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Mechatronics

Mechatronics

Overview
Mechatronics is the combination of mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the...

, electronic engineering
Electronic engineering
Electronics engineering, also referred to as electronic engineering, is an engineering discipline where non-linear and active electrical components such as electron tubes, and semiconductor devices, especially transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, are utilized to design electronic...

, computer engineering
Computer engineering
Computer engineering, also called computer systems engineering, is a discipline that integrates several fields of electrical engineering and computer science required to develop computer systems. Computer engineers usually have training in electronic engineering, software design, and...

, software engineering
Software engineering
Software Engineering is the application of a systematic, disciplined, quantifiable approach to the development, operation, and maintenance of software, and the study of these approaches; that is, the application of engineering to software...

, control engineering
Control engineering
Control engineering or Control systems engineering is the engineering discipline that applies control theory to design systems with predictable behaviors...

, and systems design engineering
Systems engineering
Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary field of engineering that focuses on how complex engineering projects should be designed and managed over the life cycle of the project. Issues such as logistics, the coordination of different teams, and automatic control of machinery become more...

 in order to design, and manufacture useful products. Mechatronics is a multidisciplinary field of engineering, that is to say it rejects splitting engineering into separate disciplines. Originally, mechatronics just included the combination between mechanics and electronics, hence the word is only a portmanteau of mechanics and electronics.
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Encyclopedia
Mechatronics is the combination of mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the...

, electronic engineering
Electronic engineering
Electronics engineering, also referred to as electronic engineering, is an engineering discipline where non-linear and active electrical components such as electron tubes, and semiconductor devices, especially transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, are utilized to design electronic...

, computer engineering
Computer engineering
Computer engineering, also called computer systems engineering, is a discipline that integrates several fields of electrical engineering and computer science required to develop computer systems. Computer engineers usually have training in electronic engineering, software design, and...

, software engineering
Software engineering
Software Engineering is the application of a systematic, disciplined, quantifiable approach to the development, operation, and maintenance of software, and the study of these approaches; that is, the application of engineering to software...

, control engineering
Control engineering
Control engineering or Control systems engineering is the engineering discipline that applies control theory to design systems with predictable behaviors...

, and systems design engineering
Systems engineering
Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary field of engineering that focuses on how complex engineering projects should be designed and managed over the life cycle of the project. Issues such as logistics, the coordination of different teams, and automatic control of machinery become more...

 in order to design, and manufacture useful products. Mechatronics is a multidisciplinary field of engineering, that is to say it rejects splitting engineering into separate disciplines. Originally, mechatronics just included the combination between mechanics and electronics, hence the word is only a portmanteau of mechanics and electronics. However, as technical systems have become more and more complex the word has been "updated" during recent years to include more technical areas.

French standard NF E 01-010 gives the following definition: “approach aiming at the synergistic integration of mechanics, electronics, control theory, and computer science within product design and manufacturing, in order to improve and/or optimize its functionality".

Description



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
Mechanics
Mechanics is the branch of physics concerned with the behavior of physical bodies when subjected to forces or displacements, and the subsequent effects of the bodies on their environment....

, electronics
Electronics
Electronics is the branch of science, engineering and technology that deals with electrical circuits involving active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive interconnection technologies...

, computing
Computing
Computing is usually defined as the activity of using and improving computer hardware and software. It is the computer-specific part of information technology...

, control engineering
Control engineering
Control engineering or Control systems engineering is the engineering discipline that applies control theory to design systems with predictable behaviors...

, molecular engineering
Molecular engineering
Molecular engineering is any means of manufacturing molecules. It may be used to create, on an extremely small scale, most typically one at a time, new molecules which may not exist in nature, or be stable beyond a very narrow range of conditions....

 (from nanochemistry
Nanochemistry
Nanochemistry is a new branch of nanoscience related with the production and the reactions of nanoparticles and their compounds. It is concerned with the unique properties associated with assemblies of atoms or molecules on a scale between that of the individual building blocks and the bulk material...

 and biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

), and optical engineering
Optical engineering
Optical engineering is the field of study that focuses on applications of optics. Optical engineers design components of optical instruments such as lenses, microscopes, telescopes, and other equipment that utilizes the properties of light. Other devices include optical sensors and measurement...

