MECHATRONIC DESIGN APPROACH
Historical Development and Definition of Mechatronic Systems:
In several technical areas the integration of products or processes and electronics can be observed. This is especially true for mechanical systems which developed since about 1980.
These systems changed from electro-mechanical systems with discrete electrical and mechanical parts to integrated electronic-mechanical systems with sensors, actuators, and digital microelectronics. These integrated systems, as seen in
The word “mechatronics” was probably first created by a Japanese engineer in 1969 , with earlier definitions given by
In a preliminary definition is given:
“Mechatronics is the synergetic integration of mechanical engineering with electronics and intelligent computer control in the design and manufacturing of industrial products and processes” .
Engineer and scientists from all walks of life and fields of study can contribute to mechatronics. As engineering and science boundaries become less well defined, more students will seek a multi-disciplinary education with a strong design component. Academia should be moving towards a curriculum, which includes coverage of mechatronic systems.
In the future, growth in mechatronic systems will be fueled by the growth in the constituent areas. Advancements in traditional disciplines fuel the growth of mechatronics systems by providing “enabling technologies.”
For example, the invention of the microprocessor had a profound effect on the redesign of mechanical systems and design of new mechatronics systems.
We should expect continued advancements in cost-effective microprocessors and microcontrollers, sensor and actuator development enabled by advancements in applications of MEMS, adaptive control methodologies and real-time programming methods, networking and wireless technologies, mature CAE technologies for advanced system modeling, virtual prototyping, and testing.
The continued rapid development in these areas will only accelerate the pace of smart product development. The Internet is a technology that, when utilized in combination with wireless technology, may also lead to new mechatronic products. While developments in automotive provide vivid examples of mechatronics development, there are numerous examples of intelligent systems in all walks of life, including smart home appliances such as dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, microwaves, and wireless network enabled devices. In the area of “human-friendly machines” (a term used by H. Kobayashi ,
we can expect advances in robot-assisted surgery, and implantable sensors and actuators. Other areas that will benefit from mechatronic advances may include robotics, manufacturing, space technology, and transportation.
The future of mechatronics is wide open.