Mechatronics is increasingly becoming an important concept as its principles combine a number of disciplines and are integral to modern manufacturing and automation system building, including mechanical, electrical/electronic, and computer engineering.
Automation in the packaging and processing industries is where mechatronics plays a key role, and Bosch Rexroth recently took the opportunity to show its influence in this arena through a demonstration called Mechatronics @ Work at the recently held Pack Expo in Las Vegas.
Bosch Rexroth defines mechatronics as "the intelligent selection and integration of mechanical and electronic components to accomplish complex automated manufacturing tasks," said Richard Vaughn, automation engineering supervisor for the mechatronics group at Bosch Rexroth. "It’s also the engineering discipline guiding the design and creation of electromechanical solutions, he said.
Bosch Rexroth took the opportunity to show mechatronics’ influence in manufacturing automation processes through a demonstration called Mechatronics @ Work at the recently held Pack Expo. The exhibition featured a number Rexroth technologies like the system pictured for mechatronics solutions in the packaging and processing industries (Source: Bosch Rexroth)
The company said it designed Mechatronics @ Work to showcase Rexroth drive and control technology and key mechatronics design and engineering principles and how they work together. The packaging and processing industries make up a major vertical business for Bosch Rexroth, and it's one area where it is innovating in the field of mechatronics. The company has published two technical white papers with recommendations for both mechanical engineers and electrical engineers on how to implement mechatronics solutions.
The demo in Las Vegas featured functions such as conveying, multi-axis motion, pick-and-place movements, and advanced motion control, all automation tasks commonly used in applications such as case packing, collating, and sorting, the company said.
Bosch Rexroth designed the showcase to demonstrate four key principles that the company considers crucial to select components for the design of mechatronics solutions. Those principles are: intelligent integration to ensure that mechanical and electronic components fit together easily and reliably; energy efficiency, to reduce energy consumption in machines or allow them to do more with less; modularity, so machines can be modified, upgraded, and reconfigured for changing needs; and ease of use, so human-machine interfaces make the machine easy to set up and operate.
Mechatronics @ Work used more than 15 different Rexroth technologies, including both proven systems and some newer technologies from the company. The exhibit included the following technologies: VarioFlow IndraMotion MLC L45 Open Core Engineering; the CKL linear module with ironless linear motor; the latest version of Rexroth’s IndraDrive Mi integrated motor/drive unit; the IndraWorks engineering software suite; IndraControl VEP flexible chain conveyors; and the IndraControl VEP15.6 multi-touch HMI, which has touchscreen capabilities that make operating machines similar to working with some of the latest personal computers, the company said.
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Elizabeth Montalbano is a freelance writer who has written about technology and culture for more than 15 years. She has lived and worked as a professional journalist in Phoenix, San Francisco and New York City. In her free time she enjoys surfing, traveling, music, yoga and cooking. She currently resides in a village on the southwest coast of Portugal.