The concept of mechatronics come from Japanese origin which means the application of electronics and computer to control the mechanical motion. In other words, we can incorporate more and more electronics in technological and developed product mechanism. Mechatronics and mechatronics engineering is a combination of mechanical engineering with electronic and control system in designing and manufacturing the industrial products.
Earlier times of the automotive manufactures in automotive industry consist of both mechanical and electronics engineers each have their own capabilities. They work together but rarely involves each other’s activities. But the modern vehicle manufacturing requires involvement both engineers which have knowledge both electronics as well as a mechanical system.
These mechatronics engineers have to design a control system which specifying both electronics and mechanical components. They will have to design an entire control system and implement it on the vehicle. In order to do so, we need a Mechatronics engineer.
The application of mechatronics commonly seen in the automotive industry.
- Car Engine Management
Car engine management system consists of many control systems involving microcontrollers, the engine control system, turbochargers wastage control etc.
Fig 1: Automotive Mechatronics elements in car engine management system
- Electronic stability control
It uses sophisticated sensors and car central control system for a safe drive. It uses other safety and regulatory devices to correct the problem before getting into an accident.
- Wheel speed sensor
It compares the speed of the wheel with speed of the engine. The sensor is Fixed on each wheel.
- Cruise control acceleration and deceleration
This control system controls the speed of a car by adjusting the throttle position. The throttle valve controls the speed and power of the engine by limiting the amount of air taken in.
Fig 2: Cruise Control System in Car
Fig 3: Mechatronic throttle
It consists of a mechatronic throttle. Instead of pressing on the pedal the cruise control actuates the throttle valve by a cable connected to an actuator. The actuator consists of a small DC motor on throttle valve which controls air into it.
- Vehicle Dynamic Control System
The main components of this system are Yaw rate sensors and a lateral accelerometer. It compares the steering wheel position with that of the direction of motion.
- Anti-lock brake system
Fig 4: Anti-Lock Brake System
It prevents wheels from locking and skidding by braking hard or when braking on a wet surface. It provides safety for every day driving by preventing skids and allow the driver to control the steering
There many other areas where mechatronics has wide application which includes:
- Non-conventional vehicles (electro bicycles, cargo carriages, electro scooters, invalid carriages)
- Office equipment (for example, copy and fax machines)
- Computer facilities (for example, printers, plotters, disk drives)
- Medical equipment (rehabilitation, clinical, service)
- Home appliances (washing, sewing, and other machines)
- Micromachines (for medicine, biotechnology, means of telecommunications)
- Control and measuring devices and machines
Future outlook of mechatronics:
Despite automotive industry, in the much different application of mechanical engineering, mechatronics plays a vital role. Mechatronics and Mechatronics engineering will establish new trends in the factory, office, and home automation. Some typical mechatronics system has a dramatic increase in complexity during last few years The next generation of common rail diesel injection system there will be a sharp increase of a number of calibration level which has 5000-10000 calibration labels now.