Exploring this Job
There are many ways to learn more about robotics and education and careers in the field. First, check out these books and Web sites to learn more about robots, their history, and how to build them:
- Homemade Robots: 10 Simple Bots to Build with Stuff Around the House, by Randy Sarafan
- Robot Builder’s Bonanza, by Gordon McComb
- Robots-Your Guide to the World of Robotics: https://robots.ieee.org
- Robot History: https://ifr.org/robot-history
Participate in robotics competitions to test your skills and meet people with shared interests. SkillsUSA is a national membership organization for middle school, high school, and college students who are interested in pursuing careers in technical, trade, and skilled service occupations. It offers a variety of competitions that will be of interest to aspiring robotics professionals, including Automated Manufacturing Technology; Electronics Technology; Engineering Technology/Design; Mechatronics; and Robotics and Automation Technology. Visit http://www.skillsusa.org to learn more. Here are more competitions to check out:
- BEST Robotics Competitions: http://www.bestinc.org
- FIRST Robotics Competition: http://www.firstinspires.org
- National Robotics Challenge: https://www.thenrc.org
- VEX Robotics Competitions: https://www.vexrobotics.com/v5/competition
- World Robot Olympiad: https://wro-association.org
Another good way to learn more about robotics is to participate in summer exploration programs, which are offered by colleges and universities, high schools, professional associations, robotics companies, and other organizations. Residential or commuter options are available. Some programs are free, while others charge a fee (although scholarships are sometimes available). Here are two providers to check out: Drobots Company (http://drobotscompany.com) and iDTech (http://www.idtech.com). Visit https://www.teenlife.com/category/summer/robotics-summer-programs for a list of programs at colleges and universities.
Robotics integrators are experts regarding automation and robotics. When a company wants to automate its manufacturing or other processes, it hires a robotics integrator to assist them. First, the integrator discusses the company’s needs with executives and inspects its current manufacturing, materials handling, shipping, or inspection lines. Robotic integration is useful for numerous applications, including assembly, coating, dispensing, gluing, material handling and removal, packaging, painting, palletizing, and welding. Then the integrator performs a feasibility study to determine the costs, required labor and time requirements, and the types of robots or other automation processes that are needed—such as industrial robot arms, collaborative robot applications (which are known as cobots), autonomous mobile robots, or machine vision systems (those that use camera systems or other sensing technologies such as LIDAR to assist in automation systems). Integrators might also identify other processes or systems that are good candidates for automation. Integrators create computer-aided designs and/or utilize augmented/virtual reality to create a plan for the new system and help their clients visualize its functioning.
Once the work plan is approved. The integrator designs a system of various robots and obtains the components from a robotics manufacturer/supplier. With the help of technicians, engineers, electricians, and other workers, they assemble the robotics system and integrate it with existing mechanical, electrical, and other systems. They test and troubleshoot the system until it works properly.
Robotics integrators train workers regarding programming and otherwise operating the system, and they may write technical guides to assist their clients.