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Mechatronics in Action Case Studies in Mechatronics Applications and Education by David Bradley and David W. Russell | PDF Free Download.
Worldwide interest in mechatronics and its associated activities continue to grow annually. One indicator of this growth is a large number of mechatronics-based conferences on offer.
When the first of what became the Mechatronics Forum conferences were organized in 1989, this was the only conference series which had mechatronics in its title.
Searching the internet today reveals a myriad of national and international groups and organizations promoting mechatronics events As Memiş Acar says in his history of the Mechatronics Forum which appears as the Forward to this book,
the word mechatronics is generally taken as having being coined in the early 1970s by Tetsuro Mori of the Yaskawa Electric Co. in Japan. Interestingly, from 1972 to 1982, mechatronics was a registered trademark of the Yaskawa Electric Co.
It was not until the early 1980s that other organizations began to use the term in order to describe the philosophy of design teams.
Long before the word mechatronics came into general use it was recognized in the industry that in order to facilitate innovation and increased efficiency in manufacturing and product design, it was vital for engineers and technicians from the disciplines of mechanics and electronics to work in synergy as teams rather than independently.
In my particular research area of marine systems, it is well known that the pioneering work of both Minorski  and Sperry  during the first quarter of the 20th century led to the development of automatic steering, or the ship steering autopilot.
The evolution of the autopilot was itself made possible by the parallel development of powered rudders, or steering machines, and especially the electrically driven gyrocompass which overcame the problems associated with magnetic compasses which had their readings corrupted by local magnetic fields and the electrical systems in ships.
Indeed, the invention of the electrically driven gyrocompass is arguably the most important breakthrough in ship control systems design, and its incorporation into the ship steering autopilot is probably one of the first examples of mechatronics in action.
The important legacy of Sperry and Minorski’s innovative work and their seminal publications is the three-term or proportional-integral-derivative (PID controller which continues to be the industry preference and standard for automatic control systems.
Whilst the above focuses on marine systems, it is evident that the mechatronics philosophy encompasses many disciplines and applications, a fact which is not only succinctly reinforced by David Bradley and David W. Russell’s introductory chapter to this book but also by the range of topics presented in the accompanying chapters.
John Millbanks’s chapter covering the interrelationship of mechatronics and sustainability is a timely reminder that the mechatronics philosophy in more than simply ensuring the initial product design is right; it is equally applicable for whole life/cradle-to-grave considerations.
Other important and key applications of mechatronics in action which are at the leading edge of technological developments pertaining to the road, rail, and air transportation systems, i.e., fly-by-wire, steer-by-wire, brake-by-wire, tilting trains, aircraft, and space vehicles, where embedded microprocessor systems facilitate and augment the necessary interface between electrical and mechanical components and subsystems.
The book also contains two chapters that address mechatronics education, an area that is often popular and well-attended at sessions at the Mechatronics Forum and other conferences.
It is pleasing to see that mechatronics courses at pre-degree, degree, and postgraduate levels offered by universities in Europe, the Far East, and America are on the increase, but disappointing that in the United Kingdom, mechatronics courses have not been as popular as would be expected.
This is the case despite the UK industry’s well-publicized requirements for engineers and technicians who are well-versed in both electrical and mechanical engineering.
A solution to this is for bodies such as the Mechatronics Forum to continue to promote the mechatronics philosophy through its conferences, seminars lectures, and books.
I, therefore, commend the authors for producing this extremely informative combination of topics, which taken together, demonstrate the importance of mechatronics and the significant impact that mechatronics inaction has on our daily lives.
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