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What and where did you study?
I did my B.Eng. in Mechatronics from University of Manchester, UK . Mechatronic engineering offers the synergistic combination of mechanics, electrical and electronics which, when combined, make it possible to bring to life the devices, contraptions and robotics that have taken shape in my imagination.
How was the university experience?
During my course at the university I had the opportunity to live by myself and study in a country that is very different from my home country. I have had the opportunity to interact and share my opinions with my colleagues from different nationalities and having variety of interests, cultural and educational backgrounds.
I adapted to multicultural student life at Manchester with ease. The Manchester city offered many educational opportunities to admire such as the Manchester Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) and the Central library, places to eat such as the Curry mile – which is known for the largest concentration of south Asian restaurants outside India. As a student it’s a great place to be.
The experiences I have gained during the course at The University of Manchester I shall value throughout my life.
I learnt about advanced technologies and fascinating mechatronic systems. Now I enjoy very much working with in this field and handling a range of systems from production machines, robotics, and unmanned vehicles.
My allocated University accommodation during my first year in Manchester was about 3 km from the city centre, university lecture halls and libraries. To attend lectures and shopping involved considerable travelling – to resolve this problem my friend gifted me a bicycle which I now use almost every day.
Can you tell us about your industrial internship?
Following the second year in Mechatronic Engineering at the University I had the privilege of undergoing one year of industrial experience at Kelani Cables PLC which is the leading cable manufacturing company in Sri Lanka.
My main responsibilities at this cable manufacturing company were to assist in the medium to low voltage machine electrical panel constructions and repairs. I was also given many individual projects which can be categorized into projects to improve efficiency, control, Reliability and safety of machinery. Some of the key projects were modernising a goods lift with the use of programmable logic controlled (PLC) panel to improve safety of the system.I constructed a temperature sensitive power panel to improve the power efficiency of a cooling tower.
During the placement, specific technical challenges were assigned in the form of projects that required the improvement of efficiency, reliability, safety or machine control of production machines. These projects were done under the guidance of experienced engineers and skilled technicians who had given me invaluable hands on experience. I used the knowledge gained during my study at Manchester to understand the underlying working concepts of complex devices and machinery.
I successfully completed many projects, including a Temperature Warning Panel for a Lubricant Cooling Tower, Programmable Logic Controlled Goods Lift, Harvesting Solar Energy, Designing and Building main distributions panels, Planning and Documenting an Energy Management System and Designing an UPS distribution panel.
In most projects I have made use of various types of sensors to obtain status information about machinery and systems that were used. The input was fed into electrical logic consisting of relays and contactors or a programmed logic controller. The electrical protective system consisted of standard types of circuit breakers, surge protectors, and main circuit breakers with current transformers. The outputs of the control mechanism were fed to variable speed or frequency drives to be manipulated in many ways to control the actuators cascaded on to a larger machine.
What skills are required for mechatronics?
A thorough basic knowledge of mathematics, physics and computer skills, with an aptitude to technical hands on engineering, is essential. Motivation with good endurance to stand against all odds and failures is an important factor that will contribute to your student performance. Working towards pre-focused goals will help you to overcome challenges that you may face during this course.