Benoit Gilbert, Expert Mechanical Designer
Role: Expert Mechanical Designer
Academic background: Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering
With Kinova since 2016
What is your role?
Design of actuators, electric motors, transmissions. Selection of parts. Validation of mechanical/electronic integration (including sensors). Mechanical tests are carried out for the validation of the parts.
How would you explain it to your grandmother?
First I would explain what a robot really is (it's just an arm, not like in Star Wars). I choose the components responsible for making the robot move to make sure it has enough strength, speed, and long-term reliability.
What do you like most about your job?
What I really like is innovation and multidisciplinary teamwork. It allows you to open up horizons and continue to learn new skills.
What brought you to the field of robotics?
It was a long process. In 2003 I saw an episode of Découverte that talked about a bionic leg developed in Quebec. It made me very excited, so I wanted to take the place of those who were working on that. As I searched, I learned that I had contacts in this company, so I managed to get a job there. I haven't left the field of robotics since.
How is your role different from your other colleagues?
A mechanical engineer draws mechanical parts. These are parts that will be machined, then assembled. Where a programmer must ensure that his code does the desired job, in MEC (mechanical) we must also verify that it is manufacturable and installable!
Does your role exist outside of the field of robotics? If yes, is it different in our field? How?
It's much more exciting in robotics! We work in a high-tech and booming field. I appreciate being able to work for the betterment of the human condition. Also, we have to work a lot in collaboration with members who have a lot of different expertise, it is important to understand the other specialties and to adapt to work better together.
How were your studies helpful to prepare you for your role?
What has brought me the most to my work are the after-school projects. As part of my studies, I was able to participate in external projects such as the Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers). It taught me about teamwork and manual work.
Outside of school, where did you acquire the knowledge and skills useful to your job?
I have learned a lot on the job. Anytime I've had the chance to learn something new, I've jumped on it. What's exciting about working in startups as I have done in the past is that we are strongly encouraged to branch out to learn things outside our fields such as team management, budget planning, and project management. As we often have to find less expensive and more effective solutions, this strongly encourages creativity. We are also closer to customers, which allows us to better understand their needs and to adapt, forcing us to learn new things in areas where we are not necessarily already comfortable.
Anything you would like to add?
Be curious and dare to venture into areas where you are less comfortable to broaden your horizons and learn new skills.
More Jobs in Robotics
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