Mechatronics helps engineers make industrial processes faster and more intelligent. Unknown to many, the science of mechatronics has been around since the late 1960s. The term was coined by Japanese Engineer Ko Kikuchi to reflect the integration of mechanical and electrical systems into one device. The engineering discipline now encompasses more than just the two specialities, and mechatronics engineers have been identified by an array of designations, from automation engineer to software engineer.


Mechatronics explained

The term mechatronics is a combination of ‘mechanical engineering’ and ‘electronics’, integrating the various types of engineering into one technical field of study. It encompasses more than mechanical and electrical engineering. It brings mechanical, electrical, computer and robotics engineering together to connect disparate states of design and production processes into single, streamlined mechatronic systems.

About mechatronics

Its ultimate goal is to develop new useful products and more economical, reliable and versatile solutions. It achieves this by integrating elements of artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, telecommunications, optical engineering, and systems and controls. Some system examples that can be attributed to mechatronics include robots, air-bag systems, digital cameras and aircraft cruise controls, among others.

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The where and how of mechatronics


Mechatronics and Industry 4.0

Mechatronics engineers’ skills are used in automotive, aerospace, aviation, manufacturing, oil and energy industries. As Industry 4.0 (fourth industrial revolution) uses cyber-physical systems to incorporate connected devices that exchange data and make decisions, mechatronics is considered an enabling factor of and key component to Industry 4.0.

Mechatronic systems engineering plays a pivotal role in Industry 4.0.


Mechatronic systems and control have combined a range of mechatronics engineering disciplines to engineer intelligent solutions.

Mechatronics engineering – roles and responsibilities

Common responsibilities of a mechatronics engineering department include, but are not limited to:

  • Identifying opportunities to streamline operations or workflows using automation or integration with other systems.
  • Designing and testing mechatronic device and product prototypes.
  • Troubleshooting and supporting various mechatronic solutions and devices.
  • Developing computer-driven controls, such as systems for:
    • Warehouse control
    • Enterprise resource planning
    • Sensing and control
  • Conducting feasibility studies to understand the potential ROI of various mechatronic solutions and implementing them.


Where is mechatronics used?

Mainly prevalent in manufacturing sectors like industrial, electronic and automotive, for example, the most common applications where mechatronics engineering would be applied are:

  • Robotic automation
  • Home and building automation
  • Computer-driven machinery
  • Medical imaging
  • Robotic surgery
  • Machine vision and inspection
  • Sensing and control
  • Temperature/humidity cotrol
  • Automotive engineering (automotive mechatronics)
  • Computer-aided design and production (such as CNC)
  • Transportation
  • Mechatronics and automation


Mechatronics engineers are used across industry, but most of the work falls in the highly automated manufacturing sector. It involves working on mechatronics systems that directly support automotive, aerospace, consumer and industrial goods sectors. Essentially, they leverage their expertise to develop and maintain smart technologies.


Bosch Rexroth SA – leaders in mechatronics

Mechatronics company Tectra Automation has implemented a new mechatronics-engineered test bench that proves the efficiency of Bosch Rexroth electromechanical cylinders over pneumatic cylinders. It also proved the connectivity and control potential of Bosch Rexroth’s open core engineering.

The test bench helped prove that electromechanical cylinders provide more force over a longer service life than its pneumatic counterpart (almost double the lifecycle), and that plant operators can control plant processes remotely from multiple devices. By incorporating various control systems on to the test rig, Tectra Automation proved that adopting open core engineering and software engineering innovations for control, that operators can control all aspects of their plant from remote devices.

Electro mechanical cylinders are proved more efficient with mechatronics.


Mechatronics – other names and definitions

Although hailed as an emerging field, mechatronics has, in fact, been around in one form or another for several decades. The term ‘mechatronics’ itself dates back to 1969 and mechatronics engineers have, in the past, been cloaked in other easily recognisable engineering specialties.

Many of these specialties fall within the broad category of mechatronics and automation, although specific engineering disciplines include:

  • automation engineer
  • control system engineer
  • data logging engineer
  • instumentation engineer
  • project engineer
  • software engineer
  • systems engineer
  • service engineer


With regards to defining the niche scope of work falling in the domain of mechatronics engineers, the term has been defined in different, but similar ways. Some of the accepted definitions include:

  • The incorporation of electronics into mechanisms.
  • The integration of mechanical engineering with electronics and intelligent computer control.
  • The use of a synergistic integration of mechanics, electronics and computer technology to produce enhanced product solutions or systems.
  • The application of complex decision-making to the operation of physical systems.
  • The addition of intelligence to a mechanical design or replacing mechanical designs with an intelligent electronic solution.
  • The synergistic combination of mechanical engineering, electronic engineering, and software engineering.


Mechatronics engineers play a key role in engineering design, R&D, sales, production management and safety and quality. They design, develop, maintain and manage engineering systems that have cutting-edge sophisticated technology.

Our mechatronics solutions

Hose, Fittings & Adaptors

HAW stocks one of the largest ranges of hydraulic hose, hose fittings and adaptors in Africa.


Vacuum Technology

Improve the handling efficiency of your assembly and production lines with the Schmalz range of vacuum technology available through Tectra Automation.


Process Valves

Ensure precise flow control in your industrial applications with OMAL Automation process valves and actuators available through Tectra Automation.



Get comprehensive pneumatic services, from single components to fully custom pneumatic systems, for any industry in Africa from Bosch Rexroth Africa.


Linear Technology

Linear technology systems deliver high-performance, cost-effective solutions in a wide range of manufacturing, production and process environments.



A leading brand in hydraulics technology, Bosch Rexroth hydraulic products enable customers to design and build innovative hydraulic systems.


Filtration Technology

Bosch Rexroth filtration products enhance the performance of your hydraulic equipment by eliminating contamination for smoother operation.


Electric Drives and Controls

Enhance automation applications with faster, more efficient, reliable and economical processing electric drives and controls from Tectra Automation.


Assembly Technology

A range of basic mechanical elements, conveyor and transfer and manual production systems for enhanced product assembly capabilities.

The Bosch Rexroth South Africa Group of Companies brings you the world’s leading hydraulics, pneumatics and automation brands for all your mechatronics requirements.

Careers in mechatronics

Various engineering disciplines can be followed by qualified mechatronics engineers. In addition to following a career as a mechatronics engineer or mechatronics technician, the following engineering specialities can also be considered:

  • Robotics engineer/technician
  • Automation engineer
  • Control system design/troubleshooting engineer
  • Electronics design engineer
  • Mechanical design engineer
  • Data scientist/big data analyst
  • Instrumentation engineer
  • Software engineer


The types of industries in which this technology is used are numerous and include:

  • Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics
  • Telecommunications and Information Services
  • Agriculture, Food and Forestry
  • Biotechnology, Life Science and Medical Equipment Design
  • Renewable Energy
  • Transportation and Logistics
  • Security and Defence


Mechatronics and Robotics

As far as robotics and mechatronics are concerned, there is a perception that mechatronics and robotics are different fields. However, this is incorrect. As mechatronics is the study of interactions between mechanical and electrical systems and control theory, it is actually a superset of robotic technologies and is sometimes called mechatronics robotics. It covers a diverse field of electro-mechanical systems, from simple on/off controls to sophisticated robotics.



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