Mechatronic products. Where do we find them?

Black and Yellow Robotic ArmMechatronic systems

Among the mechatronic products we commonly use are printers, new generation copiers, sewing and knitting machines with numerical control, the electrically controlled internal combustion engine, anti-theft systems, anti-skid systems (ABS), air cushions in the auto technology, robots and handlers, medical equipment, including high-tech prostheses.

Also mechatronic products are the miniature video cameras, compact photo cameras (read some good compact camera reviews at http://maxcnash.com, to get an idea of how complex these little devices have gotten nowadays), CD players and other micro machines, but also the large agricultural and street cleaning machines, large gauge systems and automated production lines.

Car makers create increasingly complex mechatronic vehicles equipped with complicated execution systems, programmed and controlled by computer.

Currently, the most advanced mechatronic system in the world is the system that ensures the closing and opening of the access channel to the port of Rotterdam, its elements having a length of over 300 m.

Mechatronic equipments are assemblies that integrate simple or complex components which fulfil different functions, acting based on fixed rules. Their main task is mechanical operation, in other words the production of useful work, and their essence is to be able to react intelligently, through a system of sensors, to external stimuli that act upon the system, taking the proper decisions in every situation.

The characteristic features of Mechatronic equipments are the following:

  • Multifunctioning, meaning the ability to achieve different technological processes, for example by changing the program;
  • Intelligence, representing the machine’s ability to communicate with the environment and make decisions;
  • Flexibility, meaning the machine’s structure can change without major difficuly in the different stages of design, production or operation, for instance by using modular construction;
  • Can be conducted from a distance, which in turn requires the knowledge and use of complex communication interfaces;
  • Permanent evolution, due to the dynamics of market requirements and technological possibilities of execution.

An important aspect of mechatronics is that mechatronic machinery are example of mimesis of nature.

The main characteristic of Mechatronic machinery is the ability to constantly adapt to external conditions and to give information (in the form of mechanical, electrical, optical, pneumatic, etc.) through a high level of automation.

Mechatronic systems are equipped with sensors and transducers which receive signals from the environment, with programmed processing and interpretation of these signals and communication devices, as well as with elements of execution that act according to the environment.


The Subject Matter of Mechatronics

MechatronicsThe term “Mechatronics” has been used for the first time in 1975 by the Japanese company Yaskawa Electric Corporation, being an abbreviation of the words mechanics, electronics and computer science.

At the beginning Mechatronics was seen as a complement to precision mechanics, the photo camera with Flash being a classic example of Mechatronics application.

In time, the notion of Mechatronics changed its meaning and expanded the scope of its definition: Mechatronics became the Engineering Science based on the classical disciplines of machinery construction, electrical engineering, electronics and computer science. The purpose of this study is to improve the functionality of machines and technical systems by merging component disciplines into a unified whole.

However, Mechatronics is not the same thing as automatic or automated production. These are terms that arose outside the field of MECHATRONICS, but are also included in it. Mechatronics can be defined as an innovative concept of automation techniques for the needs of engineering and education.

Mechatronics was born as technology and became a philosophy that spread around the world. In the last years, Mechatronics came to be defined simply: the science of intelligent machines.

As a conclusion, it can be said that Mechatronics is a field of interdisciplinary science and technology that deals with the general issues of mechanics, electronics and computer science. However, it includes several areas that form the basis of mecatronics, which cover many well-known disciplines, such as: electrical engineering, power engineering, encryption technique, the technique of information microprocessing and others.