Mechatronics: A Novel Paradigm in Nepalese Industries
Mechatronics: A Novel Paradigm in Nepalese Industries
Mechatronics is a multidisciplinary field of science that includes a combination of mechanical engineering, electronics, hydraulics, pneumatics, software etc. This leads to a decrease in the number of interconnects between the mechanical parts and the next digital bus. This system approach shows, compared to the existing solutions, a higher functionality, more intelligence, and better reliability performance. The number of interconnects necessary to link a motor, or sensor, or an actuator, to the next digital bus decreases, as the smartness of the devices increases.
Mechatronic systems are used in different fields e.g. industrial goods, consumer products and automotive equipment. Current and future mechatronic as well as micro-electromechanical systems are shown on the basis of technological trends and market requirements. e.g. reduced fuel consumption and emission for automotive technology. Effective as well as efficient design of mechatronic systems are fundamental prerequisites for competitiveness in a harsh industrial environment.
- Applicability of Mechatronics in Nepalese Industries
2.1. Concept of Unmanned Ground Vehicle
One of the potential applications of mechatronics in Nepalese industries is the development of an Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) for task-oriented industry applications. The same technology in civilian applications is often called driverless car, automatic, autonomous or robotic. The development of UGV requires design of vehicle platform, communication links, remote control station, human-machine interface and software architecture. Communication delay and usability tests are the key challenges to be addressed. The UGV consists of subsystems: locomotion system, energy system, positioning system (GPS), sensor system, navigation system, motion control system and communication system. There is also a need for an interface for human-machine interaction (HMI).
2.2. Small Man-portable Robots in Industries
These are typically used to defuse bombs and other explosive devices and are remotely operated. Also, some portable robots can be designed for surveillance purpose. An automated intrusion detection system with inventory assessment capability is another potential application area of mechatronics.
2.3. Remotely Operated De-mining Vehicles in Military Operations
Clearance of landmines and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) is a challenging, time-consuming and expensive activity utilizing manual deminers and Mine Detection Dogs (MDD). For these reasons, ensuring that clearance takes place only in areas where mines/ERW contamination are confirmed remains one of the most important objectives of the remotely operated de-mining vehicles. The main purpose of remotely operated de-mining vehicles is to act as a remotely operated vehicle in risky, radioactive or otherwise hazardous environments.
Determining the exact location of minefields or cluster munition strikes can be one of the most difficult tasks faced by military personnel of NA. Mechanical demining systems can greatly increase the effectiveness and efficiency of mine/ERW clearance operations when it is detected/ operated remotely using various sensing technology. A variety of mechanical systems can be manufactured to destroy and detonate mines which is controlled remotely in combat zone.
Both anti-personnel mines and anti-tank mines can be removed using the remotely operated de-mining vehicles. This greatly helps to combat engineers of Nepalese Army to accomplish their task of clearing mines. So that the troops or vehicles can be planned to advance through the mine-cleared ways.
2.4. Vehicle Automation with Smart features
It includes sensors that can sense the environment outside the vehicle. The new vehicle automation features can control the speed or position of the vehicle or help the driver to do it.
Adaptive cruise control (or intelligent cruise control) typically uses a IR or LASER scanner to measure distances to the obstacles in front of the car. The cruise control system can then adjust vehicle speed to match the speed of the vehicle driving in front and keep sufficient distance to it. Some of these systems can also apply the brake to avoid collisions or lessen the damage of an unavoidable collision. Intelligent speed adaptation is a system where the vehicle can access a database of speed limits to determine the currently active one for the vehicle. This information can be used to limit the speed that the vehicle can be driven at, or it can use force-feedback on the accelerator pedal so that the driver feels it in the pedal when he is speeding.
Lane departure warning systems use cameras to monitor lane markings. If the driver is about to exit the lane without signaling, the system alerts by vibrating the steering wheel. Some systems include lane keeping assistance by applying the brake on the opposite side or by steering to keep the vehicle in the lane. The manufacturers stress that the driver still has to be alert and driving.
