Monday, August 8, 2022
Oklahoma State University’s Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology (BSET) in
Mechatronics and Robotics (MERO) program is the first mechatronics or robotics interdisciplinary four-year degree program in Oklahoma.
The BSET-MERO program will give students experience in electrical, mechanical, control
systems and computer engineering technology. Dr. Chulho Yang, MERO program coordinator,
said all required courses will use hands-on learning to focus on applied engineering.
“The MERO program is one of a few engineering and engineering technology programs
in the country,” Yang said. “This program will provide students with interdisciplinary
applied engineering education. Students will learn fundamental and applied concepts
of real-world mechatronic and robotic systems, including interface theory, sensing
and actuation systems, hardware and software integration, control systems, artificial
intelligence, autonomous vehicles, advanced manufacturing and soft robotics.
Over the past few years, mechanical engineering technology and electrical engineering
technology students have been offered a mechatronics course. Dr. Young Chang, head
of the engineering technology division, said many students left the course to become
more interested in mechatronics.
“Students who could not make up their minds between electrical and mechanical disciplines
will have the opportunity to taste both disciplines before choosing one,” Chang said.
The demand for engineers with an understanding of MERO is on the rise. Lately, it
has been nearly impossible to separate electrical, mechanical and computer technologies.
Automation engineer, electronics design engineer, software engineer and robotics engineer
are only a few of the careers available for MERO graduates. Mechatronics engineers
typically work with electronics, real-time software, instrumentation and other mechanical
or electrical machines. Graduates have the opportunity to work in a variety of jobs
across multiple disciplines.
“Graduates of the BSET-MERO program can expect to find employment in the areas of
electrical, mechanical, computer and energy,” Yang said. “Since these are the core
areas of any industry, the graduates will receive preference over any traditional
engineering/engineering technology major,” Yang said.
Dr. Robert Taylor, director of the New Product Development Center, believes the program
is a critical component of survival for manufacturing companies in Oklahoma and the
nation. The COVID-19 shutdown has emerged jobs in the manufacturing sector. Manufacturing
companies, especially rural manufacturers, can no longer find line workers willing
to take those jobs.
“Completing mundane or physically taxing manufacturing tasks with machines frees up
the existing workforce to keep the lines running,” Taylor said. “The use of automation
and robotics will also improve efficiency for the manufacturers thereby improving
profitability. The MERO program will provide the skills necessary for new graduates
to implement these solutions for Oklahoma companies and enable manufacturing to survive
in a difficult workforce environment. We work with a large number of Oklahoma-based
manufacturers annually and this is the only solution we believe to be viable for the
People in the industry also recognize the importance of the BSET-MERO program. NORDAM
is one of the world’s largest independently owned aerospace companies. Justin Patterson,
director of engineering at NORDAM, believes the program works toward facing rising
issues in the career-field.
“In today’s Technological and Industrial environment it’s becoming ever more crucial
to have and apply knowledge of the interaction between mechanical and electrical engineering
to help solve real-world problems,” Patterson said. “The MERO program helps to fill
that need. I like to say it’s the Tony Stark degree.”
“We look for students who are passionate about designing or building something that
will actually enhance the quality of life,” Chang said. “Students who will be successful
in our MERO program are open-minded individuals who love to learn in a multi-disciplinary
Oklahoma is expected to generate a demand for 3,000 engineers yearly. Graduates of
the BSET-MERO program can expect to meet the state’s growing needs with their several
branches of expertise.
“The modern industry needs engineers who understand how mechanical and electronic
control technologies work together,” Chang said. “MERO graduates will be sought after
by the aerospace industry, manufacturing industry, energy industry, and many companies
that are involved in automation. Our graduates will begin to be productive with little
or no additional training.”
Bailey Sisk | [email protected]