In the area of motion control, some people’s reaction to mechatronics can be, “What’s that?” even though they are implementing the methodologies behind the term. Several companies and organizations have embraced the terminology and methodology for motion control designs. The reasons are somewhat straightforward. “To combine all the mechanical, the electronics and all the products that come into motion control from the amplifiers to the motors to the gearboxes to the bus network systems,” says John Mazurkiewicz, president, Motion Control Assn., as well as product market manager, Baldor Electric Co.
“The word 'mechatronics’ seems to summarize and encompass everything that goes into motion control,” says Mazurkiewicz. He says mechatronics is definitely being used more frequently today than it was five years ago.
Without the mechatronics’ approach, users could experience problems. “They buy a motor from one company, an encoder from another company and a control from a third company and they make up their own cabling,” says Mazurkiewicz. And then the problems begin. For example, a control tripping out would cause fingers to be pointed. “Each organization was pointing their fingers to the other organization and the customer never got the problem solved,” he says.
“Today, what you find is that a lot of companies are offering the entire package,” says Mazurkiewicz. Baldor’s BSM C-series is one approach to an entire package. The brushless servo motor system has more torque and more horsepower capability but the motor and the control, as well as the cabling, are sold separately because special configurations are typically required.
Even though they are purchased separately, customers can rely on the pieces working together. “We run the motor and control and we come out with what we call a matched performance package,” says Mazurkiewicz. “We have the speed torque curves that tell you if you get this motor and this drive, this is the performance that you are going to get.” The cabling even gets included in the evaluation.
Baldor’s solution for increased system design is just one of many. A mechatronics-specific approach is taken by Danaher Motion. The company’s MechaWare 3.0 is a mechatronic tool kit that integrates mechanical systems and control software design for faster design cycles and improved motion system performance.
In this Trend Watch supplement, look for terms that indicate a greater consideration for the entire system. You’ll find them in every section.