10 Automation and Robotics Interview Questions and Answers for production engineers

flat art illustration of a production engineer

1. What inspired you to specialize in automation and robotics?

My interest in automation and robotics began during my undergraduate studies in Mechanical Engineering. I was fascinated by how machines could perform complex tasks with precision and speed. As part of my final year project, I designed a robotic arm that could mimic human movements and perform tasks like picking and placing objects.

After graduation, I worked with a leading automobile manufacturer where I was responsible for developing automated production lines. The use of automation not only saved significant costs but also improved productivity and quality. For example, by automating the assembly line, we were able to reduce production time by 40% and increase quality control standards by detecting errors in real-time.

Additionally, I became aware of the huge potential for using robotics in healthcare. In collaboration with a team of doctors, I developed a robotic system that could perform minimally invasive surgery with greater precision and speed, resulting in shorter hospital stays and faster recovery times for patients.

These experiences have inspired me to specialize in automation and robotics. I believe that the use of automation and robotics is the future of many industries, it has the potential to transform the way we live and work. I am excited to continue exploring the possibilities of robotics and automation and working on projects that make a positive impact on people's lives.

2. What are the biggest challenges you face when designing automated systems?

When designing automated systems, there are a few key challenges that I frequently encounter:

  1. Integrating with existing systems: Many businesses have established processes and systems already in place, and it can be a challenge to design an automated system that seamlessly integrates with those systems. In my experience, taking the time to thoroughly understand the existing systems and processes is crucial to designing a successful automation system that doesn't disrupt the flow of work.
  2. Ensuring accuracy: With any automation system, accuracy is paramount. In some cases, there's little margin for error. Through my work, I've learned that designing a system with built-in redundancies and safety checks helps catch errors before they become costly mistakes. I've also implemented machine learning algorithms to improve accuracy over time.
  3. Managing the cost: Implementing an automation system can be expensive, and it's important to strike a balance between the cost and the anticipated return on investment. In my previous project at XYZ company, we built a robotic system that increased the efficiency of the manufacturing process by 40%, reducing the company's labor expense and additional expenses.
  4. Training and documentation: Once an automation system is in place, ongoing maintenance, training and documentation are crucial to keeping the system running smoothly. It is also necessary to provide adequate training to employees that will interact with the system. Creating detailed documentation and a roadmap to plan for and guide any changes is also important. At ABC company, I designed an automation system for order processing, and I created a training course for employees and documented the processes for future updates and maintenance.

By anticipating these challenges and addressing them early in the design process, I've been able to create automation systems that are cost-effective, accurate, and easy to maintain. Additionally, the successful implementation of these automation systems have resulted in business growth and expansion. I hope to use this experience to contribute to the success of my future employer's automated systems.

3. What experience do you have implementing robotic systems for production?

Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to implement robotic systems for production in several organizations. For instance, at ABC Manufacturing, I led a team that integrated robotic arms into the assembly line in order to automate the welding process. This resulted in a 45% increase in productivity and a 30% decrease in defects, as the robots were able to perform the task with precision and consistency.

Additionally, at XYZ Logistics, I implemented autonomous vehicles to transport goods within the warehouse. This reduced the time required for transportation by 50% and eliminated the risk of human error or accidents that could lead to delays or damage to the products.

  1. Implemented welding robots at ABC Manufacturing, leading to a 45% increase in productivity and a 30% decrease in defects
  2. Implemented autonomous vehicles at XYZ Logistics, reducing transportation time by 50% and eliminating the risk of human error or accidents.

4. How do you keep your knowledge of automation and robotics up to date?

As a passionate automation and robotics enthusiast, I am always eager to learn more about the latest technologies and advancements in the field. To keep my knowledge up-to-date, I follow various industry blogs and subscribe to relevant newsletters that provide information on trending technologies and new product releases.

I regularly attend conferences and networking events where industry experts share their experiences and insights. For instance, I recently attended the International Automation and Robotics Conference, where I participated in talks centered on the latest industrial automation techniques, such as mobile robots, collaborative robots (cobots), and machine learning algorithms.

Additionally, I am an active participant in various online forums and virtual communities. I engage with other automation and robotics enthusiasts, sharing my knowledge on existing technologies while also gaining insights on new and emerging trends.

Finally, I continually enhance my skills by undertaking training courses and seeking certification in niche areas of automation and robotics. For instance, I recently completed a course on ROS (Robot Operating System), which encompassed everything from the fundamentals of ROS and the core concepts, to advanced topics like distributed systems, sensors, and perception modules.

Through these efforts, I have been able to implement a number of projects that have achieved significant positive results. For instance, I recently developed a robotic arm that was able to reduce the production costs of our factory by 40% due to its efficiency in carrying out repetitive tasks.

5. How do you determine the ROI and justification for implementing automation?

One way to determine the return on investment (ROI) and justification for implementing automation is to conduct a cost-benefit analysis. This involves comparing the cost of implementing the automation solution with the potential benefits or savings it can generate.

  1. First, we would analyze the current process and gather data on the cost of labor, material, and any other expenses associated with the process.

  2. Next, we would estimate the cost of implementing the automation solution, including any hardware, software, and training expenses.

  3. We would then calculate the estimated savings or benefits that the automation solution could provide. For instance, by automating a manual process, we may be able to reduce the time it takes to complete the task, decrease errors, or increase throughput.

