Long gone are the silos of electrical, mechanical and computer engineering. Today's automobiles are made with complex embedded systems. In fact, it's hard to find a system in an automobile that doesn't have dozens of microprocessors.
Understanding the fundamentals of mechatronics, the integration of mechanical, electrical and software components in a system has never before been so important for automakers, suppliers and engineers to learn.
To help automotive engineers to learn about mechatronics and tackle its integration challenges, editors at Design News, Control Engineering, EDN and Test & Measurement World are hosting a day a one-day, free expo and conference titled, Mechatronics 2.0: Driving Innovation in the Auto Industry on Tuesday Sept. 9.
Mechatronicszone.com is a microsite of Design News.
"Automotive design is very embodiment of mechatronics, involving mechanical, electrical, control and software engineering," says John Dodge, editor-in-chief of Design News. "That's why there isn't an automotive engineer in the greater Detroit area who should miss the mechatronics expo."
The event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ford Motor Co. Conference & Event Center in Dearborn, MI. Advance registration is encouraged.
Keynoting the conference is David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research and Tom Watson, vice president of Engineering and Technical Planning Light Vehicle Systems at ArvinMeritor. Watson is best known for his work as the lead engineer on Ford Motor Co.'s hybrid for which earned him Design News's prestigious Engineer of the Year award in 2006.
"We've got a great lineup of speakers and case studies that will help engineers tackle everyday problems they might encounter," says Dodge.
One of the workshops includes a case study by Siemens PLM. Siemens' engineer Greg Deren will explore the role of PLM, Product LifeCycle Management, in embedded software development. He will present a case study of Ford Motor Co. and the implementation of the Siemens Teamcenter product. The workshop will also address critical needs and challenges PLM solutions need to look at in order to become an indispensable platform for embedded software development.
The MathWorks' Wensi Jin will speak on model-based design, emerging safety standards in the automotive industry, how mechatronics is increasingly used in safety critical systems and how their development needs to be compliant with safety critical development standards. The focus of this workshop will be on how to use model based design effectively for such systems, with a focus on the overall development process and key process steps.
Rich Swortzel, vice president of Business Development for MotoTron, a Brunswick company, will look at mechatronic control solutions in hybrid vehicle systems. Swortzel will review the adoption of model-based engineering with production code generation. The session will also look at the organization of engineering activities, including hybrid vehicle systems and the inclusion of quality processes to coincide with rapid product development.
"As consumers drive the want for cars to become more robotic and greener, learning how to integrate complex electrical, mechanical and computer systems is even more critical," says Dodge.
"Vehicles are comprised of mechatronics system upon system," he says. "An engineer with practical knowledge that they can apply outside of their core concentration has a leg up. In these challenging economic times, having a broad set of skills is virtually a requirement to any notion of employment security."
Mechatronics has been practiced in Asia, Europe and Australia.
Click here for more information about the Mechatronics Expo in Detroit or to register!