Robotics and Automation Technology is a growing profession which combines components of engineering (mechanical & electrical), computer science and programming. There is an emphasis on problem solving in the design, debugging, and troubleshooting of systems. Students learn Computer Aided Design Drawing (CAD) as well as rapid prototyping through 3-D printing. The program includes hands-on and theoretical curriculum that covers analog and digital control electronics. Also included are Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and their use in automation and manufacturing.
This curriculum incorporates elements and principles of mathematics, physics and chemistry as they apply to the design and operation of electromechanical systems. Robotic systems are utilized for many applications in manufacturing and assembly, defense, space and underwater exploration, and the constantly changing service applications. Students will have the opportunity to compete in numerous SkillsUSA District, State and National competitions while progressing through this program.
Career opportunities in Robotics and Automation continue to play an increasing role in manufacturing and the manufacturing industry trained professionals who can improve processes, design and develop new machines and products, and manage repairs and operations.
Students completing this program will have a strong background preparing them to go on to college for an engineering degree or move on to a career as a technician.
Upon graduation, students are employable as:
- Robotics Technician
- Field Service Technician
- Plant Maintenance Technician
- Electronics Assembly Technician
Technical and Higher Education Majors
- Robotics Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
- Electronics Engineering
- Manufacturing Engineering
- Computer Science
Common Work Activities and Tasks
- Troubleshoot industrial automation or robotic systems using knowledge of industrial circuits, microprocessors, programmable controllers, electronics, and fluid power consisting of hydraulic and pneumatic controls.
- Disassemble and reassemble robots or peripheral equipment to make repairs such as replacement of defective circuit boards, sensors, controllers, encoders, and servomotors.
- Perform preventive or corrective maintenance on automated or robotic systems.
- Maintain service records of robotic equipment or automated production systems
- Install, program, troubleshoot and startup new industrial automated equipment or robotic systems.
Robotics and Automation Technicians assist manufacturing, mechanical, and electronics engineers in all phases of robotic and automation design, development, production, testing, and operations. Robot or industrial automation maintenance technicians are employed either by the manufacturers and distributors of robots or the OEM manufacturer of the automated system as well as the end-users of these products. These technicians are often responsible for the initial installation of the robot or automated system. They may then establish an in-house maintenance and repair program. If employed by the robot manufacturer or distributor, maintenance technicians usually respond to service calls. These members of the service team work closely with engineers and other technical workers. Robotics Engineers: generally need at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering to enter this field. Because robotics technology draws on the expertise of many different engineering disciplines, engineers who specialize in robotics often have degrees in mechanical, manufacturing, electrical, electronic, or industrial engineering. Some colleges and universities now offer robotics engineering degrees. Robotics courses typically include training in hydraulics and pneumatics, CADD/CAM systems, numerically controlled systems, microprocessors, integrated systems, and logic. It usually takes four to five years to earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Robotics engineers must continually upgrade their technical knowledge to keep abreast of new developments in this rapidly changing field.
Connections to Work and Higher Education
Industry Affiliations: SMC USA, Siemens, Fanuc, Yaskawa
Industry Certifications Available in High School
- OSHA 10 Hour General Industry
Grade 9 Exploratory #RAX
Freshmen students are introduced to the Robotics and Automation field and its many career opportunities. Basic electrical concepts and circuits are introduced and demonstrated in the shop. Through the hands-on construction of simple electronic projects, microcontrollers and educational robots, students learn proper hand tool use. Students also perform activities and exercises exposing them to computer programming and robotic fundamentals.
Grade 9 Shop #RAX-16
Freshmen students continue with basic electrical concepts and circuits after the shop has been chosen. Students continue to perform activities and exercises using computer and robotic fundamentals. OSHA safety certification is performed and safe operating practices in the shop are discussed in detail.
Grade 10 Related #RA2R
Sophomore students cover AC/DC electronic circuits and components, including the use of Ohm’s Law, Watt’s Law, and Kirchhoff’s Laws and network theorems in the study of series, parallel, series/parallel and voltage divider circuits. The study continues through the more advanced topics of AC/DC electronics, including the use of such components as capacitors, resistors, transistors, diodes, inductors and LED’s. Students are also introduced to integrated circuits such as the 555 timer and 4017 decade counter. Students will be introduced to mechanical concepts and fluid power.
Grade 10 Shop #RA2
Sophomore students are introduced to industrial DC circuits and components while learning the proper industrial wiring and layout techniques. Use of proper hand tooling and electronic test equipment is taught for troubleshooting skills. Combining their knowledge of discrete electronic components, and integrated circuits, projects are wired and completed using breadboarding techniques. Students learn to program a PLC (programmable logic controller) and apply the program to real world simulation exercises. Students will also build projects using proper fabrication and soldering techniques.
Grade 11 Related #RA3R
Junior students move from the introduction to basic semiconductor devices and digital concepts to more advanced circuits. The students spend time on semiconductor devices and circuits, including the study of diodes, LEDs, bipolar junction transistor BJTs, field effect transistor FETs, operational amplifiers and rectifiers. Students discover how these devices are used in power supplies, voltage regulators, small and large signal amplifiers, oscillators and control circuits. Another focus is digital devices and circuits, ranging from binary and hexadecimal numbering systems and basic gates to more advanced devices and circuits such as flip-flops, shift registers, and binary counters. Truth tables, timing diagrams, Boolean algebra and Karnaugh Maps will be used in analyzing of digital circuits. Students are also introduced to Microprocessors, microcontrollers, and programmable logic devices. Students will learn fluid power such as pneumatics and hydraulics.
Grade 11 Shop #RA3
Junior students build upon their knowledge of both semiconductor and digital components and circuits. Projects are chosen to enable student proficiency in the construction and troubleshooting of digital and analog circuits. Students will design, layout, and fabricate their own printed circuit boards. Students will also work in the robotics and mechatronics areas through the use of actual factory trainers by constructing real-world scenarios using PLC programming combined with electric pneumatic and hydraulic power.
Grade 12 Related #RA4R
Senior students continue the study of the semiconductors and digital electronics started in Junior year. Advanced semiconductor topics in the areas of amplifiers, oscillators, and switching and control circuits are studied. Students get more involved with microcontrollers, programmable logic devices and advanced topics in industrial automation. Students will continue with the study of mechanical concepts. Students prepare for careers by learning employability skills, automation career, and portfolio/resume preparation.
Grade 12 Shop #RA4
Senior students become more proficient in projects covering advanced semiconductors and digital electronics. Advanced manufacturing scenarios using PLCs, mechatronics trainers, and industrial robots. The knowledge gained throughout previous courses will be used to complete projects to industry standards. Students who are eligible for co-op spend their shop weeks gaining valuable on-the-job training at various manufacturing firms.