Moving on and Moving Up

Tuesday, 1st August 2017

Dwayne Burke - MSc in Mechatronics  

I just started the Masters in Mechatronics course. I’m a manufacturing engineer working in the Johnson and Johnson Vision Care plant for about 15 years. I moved into the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Department and am working in the Automation Centre of Excellence (ACoE) facility for Johnson & Johnson based in UL.

I was drawn to this programme because it focuses on the industry 4.0 concept, which is the next generation of industry which ties in with what we do in ACoE. Most of the course material is driven and delivered by the ACoE department and it was a no-brainer for me to pursue this programme. I finished my bachelor’s degree in LIT in 2007.

The industry has moved on and I am conscious of the fact that I need to upskill. This programme is based around the smart factory, which is going to become more prevalent in the future. To be in the game these days it’s beneficial to be at a level 9 education standard. If I want to move on or move up I need to have these skills and education behind me.

Mechatronics is a cross between mechanics and electronics. This programme focuses on industry-based automation, how to build PLC code, how to structure the code to build systems, and how to mechanically design and integrate the design into a system; the programme is applicable to both software and mechanical engineers.

One of the modules is to build a machine that will solve a Rubik’s cube. We are tasked with designing and building the system from a mechanical, electrical, and software perspective.

I’m doing this part-time because I am working as a core team member on a critical business project in ACoE. It allows me continue to work on this project and then in the final two years of this programme I hope to bring in a new project based around the industry 4.0 concept that I can amalgamate into my studies.

It is nice being back at school, the programme divides us into groups to make us work as a team and that is very important in industry. Building up that team bond at this stage is good for any new student’s mind-set and gives them an idea of how collaboration in the working environment is an essential tool and skill.