, which, combined, make possible the generation of simpler, more economical, reliable and versatile systems. The portmanteau "mechatronic" was coined by Tetsuro Mori, the senior engineer of the Japanese
Economy of Japan
The economy of Japan, a free market economy, is the third largest in the world after the United States and the People's Republic of China, and ahead of Germany at 4th...

 company Yaskawa in 1969. An industrial robot
Industrial robot
An industrial robot is defined by ISO as an automatically controlled, reprogrammable, multipurpose manipulator programmable in three or more axes...

 is a prime example of a mechatronics system; it includes aspects of electronics, mechanical
, and computing to do its day-to-day jobs.

Engineering cybernetics
Engineering cybernetics
Engineering cybernetics or technical cybernetics, established by H.S. Tsien, is a field of cybernetics, which deals with the question of control engineering of mechatronic systems as well as chemical or biological systems...

 deals with the question of control engineering of mechatronic systems. It is used to control or regulate such a system (see control theory
Control theory
Control theory is an interdisciplinary branch of engineering and mathematics that deals with the behavior of dynamical systems. The desired output of a system is called the reference...

). 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
Hierarchy
A hierarchy is an arrangement of items in which the items are represented as being "above," "below," or "at the same level as" one another...

, polyarchy
Polyarchy
In modern political science, the term polyarchy was introduced by Robert A. Dahl, now emeritus professor at Yale University, to describe a form of government in which power is vested in three or more persons. This form of government was first implemented in the United States and was gradually...

, heterarchy
Heterarchy
A heterarchy is a system of organization replete with overlap, multiplicity, mixed ascendancy, and/or divergent-but-coexistent patterns of relation...

, and hybrid. The methods for achieving a technical effect are described by control algorithm
Algorithm
In mathematics and computer science, an algorithm is an effective method expressed as a finite list of well-defined instructions for calculating a function. Algorithms are used for calculation, data processing, and automated reasoning...

s, which might or might not utilize formal methods in their design. Hybrid systems important to mechatronics include production system
Production system
A production system is a computer program typically used to provide some form of artificial intelligence, which consists primarily of a set of rules about behavior. These rules, termed productions, are a basic representation found useful in automated planning, expert systems and action selection...

s, synergy drives,
planetary exploration rovers
Mars Exploration Rover
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Mission is an ongoing robotic space mission involving two rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, exploring the planet Mars...

, automotive subsystems such as anti-lock braking system
Anti-lock braking system
An anti-lock braking system is a safety system that allows the wheels on a motor vehicle to continue interacting tractively with the road surface as directed by driver steering inputs while braking, preventing the wheels from locking up and therefore avoiding skidding.An ABS generally offers...

s and spin-assist, and every-day equipment such as autofocus cameras, video, hard disk
Hard disk
A hard disk drive is a non-volatile, random access digital magnetic data storage device. It features rotating rigid platters on a motor-driven spindle within a protective enclosure. Data is magnetically read from and written to the platter by read/write heads that float on a film of air above the...

s, and CD players.

Course structure


Mechatronic students take courses from across the various fields listed below:
  • Mechanical engineering and materials science subjects
  • Electronic engineering subjects
  • Computer engineering subjects
  • Computer science subjects
  • Systems and control engineering subjects
  • Optomechanics (optical engineering) subjects
  • Robotics subjects

Application

  • Machine vision
    Machine vision
    Machine vision is the process of applying a range of technologies and methods to provide imaging-based automatic inspection, process control and robot guidance in industrial applications. While the scope of MV is broad and a comprehensive definition is difficult to distil, a "generally accepted...

  • Automation
    Automation
    Automation is the use of control systems and information technologies to reduce the need for human work in the production of goods and services. In the scope of industrialization, automation is a step beyond mechanization...

     and robotics
    Robotics
    Robotics is the branch of technology that deals with the design, construction, operation, structural disposition, manufacture and application of robots...

  • Servo-mechanics
    Servomechanism
    thumb|right|200px|Industrial servomotorThe grey/green cylinder is the [[Brush |brush-type]] [[DC motor]]. The black section at the bottom contains the [[Epicyclic gearing|planetary]] [[Reduction drive|reduction gear]], and the black object on top of the motor is the optical [[rotary encoder]] for...