  4. Based on these calculations, we can determine the ROI of the automation solution. For example, if the costs of implementing the solution are recouped within one year and the benefits continue for several years, the ROI would be considered high.

In addition to determining ROI, we would also consider the intangible benefits of automation. For example, by automating certain tasks, we may be able to free up employees to focus on higher-value tasks that require human expertise.

Overall, when it comes to justifying automation, the key is to analyze the data and make informed decisions based on the potential benefits and costs. By doing so, we can ensure that the investment in automation will generate a positive return and drive long-term business success.

6. What is your experience with PLC programming?

During my time as a Controls Engineer at XYZ Manufacturing, I spent a significant amount of time working with PLC programming. In fact, I was responsible for programming and troubleshooting PLCs for several production lines, resulting in a 20% increase in overall production efficiency.

  1. To achieve this increase in efficiency, I first analyzed the existing PLC programs and identified areas that could be improved.
  2. Then, I designed and implemented new programs that optimized the production process and minimized downtime.
  3. I also trained production staff on how to operate and maintain the PLCs, resulting in a significant decrease in machine downtime due to operator errors.
  4. Furthermore, I integrated the PLCs with other automation technologies, such as robotic arms and conveyors, resulting in a seamless production process with minimal human intervention.
  5. Overall, my experience with PLC programming has allowed me to significantly improve production efficiency and reduce downtime at previous companies. I am confident that I can bring this experience to your company and make a positive impact on your automation and robotics operations.

7. What is your experience with robotic programming?

During my time at XYZ Robotics, I was responsible for programming a fleet of robots to operate in a warehouse environment. As a result of my work, we were able to reduce picking time by 50%, resulting in a cost savings of over $500,000 per year for the company.

  1. Developed and implemented a custom algorithm for route optimization, resulting in a 30% reduction in travel time for the robots.
  2. Programmed the robots to operate in a dynamic environment, allowing them to handle unexpected obstacles and changes in the layout of the warehouse.
  3. Created a user-friendly interface for the operators to interact with the robots, minimizing the need for specialized training and reducing downtime.

Overall, my experience with robotic programming has not only saved the company money but also streamlined operations and improved efficiency.

8. What is the most complex robotic system you have worked on?

During my time working at XYZ Robotics, I was tasked with programming and testing the company's most complex robotic system to date. The system was designed to automate the production line of a large manufacturing company that produced airplane parts.

  1. First, I studied the production line process and identified the key areas that required automation.
  2. From there, I developed a custom software program using C++ to control the robotic arm's movements and perform precise tasks.
  3. After programming the robotic arm, I ran numerous tests to ensure that it was functioning properly and accurately.
  4. One of the most challenging aspects of this project was designing a vision system that could detect objects on the conveyor belt and adjust the robotic arm's movements accordingly. I worked with a team of engineers to develop a sophisticated computer vision algorithm that allowed the system to identify objects with incredible accuracy.
  5. The system was finally installed and tested on the production line, where it increased productivity by 50% and reduced errors to less than 1%. This was a major win for both our company and the manufacturing company we were working with.

Overall, working on this complex robotic system provided me with invaluable experience in developing custom software, designing intricate control algorithms, and working alongside a team of engineers to achieve a common goal.

9. What is your experience with machine vision systems?

During my previous work experience at XYZ Company, I had the opportunity to work with machine vision systems extensively. In fact, I led a team of engineers to design and implement a new machine vision system for inspecting products on the production line.

  1. First, we identified the key characteristics that the system needed to detect, such as size, shape, and color.
  2. Then, we selected the appropriate hardware and software components to support these functions.
  3. After that, we developed and tested multiple algorithms to accurately recognize these characteristics.
  4. Finally, we integrated the system into the production line and monitored its performance over time.

The outcome of this project was significant. We were able to reduce the number of faulty products that made it through the production line by 75%, resulting in a cost savings of over $500,000 per year. Additionally, the machine vision system allowed us to identify areas for process optimization and improve our overall efficiency by 15%.

I am excited to bring this experience and knowledge to your organization and continue to contribute to the development of automation and robotics technology.

10. Can you provide an example of a successful automation implementation you have been a part of?

During my time at XYZ corporation, I was involved in automating the company's manufacturing process. This involved implementing a system for the assembly line that increased productivity and efficiency.

  1. Firstly, we analyzed the manufacturing process to identify where a system could be implemented.
  2. Next, we sourced a solution to replace the manual labor with robot arms and sensors that would work in conjunction with human workers.
  3. We then conducted tests to ensure that the system was working correctly before implementing it across the entire production floor.

The results of the automation implementation were significant. The company experienced a 35% reduction in production time, and a 25% reduction in errors, resulting in an increase in product quality. The company was also able to reduce the number of human workers needed in the assembly line, which led to significant cost savings.

Overall, the automation implementation was a massive success, contributing to increased efficiency, cost savings, and an overall improvement in productivity.


Congratulations on reading through the "10 Automation and Robotics interview questions and answers in 2023" blog post! If you're seeking a job in this field, it's important to remember that having a standout cover letter is crucial. Check out our guide on writing a compelling cover letter to get started. Additionally, it's important to have an impressive resume. Our guide for writing a production engineer resume can help make your application stand out among the competition. Lastly, Remote Rocketship has a job board specifically for remote production engineer jobs. Good luck in your job search!

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