What is Mechatronics
The integration of electronic engineering, electrical engineering, computer technology and control engineering with mechanical engineering is increasingly forming a crucial part in the design, manufacture and maintenance of a wide range of engineering products and process. A consequence of this is the need for engineers and technicians to adopt an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to engineering.
Such control systems generally use microprocessors as controllers and have electrical sensors extracting information from the mechanical inputs and outputs via electrical actuators to mechanical systems. Mechatronics is used for this integration of microprocessors control systems, electrical systems and mechanical systems. A mechatronic system is not just a marriage of electrical and mechanical systems and is more than just a control system. It is a complete integration of all of them.
Describing the mechatronic science
Mechatronics is part of the evolutionary process of science and not a revolution in the field.
To understand the size and scope of mechatronics see what are the areas that owe their development to it:
- Microprocessor based design.
Microprocessors: They are the “brain” of the system. The quantities measured by the sensors end up with the microcontroller, which will decide on an action.
- Sensors and actuators.
Sensors, such as accelerometers, cameras, sonars, thermometers, etc., perceive an external quantity (sound, temperature, etc.). This quantity is imported for processing in analogy or digital form, amplified or not. During processing, the parameters are estimated. A signal (an instruction) is issued at the output for the actuators, which activate a mechanical system. Most of the time, a sensor measures the change caused by the system to the environment and resends the recent data for processing.
The actuator performs task of converting control signal into action on the control element. Conventional actuators use electric motors and fluid power as their energy source. Modern actuators for mechatronic applications use novel technology such as ultrasonic motors, micromotors, piezoelectric and magneto strictive forces and shape memory alloys to derive necessary energy.
- Power systems.
Energy supply is one of the most important issues of our time, so the efficient use of fossil fuels and the expansion of renewable energy sources is one of the great challenges of power systems.
In mechatronics we need power systems and they are divided into pneumatic, hydraulic, mechanical & electrical.
- Mechanical design of systems.
- Data collection. Many software there are to collect data. Process an analyse it is very useful to improve a mechatronic system.
- Mechanical behaviour.
It is essentially the analysis of materials. For example, the crystal structure of metals. Both the microstructure and the integrity of metals depend on mechanical stress. Microstructural changes are the basis for the integration behaviour that is not only necessary for the use of metals in constructions, but also plays a major role in the production process. Microstructures also affect mechanical properties and failure initiation. This research topic is based on conversion, integration and failure mechanisms in relation to industrial applications.
Engineers and scientists from many different fields of study can contribute to the development of mechatronics. The boundaries of engineering and science are not fully defined and clear, with the result that many students seek a multidisciplinary education specializing mainly in the design part.
The future of mechatronics
In the future the development of mechatronic systems will be fuelled by the development of all relevant sciences. For example, the invention of the microprocessor had a direct impact on the design of mechanical systems and the design of new mechatronic systems.
Developments in the areas of microprocessors and microcontrollers, further development of sensors, advanced system modelling and new control methodologies and real-time programming methods are immediately expected.
The continuous and rapid growth of all the aforementioned sectors will accelerate the growth rate of smart products. The internet is another technology that in combination with wireless technology can create new mechanical products.
Developments in the automotive industry are the most vivid example of the development of mechatronics. While there are still many examples of smart systems that include household appliances such as dishwashers and vacuum cleaners. While the creation of products with the possibility of wireless operation continues. Another achievement of mechatronics.
Another area where we expect great progress due to mechatronics is that of health. Sensor robot surgery is closer than we all think and expect.
The benefits of mechatronic progress do not end there, however. Other areas that will benefit are:
- Space technology
The future of mechatronics is open and is expected to be very bright.