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Mechatronics is the combination of Mechanical engineering, Electronic engineering, Computer engineering, Control engineering, and Systems Design engineering to create useful products. However due to development of light technology such as fiber optics, optical engineering and fiber optics are being integrated into the course and are replacing some electronic courses.

Contents

Description

Aerial Venn diagram from RPI's website describes the various fields that make up Mechatronics

A mechatronics engineer unites the principles of mechanics, electronics, and computing to generate a simpler, more economical and reliable system. Mechatronics is centered on mechanics, electronics, computing, control engineering, molecular engineering (from nanochemistry and biology) and optical engineering which, combined, make possible the generation of simpler, more economical, reliable and versatile systems. The portmanteau "mechatronics" was coined by Tetsuro Mori, the senior engineer of the Japanese company Yaskawa in 1969. An industrial robot is a prime example of a mechatronics system; it includes aspects of electronics, mechanics and computing, so it can carry out its day to day jobs.

Engineering cybernetics deals with the question of control engineering of mechatronic systems. It is used to control or regulate such a system (see control theory). Through collaboration the mechatronic modules perform the production goals and inherit flexible and agile manufacturing properties in the production scheme. Modern production equipment consists of mechatronic modules that are integrated according to a control architecture. The most known architectures involve hierarchy, polyarchy, heterarchy, and hybrid. The methods for achieving a technical effect are described by control algorithms, which may or may not utilize formal methods in their design. Hybrid-systems important to mechatronics include production systems, synergy drives, planetary exploration rovers, automotive subsystems such as anti-lock braking systems and spin-assist, and every day equipment such as autofocus cameras, video, hard disks, and CD players.

Course Structure

Mechatronic students do subjects from the various fields shown below:

  • Mechanical engineering and Materials science subjects
  • Electronic engineering subjects
  • Computer engineering subjects
  • Systems and Control engineering subjects
  • Optomechanics (Optical engineering) subjects
  • Robotics subjects

Application

Physical implementations

Now, for most of mechatronic systems, the main issue is no more how to implement a control system, but how to implement actuators and what is the energy source. Within the mechatronic field, mainly two technologies are used to produce the movement: the piezo-electric actuators and motors or the electromagnetic actuators and motors. Maybe the most famous mechatronics systems are the well known camera autofocus system or camera anti-shake systems.

Concerning the energy sources, most of the application are using batteries. But a new trend is arriving and is the energy harvesting, allowing transforming into electricity mechanical energy from shock, vibration, or thermal energy from thermal variation and so on.

Variant of the field

An emerging variant of this field is biomechatronics, whose purpose is to integrate mechanical parts with a human being, usually in the form of removable gadgets such as an exoskeleton. This is the "real-life" version of cyberware.

Another emerging variant is Electronical or electronics design centric ECAD/MCAD co-design. Electronical is where the integration and co-design between the design team and design tools of an electronics centric system and the design team and design tools of that systems physical/mechanical enclosure takes place.

See also

References

  • Bradley, Dawson et al., Mechatronics, Electronics in products and processes, Chapman and Hall Verlag, London, 1991.
  • Karnopp, Dean C., Donald L. Margolis, Ronald C. Rosenberg, System Dynamics: Modeling and Simulation of Mechatronic Systems, 4th Edition, Wiley, 2006. ISBN 0-471-70965-4 Bestselling system dynamics book using bond graph approach.
  • Cetinkunt, Sabri, Mechatronics, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2007 ISBN 978-0-4714798-1
  • List of publication concerning example of mechatronic applications and realisation
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