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ME302: Mechatronics

Unit 1: Introduction to Mechatronics   This unit will introduce you to the discipline of mechatronics. This is necessary in order to allow you to understand the overall composition of a mechatronic system and its generic components prior to delving into the details. Upon completion of this unit, you will appreciate how widely present mechatronic systems are in everyday life and how important they are. You will also be able to identify the typical basic components of a mechatronic system: the physical system being controlled, the actuator that affects the physical system, sensors that feedback information about the physical system, and a control system that controls the actuator based on the feedback signal from the feedback device.

Unit 1 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 10.5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 1.1: 6 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2: 1.75 hours

☐    Subunit 1.3: 2.25 hours

☐    Subunit 1.4: 0.5 hours

Unit1 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- Define the discipline of mechatronics. - Identify examples of mechatronic systems that are encountered in real life. - Identify the components of a typical mechatronic system.

1.1 Definition of Mechatronics   - Reading: Rensselear Polytechnic Institute and Marquette University: Kevin Craig’s Multidisciplinary Mechatronic Innovations: “Introduction to Mechatronics – Magnetic Levitation System” Link: Rensselear Polytechnic Institute and Marquette University: Kevin Craig’s Multidisciplinary Mechatronic Innovations: “Introduction to Mechatronics – Magnetic Levitation System” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, scroll down to the
title “Introduction to Mechatronics – Magnetic Levitation System,”
and click on the title to download the PDF. You only need to read
pages 1 to 48. Pay particular attention to the following pages: 1 to
13, which provide an introduction to the discipline of mechatronics,
and pages 22 to 48, which provide an introduction to how
mechatronics is applied to problem solving in automotive
engineering.  

 You will notice that the target system (physical system) to be
controlled does not always need to be a pure mechanical system. The
system to be controlled is sometimes referred to as the *plant*. It
can be any of the following types of systems: mechanical
(translational or rotational), fluidic (hydraulic or pneumatic),
thermal, chemical, electrical, or any combination of the above.  

 Various authors use different definitions of mechatronics. In this
course, the following definition shall be adopted.  

 *Mechatronics* is the discipline that results from the synergetic
application of electrical, electronic, computer, and control
engineering in mechanical engineering systems.  

 You will notice that the term *synergetic* has been used in the
definition. *Synergy* is the phenomenon whereby additional results
or benefits are achieved from the use of multiple disciplines or
tools that are not achievable by the separate use of each of these
disciplines or tools.  

 Reading this chapter should take approximately 6 hours.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
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1.2 Examples of Mechatronic Systems   In the last subunit, you saw an example of the use of mechatronics in automotive engineering. The following three videos introduce you to further examples of mechatronic systems: a mobile robot, a quad-rotor, and a printer.

  • Web Media: Colorado State University’s “Video Demonstrations of Robotics” Link: Colorado State University’s “Video Demonstrations of Robotics” (Windows Media Player)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above, scroll down to the link titled “Raleigh, NC demonstration” under “Honda Asimo Humanoid Robot,” and select the link to watch the video. The quad-rotor is another example of the power of mechatronics and the need for fast control of the system to ensure stability, as you will see in this video. Notice how the control is initially carried out by a human operator but later modified to allow full automatic and autonomous control. It is also worth noting how disturbances are introduced into the system to see how the system can cope with these disturbances and return to the required position. It is very important to ensure the stability of the system, because instability will lead to catastrophic outcomes.

    Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 15 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: Khan Academy’s “A Crash Course in Indoor Flying Robots” Link: Khan Academy’s “A Crash Course in Indoor Flying Robots” (YouTube)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above and watch this brief video. You may have noticed that the two systems above are fully autonomous and do not require human intervention. This is typical of most mechatronic systems.

    Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 15 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. It is attributed to the Khan Academy.

  • Web Media: Colorado State University’s “Video Demonstrations of Mechatronic Devices and Principles” Link: Colorado State University’s “Video Demonstrations of Mechatronic Devices and Principles” (Windows Media Player)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above, locate the title “Inkjet Printer Components with DC Motors and Piezoelectric Inkjet Head” under the “Actuator” section, and select the link to download and watch the video.

