What is Mechatronics?
What is mechatronics engineering? - Mechatronics definition.
Mechatronics is a synergistic combination of precision engineering, electronic control and mechanic systems. It is the science, that exists at the interface among the other five disciplines:
It is one of the most dynamically developing fields of technology and science. The word 'mechatronics' appeared for the first time in Japan in 1969.
mechatronics = mechanics + electronics + computing
Mechatronics - the genesis
The term mechatronics was introduced to the technical terminology by the Japanese company Yaskawa Elektric Corporation (a company founded in 1915) and since 1971 it has been protected as a trade name. Mechatronics in the initial period was understood as the design and construction activities involving the inclusion of electronic components and systems to the functional structure of various precision mechanisms. In 1982, Yaskawa Elektric Co.. resigned from the patent protection of its trademark and from now on we can all use this term. Today it means mechatronics engineering activities including designing, testing and operation of machinery and equipment, in which there is a high level of functional integration of mechanical systems with electronics and computer control. Mechatronics is an interdisciplinary field, combining in a synergistic manner the classical knowledge of mechanical engineering, hydraulics, pneumatics, electronics, optics and computer science. The aim of mechatronics is to improve the functionality of technical systems and the creation of new concepts of machinery and equipment with built-in 'artificial intelligence'. In various literature sources several definitions of mechatronics can be found, almost all of them put the emphasis on the functional integration of mechanical actuators with electronics and computer control, eg:
mechatronics includes programmable electronic devices and electromechanical systems for embedded, distributed structure of the sensors, processing signals, actuators and communications.
Isermann  defines mechatronics as a combination of knowledge from three disciplines - mechanics, electronics and computer science.
Mechatronics was formed in the engineery environment of automation and robotics, where the 'mechanical' way of solving the design was not adequate to the expectations and opportunities that provide other areas of technology, particularly electronics, optoelectronics, materials engineering, especially computer science .
Mechatronics engineering may be regarded as a modern approach to automation techniques for the broadly defined needs of engineering and education. It can be assumed that mechatronics is an interdisciplinary field of science and technology, dealing with general problems of mechanics, electronics and informatics. However, it contains too many related mechatronic areas that form the foundation of mechatronics and cover many well-known disciplines such as electrical engineering, power electronics, digital technology, microprocessor technology, and other techniques. Mechatronics engineering provides an opportunity, not only humanization of machines, but also it changes the mindset and the approach to technological issues and most importantly teaching new technologies and ways of acquiring knowledge and skills. The most important feature of mechatronic devices is the ability to process and communicate information accurately in a form of different types of signals (mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, optical, chemical, biological), with high level of automation of these devices.
The basic assumption for the design of mechatronic devices is the acquisition by the device itself which is responsible for the lower levels of the process (task) to allow the user to focus on higher-order functions. Mechatronic device structure can be considered at two levels: abstract, consisting of the conjunction of partial functions of the main function device and the specific plane, consisting of the combined structural parts and assemblies, which are natural carriers of various functions involved. The integration of mechatronic device structure is a result of links among 'smart' teams which communicate and cooperate. The linking mechanical structure, sensors, actuators and information processing occur as a result of mass flow of streams, of energy and information.
- Isermann R.: Integrierte mechanisch-elektronische Systeme. VDI-Z, nr 10, 1993.
- Isermann R.: Mechatronische Systeme. Springer Verlag, Berlin, 1999.