Mechatronics designs can decrease the 25% cost of engineering for OEMs

Use of mechatronics—the convergence of power, electronics, mechanical systems—helps reduce the cost of engineering, which for many machines can account for 25%-30% of their cost.

05/29/2013


Mechatronics is the convergence of three areas: power, electronics, and mechanical systems, including related embedded software and hardware, explained Chuck Edwards, president of Lenze Americas. Some automation products embed mechatronics functionality, making life easier for controls, electrical, and mechanical engineers, along with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that play in all three worlds, Edwards said. 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, Edwards said.

The Lenze 8400 motec frequency inverter drive includes the gearbox, ac motor, and inverter in one compact design that allows machine builders to optimize machine performance at a high level. Integrating these components helps fulfill requirements for spee

Mechatronics-based designs, using pre-integrated systems, add engineering productivity, Edwards said, explaining that for most OEMs 25%-30% of the cost of the machine is in engineering. Such products, which reduce engineering costs, help OEMs bring machines to market faster, breaking the risks associated with a common three-year design cycle (first year, design; second year, launch and production; and third year, financial returns).

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. Engineering companies also need to work with area colleges to ensure applied engineering and mechatronics are part of four-year engineering curriculum, beyond theoretical engineering, Edwards advised.

Lenze manufactures electrical and mechanical drives, motion control, and automation technology for many industries, including automotive, packaging, material handling and logistics, robotics, and commercial equipment (such as pumps and fans).

- Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering and Plant Engineering, mhoske(at)cfemedia.com.

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