  • Sensing
    Sensor
    A sensor is a device that measures a physical quantity and converts it into a signal which can be read by an observer or by an instrument. For example, a mercury-in-glass thermometer converts the measured temperature into expansion and contraction of a liquid which can be read on a calibrated...

     and control system
    Control system
    A control system is a device, or set of devices to manage, command, direct or regulate the behavior of other devices or system.There are two common classes of control systems, with many variations and combinations: logic or sequential controls, and feedback or linear controls...

    s
  • Automotive engineering
    Automotive engineering
    Modern automotive engineering, along with aerospace engineering and marine engineering, is a branch of vehicle engineering, incorporating elements of mechanical, electrical, electronic, software and safety engineering as applied to the design, manufacture and operation of motorcycles, automobiles,...

    , automotive equipment in the design of subsystems such as anti-lock braking system
    Anti-lock braking system
    An anti-lock braking system is a safety system that allows the wheels on a motor vehicle to continue interacting tractively with the road surface as directed by driver steering inputs while braking, preventing the wheels from locking up and therefore avoiding skidding.An ABS generally offers...

    s
  • Computer-machine controls, such as computer driven machines like IE CNC milling machines
  • Expert systems
  • Industrial goods
  • Consumer products
  • Mechatronics systems
  • Medical mechatronics,medical imaging systems
  • Structural dynamic systems
  • Transportation and vehicular systems
  • Mechatronics as the new language of the automobile
  • Diagnostic, reliability, and control system techniques
  • Computer aided and integrated manufacturing systems
  • Computer-aided design
  • Engineering and manufacturing systems
  • Packaging
  • Microcontrollers / PLC's
  • Mobile apps

Physical implementations


For most 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 movement: the piezo-electric actuators and motors, or the electromagnetic
Electromagnetic
Electromagnetic may refer to:* Electromagnetism* Electromagnetic field* Electromagnetic force* Electromagnetic radiation* Electromagnetic induction* Electromagnetic spectrum...

 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 applications use 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
Biomechatronics
Biomechatronics is an applied interdisciplinary science that aims to integrate mechanical elements, electronics and parts of biological organisms. Biomechatronics includes the aspects of biology, mechanics, and electronics. It also encompasses the fields of robotics and neuroscience. One example...

, whose purpose is to integrate mechanical parts with a human being, usually in the form of removable gadgets such as an exoskeleton
Exoskeleton
An exoskeleton is the external skeleton that supports and protects an animal's body, in contrast to the internal skeleton of, for example, a human. In popular usage, some of the larger kinds of exoskeletons are known as "shells". Examples of exoskeleton animals include insects such as grasshoppers...

. Such an entity is often identified in science fiction as a cyborg
Cyborg
A cyborg is a being with both biological and artificial parts. The term was coined in 1960 when Manfred Clynes and Nathan S. Kline used it in an article about the advantages of self-regulating human-machine systems in outer space. D. S...

. This is the "real-life" version of cyberware
Cyberware
For other uses; see Cyberware Cyberware is a relatively new and unknown field...

.

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


  • Mechanical Engineering Technology
    Mechanical engineering technology
    Mechanical engineering technology is the application of physical principles and current technological developments to the creation of useful machinery and operation design. Technologies such as solid models may be used as the basis for finite element analysis and / or computational fluid dynamics ...

  • Cybernetics
    Cybernetics
    Cybernetics is the interdisciplinary study of the structure of regulatory systems. Cybernetics is closely related to information theory, control theory and systems theory, at least in its first-order form...

  • Electromechanics
    Electromechanics
    In engineering, electromechanics combines the sciences of electromagnetism, of electrical engineering and mechanics. Mechanical engineering in this context refers to the larger discipline which includes chemical engineering, and other related disciplines. Electrical engineering in this context...

  • List of engineering topics
  • National Instruments
    National Instruments
    National Instruments Corporation, or NI , is an American company with over 5,000 employees and direct operations in 41 countries. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, it is a producer of automated test equipment and virtual instrumentation software...

  • Robotics
    Robotics
    Robotics is the branch of technology that deals with the design, construction, operation, structural disposition, manufacture and application of robots...

  • Systems Engineering
    Systems engineering
    Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary field of engineering that focuses on how complex engineering projects should be designed and managed over the life cycle of the project. Issues such as logistics, the coordination of different teams, and automatic control of machinery become more...

  • Mechatronics Journals

Further reading