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The where and how of mechatronics

Mechatronics and Industry 4.0

 

Mechatronics engineers’ skills are used in automotive, aerospace, aviation, manufacturing, oil and energy industries. As Industry 4.0 (fourth industrial revolution) uses cyber-physical systems to incorporate connected devices that exchange data and make decisions, mechatronics is considered an enabling factor of and key component to Industry 4.0.

 

Mechatronic systems engineering plays a pivotal role in Industry 4.0.

 

Mechatronic systems and control have combined a range of mechatronics engineering disciplines to engineer intelligent solutions.

Mechatronics engineering – roles and responsibilities

 

Common responsibilities of a mechatronics engineering department include, but are not limited to:

 

  • Identifying opportunities to streamline operations or workflows using automation or integration with other systems.
  • Designing and testing mechatronic device and product prototypes.
  • Troubleshooting and supporting various mechatronic solutions and devices.
  • Developing computer-driven controls, such as systems for:

                 - Warehouse control

                 - Enterprise resource planning

                 - Sensing and control

  • Conducting feasibility studies to understand the potential ROI of various mechatronic solutions and implementing them.

 

Where is mechatronics used?

Mainly prevalent in manufacturing sectors like industrial, electronic and automotive, for example, the most common applications where mechatronics engineering would be applied are:

  • Robotic automation
  • Home and building automation
  • Computer-driven machinery
  • Medical imaging
  • Robotic surgery
  • Machine vision and inspection
  • Sensing and control
  • Temperature/humidity cotrol
  • Automotive engineering (automotive mechatronics)
  • Computer-aided design and production (such as CNC)
  • Transportation
  • Mechatronics and automation

Mechatronics engineers are used across industry, but most of the work falls in the highly automated manufacturing sector. It involves working on mechatronics systems that directly support automotive, aerospace, consumer and industrial goods sectors. Essentially, they leverage their expertise to develop and maintain smart technologies.

Bosch Rexroth SA – leaders in mechatronics

Mechatronics company Tectra Automation has implemented a new mechatronics-engineered test bench that proves the efficiency of Bosch Rexroth electromechanical cylinders over pneumatic cylinders. It also proved the connectivity and control potential of Bosch Rexroth’s open core engineering.

The test bench helped prove that electromechanical cylinders provide more force over a longer service life than its pneumatic counterpart (almost double the lifecycle), and that plant operators can control plant processes remotely from multiple devices. By incorporating various control systems on to the test rig, Tectra Automation proved that adopting open core engineering and software engineering innovations for control, that operators can control all aspects of their plant from remote devices.

Electro mechanical cylinders are proved more efficient with mechatronics.

Mechatronics – other names and definitions

Although hailed as an emerging field, mechatronics has, in fact, been around in one form or another for several decades. The term ‘mechatronics’ itself dates back to 1969 and mechatronics engineers have, in the past, been cloaked in other easily recognisable engineering specialties.

Many of these specialties fall within the broad category of mechatronics and automation, although specific engineering disciplines include:

  • automation engineer
  • control system engineer
  • data logging engineer
  • instumentation engineer
  • project engineer
  • software engineer
  • systems engineer
  • service engineer

With regards to defining the niche scope of work falling in the domain of mechatronics engineers, the term has been defined in different, but similar ways. Some of the accepted definitions include:

Mechatronics engineers play a key role in engineering design, R&D, sales, production management and safety and quality. They design, develop, maintain and manage engineering systems that have cutting-edge sophisticated technology.

The Bosch Rexroth South Africa Group of Companies’ entire product range are used within the mechatronics engineering technology discipline.

Our mechatronics solutions
Mechatronics in manufacturing is implemented on hydraulic systems too.

Hydraulics

From single components through to complex solutions for industrial & mobile hydraulic applications, we offer the world’s leading technologies.

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Mechatronic machinery can be used in pneumatic applications.

Pneumatics

Order a complete range of pneumatic components & solutions, from pneumatic cylinders to valves for machinery applications & engineering.

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A control system in mechatronics is still a prerequisite for mechatronic automation.

Electric Drives & Control

Get drive & control solutions for factory automation & machinery applications: software, drive systems, components & integration services.

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Mechatronics systems and control have improved assembly technology solutions.

Assembly Technology

Find all the motion & assembly technologies you need, from basic mechanical elements to turnkey conveyor & transfer systems.

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Automation mechatronics is part and parcel of industrial mechatronics.

Vacuum Technology

Discover your ideal vacuum technology with over 3 500 components tailored to your lifting, assembly & handling applications.

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Mechatronics control can be used in vacuum applications for smoother processes.

Filtration Technology

View our complete filtration offering for industrial & mobile applications to enhance your hydraulic machine’s performance.

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The role of mechatronics in advanced manufacturing is becoming increasingly important.

Linear Technology

Select your solution from over 30 linear motion technology systems from the world’s leading linear motion brands, Accuride & Bosch Rexroth.

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Many mechatronic systems make use of linear technology.

Process Valves

Get all your industrial valves, ball valves, butterfly valves & pneumatic & electric actuators, for use in the oil & gas industry.

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Mechanical and mechatronic engineering complement one another in many applications.

Hose & Fittings

Choose from an extensive range of hydraulic fittings & hose accessories, including hoses, tubes, couplings, flanges, adaptors & accessories.

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Contact Bosch Rexroth South Africa on +27 11 979 4630 for your requirements or complete the enquiry form.

 

Careers in mechatronics

Various engineering disciplines can be followed by qualified mechatronics engineers. In addition to following a career as a mechatronics engineer or mechatronics technician, the following engineering specialities can also be considered:

  • Robotics engineer/technician
  • Automation engineer
  • Control system design/troubleshooting engineer
  • Electronics design engineer
  • Mechanical design engineer
  • Data scientist/big data analyst
  • Instrumentation engineer
  • Software engineer

The types of industries in which this technology is used are numerous and include:

  • Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics
  • Telecommunications and Information Services
  • Agriculture, Food and Forestry
  • Biotechnology, Life Science and Medical Equipment Design
  • Renewable Energy
  • Transportation and Logistics
  • Security and Defence

 

Mechatronics and robotics

As far as robotics and mechatronics are concerned, there is a perception that mechatronics and robotics are different fields. However, this is incorrect. As mechatronics is the study of interactions between mechanical and electrical systems and control theory, it is actually a superset of robotic technologies and is sometimes called mechatronics robotics. It covers a diverse field of electro-mechanical systems, from simple on/off controls to sophisticated robotics.

The Bosch Rexroth South Africa Group of Companies brings you the world’s leading hydraulics, pneumatics and automation brands for all your mechatronics requirements.