Automation engineering courses are most commonly available through associate's and bachelor's degree programs in industrial automation engineering technology, automation robotics engineering technology or mechatronics engineering technology. Through didactic courses and hands-on lab sessions, students learn how to use programmable logic controllers and other robotics control devices in an industrial or manufacturing environment. Both associate's and bachelor's programs also include general education coursework. Graduates of these programs may be prepared for work as automation technicians, engineering technologists or process control technicians, among other options.
Some common areas of study include:
- Automation and controllers
- System calibration
- Automated components
List of Courses
Pneumatics and Hydraulics
Students learn terms, history, functions and principles of fluid power components in this automation engineering course. Control tactics, hydraulic interpretation, component symbols, pneumatic drawings and pneumatic circuit design are also examined. Students explore actuators and fluid transmission devices as well as the causes and consequences of fluid contamination. This is a beginner-level course in automation engineering programs.
This course offers an in-depth study of the principles of integrating robots in factories, emphasizing computer numerical control (CNC), computer aided design (CAD), programmable logic controllers (PLC) and computer integrated manufacturing (CIM). Students also learn about components of a robotic structure, industrial robot programming, system drivers and sensors. Students enrolled in automated manufacturing courses for automation engineering must have taken algebra and trigonometry.
Programmable Logic Controllers
Students explore the programming and implementation of programmable logic controllers, which act as the computerized 'brain' of automated industrial equipment such as assembly line robotic arms. Topics include the theories and application of hardware selection, motion control, configuration, math blocks and troubleshooting. Students run industry-related simulations for PLC hardware and networking, and learn sensor positioning, automatic identification, related mechanisms, external device and operating cycle. PLC courses for automation engineering are often taken after automated manufacturing courses.
Process Control Devices
This course introduces students to the circuits used for automatic process controls of industrial systems, and focuses on electronic control device theories, circuit productivity regulation, device communication and protection devices. Labs help strengthen and reinforce principles. Other areas of instruction include system calibration, heat transfer, electric power systems, transformer characteristics and digital techniques. Students must have taken an introductory electronics course before taking this course.