Parking automation systems are also becoming more common. These systems can parallel park between obstacles on the side of the road. The system takes care of steering and the driver typically has to control the vehicle speed. Automated highway systems are systems where the vehicles can communicate and cooperate to drive automatically in queues. The aim is on the other hand to improve safety and on the other, lower the consumption of the vehicles. When the vehicles are able to communicate, they can brake simultaneously. This allows shorter distanced between cars and thus lower consumption.
2.5. Mobile Robot Surveillance using RFID
The increasing need for automated surveillance systems in indoor environments such as airports, warehouses, military areas, sensitive zones etc. has stimulated the development of intelligent systems based on mobile sensors. The location of passive RFID tags can be estimated using a surveillance mobile robot equipped with RF reader and antennas, and a laser rangefinder. It allows us to accurately localize tags with respect to the robot. The positions of the tags in a map of the environment is also estimated, which aims at estimating the bearing of a tag relative to the mobile robot. It can be used when an approximate knowledge about the tag location is needed, or only the bearing information is required, such as in some robot localization methods.
2.6. Fire Sensing and Fire Fighting Robot
Another application of Mechatronics is an intelligent multi sensor-based security system that contains a fire fighting robot. The security system can detect abnormal and dangerous situation and notify us. A firefighting robot with extinguisher is very useful for the intelligent and sensitive buildings.
The fire detection system can be designed by using flame sensors in the firefighting robot, and program the fire detection and fighting procedure using sensor-based method. A low-cost obstacle detection module can be designed using IR sensors and ultrasonic sensors in the mobile robot. The man-machine interface of the firefighting robot must be mobility and convenience.
- Advantages of Mechatronics
3.1 Saving time
An integrated mechatronics system is much faster in operation as compared to a system with different engineering concepts detached from each other. It saves a lot of time when products are imaged, sorted, measured, and recorded as they move in a belt as opposed to doing it in different stages and locations.
3.2 Increased output
A fast system means a good uptick in the execution capacity. Mechatronics has made it easy to manufacture mass amounts of products.
3.3 More cost-effective
When we have an automated mechatronics system, we need less manpower. That translates into savings in terms of labor costs. Besides that, an automated system is more efficient in operation, with less technical and input errors.
- Challenges of Mechatronics
4.1 The Mechatronics Design Process Is Serial and Slow
A typical machine design starts with mechanical engineers designing the machine mechanicals using CAD tools. Once they complete the CAD model and create a physical machine, electrical and controls engineers lay out the electrical system and program the machine controller. The design team performs the first test run of the integrated machine on the physical model. Any problems at this stage that require reworking machine parts can lead to long delays and increased expenses and can mean the difference between profit and loss for the machine builder.
4.2 Communication with among Design Team Members and Customers is Difficult
Understanding customer requirements and developing an appropriate design plan for the machine’s mechanical and control systems can be a long and involved process. Miscommunication with the customer in this process can lead to unsuitable machine design and increased cost. By using 3D CAD, machine builders have improved communication with their customers by providing a virtual model of machine mechanicals.
4.3 Complexity of Motor Drive Systems
Because of the complexity of motor drive systems, choosing a motor with the optimal size, cost, weight, and performance for an application is challenging. If a motor is too small, it can result in overheating, poor control performance, and difficult tuning. If a motor is too large, it can add unnecessary weight and cost to the machine. Machine builders can use virtual machine prototyping to improve the motor sizing process.
4.4 Design of Portable and Mobile Mechanical Structure
4.5 Design of Highly Sensitive Sensors
Mechatronics is regarded as a synergy and fusion of technologies, and involves a philosophy supporting new way of thinking and innovation. It represents a unifying paradigm that integrates, permeates, and comprehends fundamental and modern engineering. It concentrates on achieving the necessary synergy right through from the conceptual stages of the design process. In the context of Nepalese industries, this novel technology seems many potential application areas.
- Birk, A. & Kenn, H. (2001). An Industrial Application of Behavior-Oriented Robotics, Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Vol. 1, pp. 749 – 754, ISBN: 0-7803-6576-3, Seoul, Korea, May 2001.
- Di Paola, D., Naso, D., Turchiano, B., Cicirelli, G., & Distante, A. (2009). Matrix-based Discrete Event Control for Surveillance Mobile Robotics, (to appear in) Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems, Springer, 2009.