Robotic Career Paths Today – Integrator
Industry 4.0 is what we’re calling the current industrial revolution that’s sweeping through manufacturing processes around the world. Characterized by automation and the use of advanced robotics to increase productivity and efficiency, Industry 4.0 has opened up a lot of job opportunities for people who are interested in working with those robots.
In previous posts, we’ve talked about some of the career paths in robotics and how they’re more accessible than a lot of people might think.
Robotics technicians, the people who work with and maintain the various individual robots, are the foundation of robotics in manufacturing. They’re the subject matter experts on operation and troubleshooting for their assigned robotics components.
Robotics specialists are the people who work with the whole system on the floor. They’re in charge of understanding the system interactions and suggesting upgrades and additions to improve the process.
That leads us to the third robotics career path – The robotics integrator.
What does a Robotics Integrator do?
The integrator is the person who designs a system of robots to meet the needs of a manufacturer. In the Robotic Career Pathway, this position lies at the top of the list. Integrators possess great amounts of both knowledge and experience working with robotics and automation in manufacturing environments.
Let’s say you’re a manufacturer, and you’ve been investigating the possibilities of how an advanced robotics system could enhance your process. However, you’re not a subject matter expert when it comes to robotics, so you want to hire somebody who can consult with you on how to go about upgrading your production system.
The robotics integrator comes in and inspects the current setup on your floor and designs a system of various robots suited to your particular needs and manufacturing challenges. Then the two of you go to the robotics manufacturer/supplier and obtain the components based on the integrator’s design.
Currently, integrators are hired by manufacturers to help them bring automation and robotics to their production floors. Watch for this position to start existing within manufacturing companies as more robotics and automation are introduced in manufacturing.
What Skills Does a Robotics Integrator Need?
Because the integrator is working with a variety of robots and other automation systems to design a robotics system, they need to have a working understanding of how those robots operate in order to efficiently incorporate them into a system design. That takes a lot of mechanical knowledge and experience around mechanical systems, and even then an integrator will typically have an area of expertise that makes them more suitable for certain types of system designs.
Data analysis is a big part of every step of the system design process, from testing to installation, because the integrator will be tasked with first understanding the initial process metrics and then improving those metrics to produce better numbers in a statistically more efficient manner.
Testing and planning is often done through augmented reality/virtual reality simulations and is a major component of the process, so the integrator should be familiar with using those technologies. Offline programming is a must, and they should also be proficient in systems simulation and modeling.
What Kind of Education Does a Robotics Integrator Need?
The integrator’s educational level will include post-secondary education as the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to fill this role are found at the college level. While there is no hard and fast rule that an integrator needs a college degree, pursuing one in robotics or engineering is definitely recommended. Certifications in robotics, engineering, or system design are also highly recommended and often available upon course completion for those who take college courses without obtaining a degree.
You can find a more complete explanation of the skills needed for your chosen path to a career in advanced robotics for manufacturing here.