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Mechatronics : definition and explanations

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Mechatronics is a multidisciplinary field of engineering which combines various other engineering technical fields such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, systems engineering, and computer engineering. It is designed to conceive and generate more reliable and powerful automatic systems.

The word mechatronics was first introduced in 1969 by an engineer working for the Japanese company “Yaskawa Electric Corporation”.

Description

In order to generate mechatronics systems, optimize their functionality, and improve their reliability, other subsystems must be integrated and combined simultaneously.
Those subsystems are:
-Mechanical structure subsystem which is responsible for motion and pre-determined operation of movement. It is mostly composed of mechanical and electro-mechanical components
-Control subsystem with electronic components and software capable of autonomy and flexibility to the working of the system.
-Interactive interface subsystem which is the exchange of information between the mechatronic system and human being in order to have a desirable output.

Reliability

Mechatronic systems are designed to control automatic system made objects while making sure that the system is suitable and operational in various functionality conditions. It is essential that the systems get checked regularly to make sure it is not subject to wear and tear.

Nevertheless, mechatronics is still a quite challenging concept due to the facts that the engineer must master numerous disciplines (mechanics, electronics …etc.). Furthermore, easy access to information must be considered and security and reliability has to be respected. Cost related to research and production is very likely to increase.

The aeronautic sector was the first to integrate mechatronics into its domain. Automotive industry and transportation sector followed their lead later. It is very probable that in the near future, this field of engineering will also attract other big mechanical industries like heavy machinery and crane makers.

In case it will open up to industries, operating those systems will have to become a prerequisite for an engineering job.

Despite the fact that reliability and security have considerably improved in the domain of electronics, global strategic thinking will have to be considered before introducing this new system to the working force. Issues related to electromagnetism interferences must be taken into account as well since you know that the working environment could be quite disturbing and non-stable at times. Finally in order to avoid any possible accident related to system defect or malfunction, mechatronic software inspections must be carried out periodically.

Automatic systems simulation tools such as manufacturing simulation software are solutions proposed to establish command strategy to prevent any mechanical defaults or systems breakdown.

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