An increasingly perceived challenge is the new paradigm of engineering related to: the spectacular evolution of information and communication technologies; the major impact on the economy and evolution of the society, on the human resources education and training process; the evolution of manufacturing systems to intelligent systems, intelligent processes and products, Intelligent Cyber-Enterprise, the Internet of Things, “Cyber-physical” integrated systems – the determinants of the new industrial revolution; the emergence of areas of science and technology such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, science of materials and photonics, Big Data Analytics; the explosion of new areas: nanotechnologies, biotechnologies and cyber-infrastructures; very rapid technological and societal transformations; Science and Technology – key factors of economic growth and development.
The global education system is in the process of rethinking and restructuring in order to attempt to respond to the challenges of globalization, knowledge-based society and competitiveness. The new knowledge-based society implies professional training, improvement of all society members, and direct involvement in the creation of innovative goods and products for the development and self-regulation of innovation-based and creative economy. The university of the new millennium will certainly be an innovative institution with strong creative valences, dynamically anchored in the evolution of society and economy.
In this context, the formation of engineers with a wide range of skills and knowledge is becoming increasingly imperative. This is caused by: unprecedented accumulation of knowledge, the emergence of new fields of science and technology over the last 30 years, the increase of the infrastructures complexity and the need for efficient exploitation, the creation of a safer and ‘smarter’ planet, business and society globalization that determines the treatment of the profession of engineer as a global profession, the ability to adapt to other cultures and other circumstances; the initiation of a new world order, where communication systems have allowed the development of new business models that require the restructuring of the labor force, the provision of new skills and abilities.
Engineering is a profoundly creative process and requires design with restrictions. Engineers communicate through an international language of mathematics, science and technology. They design components, devices, subsystems and systems to facilitate our existence and increase the quality of life in an environment subject to technical, economic, social, political and ethical constraints. The change is constant, but on an absolute basis, the world has changed over the last 100 years more than in its entirety.
Changes in the engineering profession and engineering education followed the changes in technology and society. The curriculum should be designed to meet societal challenges and prepare the workforce, which in turn is needed to integrate new developments into the economy. Society is constantly changing and engineers need to adapt so they remain relevant.
The profession of engineering involves continuous effort, knowledge accumulation, analytical and synthesis capability, creative and innovative skills, ability to solve problems, implement solutions, organizational and leadership capacities of collective processes and institutions. Robust basic training with consistent practical skills are requirements for the future engineer. The essential elements for preparing the future engineer are mathematics, science (physics, chemistry, biology), technology and engineering. “Conceive, design, implement, operate” are the essential elements of engineering activity that relate to the natural connection between ENGINEERING, SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY.
In the situation of globalization, evolution that generates radical changes through the design, production and distribution of products and services by national and transnational economies, engineering activities are at the heart of these changes (geographic and / or virtual mobility, multidisciplinary / multinational teams, additional requirements for engineer education). The re-engineering of the entire technical education system with a focus on skills and abilities, is greatly required, assuring the solution of current and prospective problems; cultivating the visionary capability of future engineers called to solve complex problems; changing the mentality of specialty training with increasing openness towards expanding the horizon through interdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity.
Mechatronics attracts more and more attention. The term is increasingly used in a wider range of engineering products and applications. The term mechatronics refers to the synergistic blend of precision engineering, electronic control and integrative thinking in the design process of products and manufacturing processes. It is an interdisciplinary topic based on basic engineering disciplines but at the same time includes disciplines not directly associated with basic disciplines.
The basic concept in this definition is the idea of approaching the system as a whole. This involves designing and optimizing the system as a whole and not as an incremental sequence of steps. However, not every product achieved through the above mentioned concept is the subject of a mechatronic product.
Team design are essential for mechatronic products. Mechanical, electrical, control and computer science specialists have to work together in a team in all phases of design to converge to an integrated solution.
Everything we call today a high-tech product is itself a mechatronic product. The modern car, numerically controlled machines, peripheral computer equipment, telecommunication technology, research equipment, robots, biomedical appliances, household appliances, etc. are just a few examples of mechatronic products. Practically, mechatronics is present in all fields of activity, including agriculture and construction.
Mechatronics education provides flexibility in action and thinking, defining features of a market economy specialist. The creative valences of mechatronics have been confirmed both in education, research and production. The economic outcomes of developed countries are undeniable.