Home > Research Groups > Strategic Product Planning and Systems Engineering > Research > Design Methodology for Mechatronic Systems/Systems Engineering

Design Methodology for Mechatronic Systems/Systems Engineering

It depends on the domain-spanning specification of the product concept

Modern mechanical engineering products are characterized by a high degree of information and communication technology which is aptly expressed by the term mechatronics. The symbiosis of the domains mechanics, electrical engineering/electronics, control engineering, and software engineering opens up fascinating perspectives for the design of future mechanical engineering products. Some of the variegated possibilities are for example miniaturization, integration of new functionality as well as the possibility to provide products with inherent “intelligence”.

Two categories of mechatronic systems

The large variety of mechatronic systems can be expressed by two categories:

The first category is based on the integration of mechanics and electronics. The goal of these systems is a high concentration of mechanical and electronic functions on a small installation space. The major capability is miniaturization, small production costs, and a higher reliability. The assembly and connecting technologies are the central focus.

The second class deals with the controlled movements of multi-body systems. Here the focus lies on the improvement of the system’s behavior. Sensors collect information about the system’s environment as well as about the system itself. The system utilizes this information to derive optimal reactions. These reactions are realized by actuators. Thus systems arise that are able to react on changes of their environment, to detect critical modes of operation, and to optimize badly assessable processes by the use of control engineering.

Categories of mechatronic systems

Central sphere of activity: specification of the principle solution

Within the need for action on the way to a design methodology for the described systems, the main emphasis is on a holistic integrative specification of the principle solution. The gap between the list of requirements, which is more or less a rough specification of the total system and, hence, leaves much space for interpretation, and well-established specification techniques of the involved domains needs to be closed. The specification of the principle solution represents the basis for all the experts’ communication and cooperation in the course of the further concretization. During this concretization the different domains work in parallel.

Within the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 614 a specification technique in order to describe the principle solution of self-optimizing systems has been worked out. It includes mechatronic systems. The specification technique is based on the research of Frank, Gausemeier and Kallmeyer. Already at the beginning of the work, it became clear that a comprehensive description of the principle solution of a highly complex system needs to be divided into aspects. Those aspects are: requirements, environment, system of objectives, application scenarios, functions, active structure, shape and behavior. The behavior consists of a whole group because there are different kinds of behavior, e.g. the logic behavior of a circuit, the dynamic behavior of multi-body systems, electro magnetic compatibility etc. The mentioned aspects are mapped on computer by partial models. The principle solution consists of a coherent system of partial models because the aspects are in relationship with each other and ought to form a coherent system. It is necessary to work alternately on the aspects and the according partial models although there is a certain order.

Coherent system of partial models

The description of the environment, the application scenarios and requirement serve as the starting point. They are usually followed by the system of objectives, the function hierarchy and the active structure. The active structure represents the core of the principle solution in conventional mechanical engineering. The modeling of states and the state transitions and also the impacts on the active structure play a decisive role in the specification of a self-optimizing system. This kind of modeling takes place within the group of behavior models.

Our competences and service:

  • Development benchmark mechatronics
  • Integration mechanics/electronics (MID – Molded Interconnect Devices)
  • Conceptual design of mechatronic systems
  • Reorganization of development processes

Together with further partners we run the internet portal www.transmechatronic.de.