    This video shows how an inkjet printer is dissected to show you its various components. Notice the presence of actuators (i.e., motors) as well as sensors (i.e., feedback devices) that are necessary to allow the printer to operate correctly.

    You may have noticed the following from the printer video:

 1. there are so many sensors and actuators that are necessary to
make the printer work; and  
 2. translational and rotational mechanical systems are both present
in many mechatronic systems, as can be seen in this printer.  

 Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take
approximately 15 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Activity: University of Jordan: Dr. Lutfi Al-Sharif‘s “Examples of Mechatronic Systems” Link: University of Jordan: Dr. Lutfi Al-Sharif‘s “Examples of Mechatronic Systems” (PDF)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above and study these real-world examples of mechatronic systems. After reviewing the examples, complete the activity. Once you have completed the activity, check your answers against Dr. Lutfi Al-Sharif‘s “Answer Key to Examples of Mechatronic Systems Activity” (PDF).

    Completing this activity should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 license. It is attributed to Dr. Lutfi Al-Sharif and the original can be found here.

  • Web Media: YouTube: Raksha Packaging’s “Automatic Carton Filling & Sealing Machine” and Inropa’s “Robot Window and Door Painting” Link: YouTube: Raksha Packaging’s “Automatic Carton Filling & Sealing Machine” (YouTube) and Inropa’s “Robot Window and Door Painting” (YouTube)

    Instructions: Please click on the links above and watch these brief videos for examples of packing machines and robots used to paint the trim of windows and doors. These videos demonstrate examples of mechatronic systems.

    Watching these videos and pausing to take notes should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

1.3 Components of a Mechatronic System   There are basically four main components of any mechatronic system. Some mechatronic systems might contain some other components, but these four are essential for the successful operation of a mechatronic system:

1. physical system being controlled: the physical system being controlled may be mechanical, fluidic, chemical, thermal, or electrical;
2. actuator: the actuator provides the force or torque (or other relevant physical input) to the physical system being controlled. In mechanical systems, the actuator could be either translational (usually referred to as linear) or rotational;
3. sensors: sensors are the eyes and ears of the controller. Sensors are also referred to as transducers, although strictly speaking there are subtle differences between sensors and transducers; and
4. controller: the controller is the brain of the mechatronic system. It reads the input signals representing the state of the system, compares them to the required states, and outputs signals to the actuators to control the physical system.

  • Reading: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich: Stefan Dierssen’s “Module 2_1: Mechatronics Toolbox 1” Link: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich: Stefan Dierssen’s “Module 2_1: Mechatronics Toolbox 1” (PDF)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above and then click on the link titled “Module 2_1: Mecha.toolbox 1” to download the PDF (19 pages). Examine the presentation from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. This presentation will help outline the components of a mechatronic system.

    Reading this article should take approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.4 The Multi-Disciplinary Design Process   By definition, a mechatronic system is a multi-disciplinary system. For this reason, it requires a modern approach to the design process as opposed to the classical single disciplinary design process.

  • Reading: Engineering and Technology Magazine: Sarah Brady’s “Multidisciplinary Machine Building” Link: Engineering and Technology Magazine: Sarah Brady’s “Multidisciplinary Machine Building” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above and read this article. Sarah Brady emphasizes the importance of applying the multi-disciplinary design process in designing mechatronic systems. In some cases, the design process of mechatronic systems is referred to as systems engineering.

    From the article, you will note the following information.

 1. Modern engineering systems have become very complex. This
complexity is necessary in order to deliver the performance that we
have come to expect of modern systems. This complexity presents
difficulties to the designers as they have to integrate the various
disciplines while using a parallel design process.  
 2. You have already come across the concept of synergy. Synergy is
the phenomenon whereby a result is obtained by combining different
components, which is greater than or unachievable by using these
components on their own.  
 3. Reliability and quality can be achieved by applying the
multi-disciplinary design process. Reliability and quality are very
critical to the success of all modern engineering systems such as
manufacturing systems, home appliances, vehicles, and aircraft.  
 4. You may have noticed the use of the term *embedded* when
discussing controllers. This term is used to refer to a controller
(usually a microprocessor or a microcontroller integrated circuit)
that is located and integrated within the system to be controlled.  

 Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.