Historical Development Of Mechanical And Electrical Systems Computer Science Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

The word Mechatronics was introduced in 1969 by Tetsuro Mori, senior engineer in Yaskawa Electric Company. It was composition of two words: mecha from mechanism and tronics from electronics. At the beginning Mechatronics was defined as integration of electrical systems into mechanical machines. The definition changed over time and consecutively it is note described only as connection of subsystems (mechanical, electrical, computer control) but rather as methodology used for optimal design of final products, where all the disciplines are integrated in project phase [1].

This report presents and compares two ways of process design. One chapter explains the nature of the design process with advantages and disadvantages before introduction of Mechatronics. Next chapter describes new, Mechatronics approach. Last chapter covers design models. One model is thoroughly presented and briefly compared with other popular models. Also choice of this particular model is justified in regard to set task.

2 Design process prior to the introduction of Mechatronics

2.1 Nature of the process

Figure 1: Historical Development of Mechanical and Electrical Systems [4]

Mechanical systems produce motions or transfer forces or torque. Appending electronics solutions allow many improvements and new functionality: precise speed control, optimisation, supervision, and fault diagnosis, overall process management. [2]

Figure 2: General scheme of a (classical) mechanical-electronic system. [3]

Figure 3 illustrates typical system. The limits to this approach are given by lack of suitable sensors and actuators, unsatisfactory lifetime (working in high temp, contamination etc), requires a lot of space, many cables, slow data processing. Integration of components (hardware) integration of information processing fault diagnosis, optimisation, process management. [3]

Mainly mechanical systems, first systems with feedback, control theory, feed-forward theory, regulators, automatic control, pneumatic, amplifiers, semiconductors open new class of products

Mechanical systems with electronic components. No processors, no computation. This is cheaper than Mechatronics systems with many sensors, self fault-detecting, data acquisition and logging.

Sequential process no feedback

Independent subsystems (mechanical, electrical etc)

depend on previous experience

one way system must complete one step before moving into another

2.2 Advantages

Simple / straightforward

Only one discipline

No communication problem all designers from the same background

Deeper knowledge

2.3 Disadvantages

Relies on own data problem for new technologies

No feedback

Poor communication (lack of understanding, potential loss of detection) / no communication between levels


Time consuming

Faults identified too late

No flexibility / rigid structure

Can be less efficient (lots of rework)

Not suitable for multidisciplinary design

Bulky system, complex mechanisms, non-adjustable movement cycles, constant speed drives, mechanical synchronization, rigid heavy structures, accuracy determined by tolerance of mechanism, manual control. [4]

3 Mechatronics design approach

3.1 Nature of the process

Figure 3: Mechatronics - detail definition of multidisciplinary product design [5]

The most recent definitions of Mechatronics emphasize significant role of computers, communications and internet. The synergetic integration of physical systems with information technology and complex-decision making in the design, manufacture and operation of industrial products and processes. [6]

Robert Bishop [1] distinguishes five key elements of Mechatronics:

* Physical system modelling

* Sensors and actuators

* Signals and systems

* Computers and logic systems

* Software and data acquisition

High impact on fast development of Mechatronics had low-cost and mass production of integrated circuits. Since that time mechanical parts implemented as data processing are replaced by electronic circuits. Discovery of microprocessor caused control of mechanical processes easier and more accurate.

Engineering specialisation and more focused, emerging of semiconductors electronics (cheaper, low miniaturization, more common)

Concurrent (ideas running in parallel) / more than one stage is running at any given time

Integrated (multi-discipline)

Models and simulation (computer designing tools)



Figure 4: Evolution of Mechatronics [6]

Innovation, cost, more complex products, higher performance systems, it, miniaturisation, new materials, environmental engineering

Figure 5: Properties of Conventional and Mechatronics Design Systems [2]

Mechatronics approach allows construction of modern and technically and economically better products. Technology evolution [5]

Main aim of Mechatronics is optimal control of mechanical systems. It is achieved by split the device into separate modules which realize part functions.

Projektowanie mechatroniczne-

No complicate mechanical part, complex systems, accurate and speed of control systems, efficiency and reliability of electronics, functionality of microprocessors.

High quality, low production cost, shorter development time, ability to regular improvement of the product.

Compact, simplified mechanisms, programmable movements, variable speed drives, electronic synchronisation, lighter structures, accuracy achieved by the feedback, automatic and programmable control. [4]

3.2 Advantages

Flexible (feedback) /return to each step / allows problems to be revived having a negative effect on the design

Embraces new technology

Good communication

Flaws are identified earlier

Simulation - testwork

Modelling (cheap to simulate) cad tools

Efficient (time not wasted when problem occure)


Can design more complex models

3.3 Disadvantages

More complex / complexity

Communication easy to have breakdown on miss vital information

Individual knowledge is missing

Despite many obvious advantages of mechatronics,

the product designer also has to face some drawbacks.

The main disadvantages are the higher costs of spare

parts in the case of repair, a lack of experience with the

use of new production and testing technologies and also

the use of pioneering technologies in the construction

and connection technologies [5]

4 Frenchs 1985 design model.

4.1 Description

Engineering design process can be described as set of actions lead to construction of final product. It is translation of customer requirements into production specification. Frenchs model is one of most common and cited models of the design process [7]. It is presented at Figure 6. It includes eight phases, which start from customer needs and stop at final working drawings. It doesnt include manufacture of the product. Important feature of Frenchs Design Model is ability to go back to previous stages. It allow designer to make changes and improvements of problems if they appeared in later phases.

* Need

It is very important to have clear picture of customer requests before going to next phase. Information can be collected form client or through market research.

* Analysis of a problem

In this stage the problem is examined. Engineer assess if problem is feasible according to customer needs. Also Initial conditions are established.

* Statement of a problem

This phase is for preparation of more detailed specification. All the constraints (dimension, mass, colour, budget) are declared here.

* Conceptual design

In this step many different concepts solving the problem are searched. It involves brain-storming, market research, review of other solution solving similar problems. The output schemes should contains all necessary details.

* Selected schemes

Solutions created in previous phase are compared, and after analysing or advantages and disadvantages one solution, which the best fulfils customer needs, is selected.

* Embodiment of schemes

In this step control system is designed. All mechanical tools, electrical components, sensors and actuators are selected. It is also decided on software tools.

* Detailing

This stage is continuation of embodiment of schemes.

* Working drawings - .

This is final phase where working drawings are created. It includes all necessary circuit schematics, mechanical subsystems, components, and software code. After having all documents produced in stage, product can be manufactured.

4.2 Justification

Frenchs Model is one of many models which can be used in realisation of this task. Design process goes step by step in sequence form customer needs to working drawings. Main feature of this model is ability to go back to previous step from almost every stage. It allows including necessary corrections. Last step is creation of working drawing, and it means that models doesnt involve manufacture of final product.