CNC milling machines are machine tools which are used for the shaping of metal and other solid materials. These machines exist in two basic forms: horizontal and vertical. This refers to the orientation of the cutting tool spindle. Early milling machines were manually or mechanically automated, but technological advances have led to the development of Computer Numerical Control, such as CNC machining centre. CNC refers to a computer (control) that reads and stores instructions. This numerical information generally G and M codes (a programing language) is then used to control and drives a machine tool, a powered mechanical device (machining centre). A machining centre is used to fabricate components using cutting tools for removal of material.
CNC technology includes machining tools such as lathes, multi-axis spindles, wire electrical discharge machines and milling machines, where the functions formerly performed by human operators are now performed by a computer control module. The professionals associated with this skill use CNC machines (3-Axis, 4-5 Axis or Multi-Axis machines) to cut and shape precision products as mentioned above. To form the finished part, the cutting process can be started from a solid block, pre-machined part, casting or forgings. For those scenarios, the skill requires the CNC milling machinist to read and interpret complex technical drawings and specifications and work to a high degree of precision and detail; to be proficient at metal work skills and understand how metals react to various processes; to be a skilled computer operator in order to use industry specific software; to be highly skilled machine operator. A program is required to operate the machine tool, can be generated manually or using Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacture (CAD/CAM) software.
The electronics industry is very diverse and has evolved into several specialisms. Some technicians/engineers will work across many aspects of electronics, but increasing specialization and technical developments means that specialist technician/engineers are widely employed.
The key areas of specialism which can be seen as careers in their own right include the assembly and wiring of electronic products; the designing of prototype circuits to specifications; the installation and commissioning of equipment including the provision of customer support; service and maintenance which include a service both in situ and remotely; and monitoring and testing to specifications sub-assemblies or systems and approving fit-for-purpose and simulating outcomes on computers.
The electronics specialist will work with a wide range of tools, specialist hi-tech equipment and materials. Increasingly, computers and specialist software for communications technology is embedded into the work. In addition, tasks will also require the use of specialist hand tools for the assembly and maintenance of circuits and surface mounted technology.
The skill of Industrial Control covers elements from electrical installation and automation installation. However, the requirements are now leaning more and more towards automation installation. There are a wide range of technical skills required from the practitioner, including installation of conduits, cables, instruments, devices and control centres. The practitioner will also need to design circuits and program Programmable Logic Controllers, parameterize bus systems and configure Human Machine Interfaces.
A key skill of the practitioner is troubleshooting, identifying problems during installation or remedying problems with an established plant. The practitioner will work in a large range of industrial settings; he or she may have specialist knowledge about one particular industry or may work more generally. Also, the practitioner may be employed within one plant, installing and maintaining production equipment, or may work for a sub-contractor who will span a number of industrial settings.
They will also need to provide expert advice and guidance on both technical production issues and innovative and cost effective solutions to production problems and requirements.
Mechanical Engineering Design – CAD
Computer aided design is the use of computer systems to assist in the creation, modification, analysis or optimization of an engineering design.
CAD software is used to increase the productivity of the designer, improve the quality of design, improve communication through documentation and create a database for manufacturing. CAD output is often in the form of electronic files for print, manufacturing or other manufacturing processes. The technical and engineering drawings and images must convey information such as materials, processes, dimensions and tolerances according to application-specific conventions.
CAD may be used to design curves and figures in two-dimensional (2D) space or curves, surfaces and solids in three-dimensional (3D) space. CAD is also used to produce computer animation for the special effects used in, for example, advertising and technical manuals. CAD is an important industrial art and is the way projects come true. It is extensively used in many applications, including automotive, ship building and aerospace industries, and in industrial design.
The CAD process and outputs are essential to successful solutions for engineering and manufacturing problems. CAD software helps us explore ideas, visualize concepts through photorealistic renderings and movies and simulates how the design project will perform in the real world.
Mechatronics technicians build automated systems for industry. Mechatronics involves mechanics, electronics, and pneumatics and computer technology. The computer technology element covers information technology applications, programmable machine control systems, and technology which enable communication between machines, equipment and people.
Mechatronics combines skills in mechanics, pneumatics, electronically controlled systems, programming, and robotics and systems development. Mechatronics technicians design, build, maintain and repair automated equipment, and also program equipment control systems.
Outstanding mechatronics technicians are able to meet a variety of needs within industry. They carry out mechanical maintenance and equipment building. They also deal with equipment for information gathering, components (sensors) and regulating units. Mechatronics technicians install, set-up, repair and adjust machine components and manage equipment control systems, including their programming.
Mobile Robotics is a fast evolving, solutions orientated, industry within which the robotics engineer is a significant and growing work role. Mobile robotics is an important part of the industry, with applications in diverse industries, including manufacturing, agriculture, aerospace, mining, and medicine.
A robotics engineer works in offices, manufacturing plants or laboratories; he or she designs, maintains, develops new applications and conducts research to expand the potential for robots. The role begins with a strong focus on a specific business problem, in a particular sector. For example in manufacturing there may be a need to increase capacity by creating robots for tasks that can be automated.
Mobile robots may also be designed to explore areas that are inaccessible or dangerous for human beings.. At the heart of every robot is a robotics engineer who thinks about what a robot needs to do and works with several engineering disciplines to design and put together the optimal piece of equipment, demonstrating a commitment to attention to detail. In this instance the robotics engineer uses existing technologies to create solutions to new challenges. He or she is not creating new (robot) technology.
Robotics engineers must be familiar with logic, microprocessors, and computer programming so that they can design the right robot for each application. They must also prepare specifications for the robot’s capabilities as they relate to the work environment.
A welder prepares and joins a range of metals of various gauges using electrical and electrical/gas shielded processes. A welder needs to be able to interpret engineering working drawings, standards and symbols correctly translate these requirements into accurate structures and products.
Welders join sections, pipe and plate and fabricate large and small pressure vessels. A welder prepares, assembles and joins a wide range of metals and metal alloys using various welding processes. They use grinding and cutting equipment to prepare and finish welded joints. Modern methods of joining, as well as those noted above, include mechanized processes such as submerged arc, plasma arc, stud welding and laser welding.
The modern welder may specialize in one or a number of welding processes and environments. He or she may also be asked to work in exotic alloys such as duplex stainless steels and cupronickels. The quality of the welding will vary according to cost and function, with the most skilled welders depended upon to carry out the finest work where faults and failure may have the most serious consequences in terms of cost, safety and environmental damage.