Mechatronics could be Next Frontier for Indian engineering

Mechatronics is the combination of Mechanical engineering, Electronic engineering, Computer engineering, Software engineering, Control engineering, and Systems Design engineering in order to design, and manufacture useful products. Mechatronics is essential in the design of intelligent products with improved flexibility, performance, reliability and maintainability. In recent years, mechatronics has gained much significance due to high demand on system performance – clearly this is an opportunity not yet fully exploited by the large engineering talent pool in India.
Which is why we reached out to a leader in this emerging niche – Mahindra Satyam --to help us understand ( and share with our readers) the promise and potential of Mechatronics. When a respected player in the automotive business joined hands with leading software company Satyam, it already had two of the four ingredients that today define Mechatronics. The rest they built up -- to create a new discipline: Integrated Engineering Solutions or IES.

IndiaTech Online spoke to Karthikeyan Natarajan, Senior Vice President and Head IES and  Raman K Vaidyanathan, Vice President, Embedded Systems Practice at Mahindra Satyam’s Bangalore facility for insights into Mechatronics challenges being addressed today.

Mechatronics and integrated engineering today involves a broad range of solutions such as design and development of motion control drives and sensors, system integration, AI & Fuzzy logic based testing and validation, automation and analysis. It extends across multiple domains like aerospace, automotive, industrial, consumer and semiconductors.

Automotive: The massive adoption of electronics in automobiles is predicted to have a substantial impact on the design and manufacture of the subsystems going forward. These innovations are not only triggering increase in complexity but they are also becoming a major cost driver. This cost mitigation will be achieved from better integration of the individual systems (mechanical and electronics) in product development and from making smarter decisions earlier in the development phase. Examples are anti braking systems, electronic steering systems, chassis technology, power train. In this context

With Mechatronics expertise and frugal engineering approach, Mahindra Satyam’s IES helped a global automotive supplier in designing an innovative electronic power steering system with 25% reduced cost. This solution saved $10 million for the customer. For a leading OEM, IES provided optimized designs for motors and controllers, charging and battery management solutions for electric vehicles.

Industrial equipment: Mechatronics is becoming predominant in industrial automation and process control applications. Examples are: a vision-guided robotic manipulator that has capability to pick and place harness loops; an artificial intelligence and fuzzy logic-based comprehensive motor testing technique for reducing total testing cycle time, predictive analysis and remote diagnostics of electrical machines; remote monitoring software package which connects to electrical equipment (such as generator) that is equipped with embedded controllers. With this tool, users can monitor multiple systems from a single PC and they can check site status or servicing personnel to remotely diagnose via SMS alert, phoneline or ethernet connection.

Mechatronics has helped industries in conceptualizing and designing smart valves (valves with unique drive/actuation mechanisms and controls) catering to the evolving market trend where all traditional mechanical/electro-mechanical control systems are being replaced by electronic systems. These smart control systems are extensively used in process, retail and industrial plants.

Consumer Products: Mechatronics is being adopted increasingly in consumer appliances such as washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, micro ovens. Demand-response solutions for smart appliances in order to manage consumer consumption of electricity in response to supply conditions in electricity grids is another example.

For More on Mechatronics:
What is Mechatronics:  
What is Mechatronics and why teach it:  
Mahindra Satyam IES:  
Sep 2 2011