MECHATRONICS – OBJECTIVES AND MAIN CHALLENGES OF THE STUDY PROGRAMME AND HOW ARE THEY ADDRESSED AT "LUCIAN BLAGA" UNIVERSITY OF SIBIU

R.E. Breaz, O.C. Bologa, S.G. Racz, A.L. Chicea

"Lucian Blaga" University of Sibiu (ROMANIA)
The demand for specialists with a technical higher education background, with knowledge and competences in the mechanical domain, in the electrical domain, in the domains of control, automations, robotics and computer science, has significantly increased in the last years due to the recent industrial development of the city of Sibiu corroborated with the development of Romania. Thus, it was considered necessary to found a new interdisciplinary study programme at the Faculty of Engineering of the “Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu. Finally, in 2008, after a careful analysis of the human and material resources available, it was decided to start the “Mechatronics” study programme.

Another reason for the founding of the “Mechatronics” study programme was offered by the continuous development of the systemic and integrated approach of engineering sciences at international level, which mandates the alignment of the educational system to this approach.
Another motivation was the need to provide to the high school graduates the possibility to continue their studies in this domain. At the level of the high school education system, the study programme “Mechatronics” was already introduced a few years ago, so that introducing this study programme also in the higher education system was logical and necessary.

As technology advances, electronics and computer science play a more and more important role in mechanical systems, so that the mechanical engineering education must be completed with an increasing number of courses from the above-mentioned domains. Thus, the development of mechanical engineering in an interdisciplinary direction renders the introduction of “Mechatronics” as study domain as absolutely necessary.

The main objectives of introducing the study programme “Mechatronics” at the Faculty of Engineering of the “Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu can be synthesized as follows:
• developing a study programme in integrated engineering, in order to offer the graduates the knowledge and competences required by the industrial companies;
• providing advanced analytical and experimental knowledge, abilities for calculating, modelling and simulating in the domain of mechanics, electronics, automated control, automations and robotics and of computer science;
• providing knowledge and abilities for analysing, designing, programming, realizing and maintaining integrated technical systems.
The main challenges that can affect the development of the proposed study programme are:
• the still relatively small number of industrial companies that use the techniques and methods of mechatronics;
• the advanced technologies used by these companies are to a large extent imported from the countries where the mother companies are based, thus making obvious a lack of centres for technological design, support and transfer;
• inherent organizational difficulties related to the founding of a new study programme.
The paper will present how these challenges were addressed by the Faculty of Engineering of the “Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu.