A robotics technician could...
|Test and prepare a medical robot for a long day of surgeries.||Contribute to the creation of camel racing jockeys and other entertainment robots.|
|Maintain manufacturing robots in good working order to maximize productivity.||Help test and develop a military robot for defusing improvised explosive devices.|
Key Facts & Information
|Overview||Robots are no longer futuristic machines. Robots are here and now and are used in manufacturing, health care, service industries, and military applications. They perform tasks that are repetitive and hazardous—things that humans don't want to do or are unsafe to do. But robots are still machines, which means they require humans to build, maintain, program, and keep them functioning efficiently. Robotics technicians work with robotics engineers to build and test robots. They are responsible for installing and maintaining robots and keeping them in working order for their employers. If you are interested in working with robots, your future is here and now.|
|Key Requirements||Mechanical skill, good eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, ability to think analytically, good spatial sense|
|Minimum Degree||Associate's degree|
|Subjects to Study in High School||Physics, geometry, algebra; if available, computer science, applied technology|
|Projected Job Growth (2010-2020)||Little or No Change (-2% to 2%) In Demand!|
Training, Other Qualifications
Many employers encourage their robotics technicians to take additional college courses and gain a higher degree. They may offer educational fee reimbursement as a benefit to their employees undertaking further training.
Robotics technicians can become certified as a manufacturing technologist by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. To gain certification, the robotics technician must prepare for and pass a 3-hour examination. They must also have four years of combined experience and education.
Education and Training
The minimum degree required for an entry-level position as a robotics technician is an associate's degree in electrical engineering technology or mechanical engineering technology.
Nature of the Work
Watch this video if you are you interested in working with real robots. Find out what robotics technicians do and how they keep industrial manufacturing plants moving.
The word robot is derived from the word robota, which means "worker" in Czech, and that is what they do. Robots work to make life easier for humans. Robots do repetitive tasks that may injure or demean a human worker. They can also function in hazardous environments without any ill effects. But robots are machines and, like all machines, need someone to build, program, maintain, and fix them. Robotics technicians help design, test, install, maintain, troubleshoot, and fix robots and automation control systems.
There are two kinds of robotics technicians. Some robotics technicians work with engineers and designers to assemble robots and test them. They help to develop the computer programs that control the robot and direct them to do tasks. These technicians understand computers, electrical and electronic systems, sensors, and the inner workings of robots and automation control systems.
Other robotics technicians work with robots that are used in industrial manufacturing. These technicians are responsible for maintaining and troubleshooting both the electrical and mechanical systems of the robot. They make sure that the robots are functioning efficiently so that the manufacturing floor never stops making products.
Robotics technicians can work on installing robots at plant sites. In this capacity, they are responsible for ensuring that the robot or automation control system is working properly. They must also train personnel on how to maintain and control the robot or automation control system.
Robotics technicians can work on repairing, programming, and maintaining robots or they can work on assembling and testing robots. Robotics technicians who work on maintaining and fixing robots usually work in manufacturing or production operations. These environments can vary from noisy and dirty factory floors to wafer fabrication clean rooms where the environment is strictly controlled. In both environments, robotics technicians must follow all safety procedures and wear safety gear. Robotics technicians who work on assembling and testing robots work in well-equipped laboratories.
Robotics technicians work a standard 40-hour week. At times, deadlines may bring extra pressure to the job, requiring robotics technicians to work overtime hours. Shift work may be required for those employed by robot users. In factories, work may be scheduled over long holiday periods for installation of new robots or during major modifications.
Some robotics technicians travel to the customer's plant in order to install or service their robots.
On the Job
- Build or assemble robotic devices or systems.
- Disassemble and reassemble robots or peripheral equipment to make repairs, such as replacement of defective circuit boards, sensors, controllers, encoders, and servomotors.
- Install new robotic systems in stationary positions or on tracks.
- Install, program, and repair programmable controllers, robot controllers, end-of-arm tools, or conveyors.
- Perform preventive or corrective maintenance on robotic systems or components.
- Test performance of robotic assemblies using instruments such as oscilloscopes, voltmeters, and bridges.
- Train robots using artificial intelligence software and interactive training techniques to perform simple or complex tasks, such as designing and carrying out a series of iterative tests of chemical samples.
- Troubleshoot robotic systems using knowledge of microprocessors, programmable controllers, electronics, circuit analysis, mechanics, sensor or feedback systems, hydraulics, and pneumatics.
- Align, fit, or assemble component parts using hand tools, power tools, fixtures, templates, or microscopes.
- Assist engineers in the design, configuration, or application of robotic systems.
- Attach wires between controllers.
- Develop robotic path motions to maximize efficiency, safety, and quality.
- Inspect installation sites.
- Modify computer-controlled robot movements.
- Develop three-dimensional simulations of automation systems.
- Document robotics test procedures and results.
- Fabricate housings, jigs, fittings, or fixtures using metalworking machines.
- Maintain inventories of production supplies such as sensors and cables.
- Maintain service records of robotic equipment or automated production systems.
- Program complex systems such as vision systems.
- Train customers or other personnel to install, use, or maintain robots.
Companies That Hire Robotics Technicians
Explore what you might do on the job with one of these projects...
- Go, Gadget, Go! Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms®
- Grasping with Straws: Make a Robot Hand Using Drinking Straws
- I Like to Move It: Motorizing a Robot Hand
- Roaming Robots: Build Your Own Underwater Robot
- Soda Straw Robot Simulator
- Stair Master: Build an All-Terrain Robot
- X Marks the Spot: Build a Robot to Protect Your Treasures
Do you have a specific question about a career in Mechanical Engineering that isn't answered on this page? Post your question on Science Buddies Ask an Expert Forum.
- O*Net Online. (2009). National Center for O*Net Development. Retrieved May 1, 2009, from http://online.onetcenter.org/
- Faces of GM. (2009, August 17). Sam: builds quality into robots. Retrieved May 25, 2011, from www.facesofgm.com/2009/08/17/sam-builds-quality-into-robots/
- ScienceBuddiesTV. (2011, June 22). Career: robotics technician. Retrieved May 25, 2011, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWVsh9FquZc
- California Employment Development Department. (1995). Robotics technician. Retrieved May 25, 2011, from www.calmis.ca.gov/file/occguide/robottec.htm
- StateUniversity.com. (2011). Robotics technician job description, career as a robotics technician, salary, employment - definition and nature of the work, education and training requirements, getting the job. Net Industries. Retrieved May 26, 2011, from careers.stateuniversity.com/pages/372/Robotics-Technician.html
- Inside Jobs, LLC. (2011). Robotics technician. Retrieved May 26, 2011, from www.insidejobs.com/jobs/robotics-technician
We'd like to acknowledge the additional support of:
- Intel Foundation
- Northrop Grumman