “That branch of Engineering that uses contemporary/emerging technologies in the design and development of system oriented, intelligent, almost autonomous and easily maintainable products and processes”.
A Mechatronics Engineer, he noted, was a highly skilled and practically-knowledgeable Engineer in the fields of Mechanical, Electronics, Communications, Computer and Control technologies. He highlighted the skill base requirements for a mechanical engineer as: Machine element/mechanical engineering design, C/C++ Low-level Programming with Data structure and complex Mathematical systems modeling algorithm implementation skills, Systems Integration of disparate technologies, Mathematical systems modeling, Selection and application of sensors, and Design, development and application of electro-hydraulic and electro-pneumatic systems among others.
Amongst the examples listed by Engr. Fagbongbe as modern Mechatronics systems were: home appliances (e.g. washing machines), elevators and escalators, mobile robots and manipulator arms, sorting and packaging systems in production lines, Computer Numerically Control (CNC) production machines, aeroplanes and helicopters, smart phones, and electric cars among many others.
However, there were factors that would affect Mechatronics design and advancement; according to him, these factors included, climate change, demand for smarter but smaller and precise devices/processes, advancement in Internet/wireless communication application – IoT, Wireless Sensor Network, AI – machine learning, data science/big data and statistics, VR/AR, demand for safety compliance, and advancement in object tracking.
Engr. Fagbongbe revealed that the ongoing Mechatronics projects in Nigeria were the Strategic and Predictive Emergency Management Information System (SpeMi), for optimal management of disasters; PROHAMACS, a 360° asset management, Control and tracking system with complex and robust maintenance capability (Total Asset Visibility, TAV), for the armed forces; and TREMACS, a computer-based transportation resources management and control system - a subset of locally developed Intelligent Transport System.
The Guest Speaker encouraged faculty and students in the Department of Mechanical Engineering to embrace Mechatronics as they might find themselves irrelevant in future simply being a Mechanical Engineer.