Mechatronic designs blend power, electronics, mechanical systems
Pre-integration: Mechatronics pre-integrates power, electronic, and mechanical systems, using hardware, software, and networks to simplify design, lower costs, and speed time to market.
Various aspects and advantages of mechatronic design are explored in three articles in the June Control Engineering North American print and digital edition. In project design, think beyond automation to include power and mechanical systems and save time later. Consider related software from the onset. Each mechatronics article appears online, with additional information beyond what appeared in print. See links below.
Products designed using mechatronics principles pack more performance and opportunities for optimization into a smaller package, taking less real estate and offering more dynamic machine performance. Simpler integrated designs also help make machine operation and maintenance easier for a workforce that may have less manufacturing experience and education than they once did.
A tightly integrated mechatronic system can reduce the machine footprint, shorten programming time, and eliminate dedicated hardware controllers. A modular linear drive that serves as a motion control system is exactly the kind of mechatronic advancement that takes full advantage of more powerful PC-based controllers and one architecture.
A machine equipped with such a motion control system would leverage one standard controls architecture (PC-based control), one software platform, and one industrial Ethernet network.
Embedded software development, a component of controls systems and mechatronics, differs from other engineering, said Cambashi research. More engineering teams are facing questions about the best way to handle software development as a key part of product development projects. This includes mechatronics-based designs, integrating mechanical and electronics elements with embedded software. See many examples.
- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, mhoske(at)cfemedia.com.