Engineering design is a complex process which involves interaction between many skills and discipline. In traditional design, the components are designed through mechanical, hydraulic or pneumatic components and principles. But in a mechatronics approach, mechanical, electronics, computer technology and control engineering principles are included to design a system. Figure shows the schematic of traditional and mechatronics approach to design the system.
For example, the design of a weighing scale might be considered only in terms of the compression of springs and a mechanism used to convert the motion of spring into rotation of shaft and hence movements of a pointer across a scale. In this design measurement of weight is dependent on the position of weight on the scale.
If we want to overcome the foresaid problem, other possibilities can be considered. In mechatronics design, the spring might be replaced by load cells with strain gauges and output from them used with a microprocessor to provide a digital readout of the weight on an LED display. This scale might be mechanically simpler, involving fewer components and moving parts. But the software is somewhat complex.
Similarly the traditional design of the temperature control for a central AC system involves a bimetallic thermostat in a closed loop control system. The basic principle behind this system is that the bending of the bimetallic strip changes as the temperature change and is used to operate an ON/OFF switch for the temperature control of the AC system.
The same system can be modified by a mechatronics approach. This system uses a microprocessor controlled thermo couple as the sensor.
Such a system has many advantages over a traditional system. The bimetallic thermostat is less sensitive compared to the thermodiode.
Therefore, the temperature is not accurately controlled. Also it is not suitable for having a different temperature at a different time of the day because it is very difficult to achieve.
But the microprocessor controlled thermodiode system can overcome foresaid difficulties and is giving precision and programmed control. This system is much more flexible. This improvement in flexibility is a common characteristic of the mechatronics system when compared with a traditional system.
Comparison of traditional and mechatronics design
|S.No||Traditional design||Mechatronics design|
|1||It is based on a traditional systems such as mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic systems.||It is based on mechanical, electronics, computer technology and control engineering.|
|2||Less flexible.||More flexible.|
|3||Less accurate.||More accurate.|
|4||More complicate mechanism in design.||Less complicate mechanism design.|
|5||It involves more components and moving parts.||It involves fewer components and moving parts.|
How is a traditional design of flow control in a large pipe improved by mechatronic design?
The traditional design of flow control system in a large pipe can be improved by using fluid flow sensors such as improved by using fluid flow sensors such as venturimeter, turbine flow meter etc. along with servo motor controlled valves.