Mechatronic features in Product Modelling

Mechatronics is the synergetic combination of mechanical engineering, electronic control and system thinking in the design of products and processes. Nowadays, most products contain not only mechanical parts, but increasingly electronic and software parts.

Mechatronic systems are multidisciplinary products and therefore the knowledge required for developing such products/systems is broad. Currently, there is a lack of integrated development methodology for mechatronic products. Mechanical engineers develop their design in a geometric domain, the electrical components are engineered in an electrical domain and then there is also a software department. They all have different views on mechatronic products.

When designing a mechatronic system, it is possible to design the mechanical construction before any of the control system design has been initiated. An obvious drawback of this “throwing-over-the-wall” approach is the lack of congruence between the subsystems which results in additional effort and cost to meet the specifications of the total system. Another drawback of this approach is that during the design process decisions have to be made about whether to use a mechatronic or just a mechanic solution. Designers have to make trade offs between mechanical and electronic solutions. Without interaction between the different domains it is difficult to find a suitable solution. Not only the selection of materials and the knowledge about process constraints with respect to the geometric possibilities of parts play a role, but also the selection of completely different working principles from different domains. It is clear that designers need help with their increasingly complex and multidisciplinary task.

It is necessary to support the designer to rapidly review alternative designs during the design process and facilitate the correct choice.

The research focuses on the possibility of expanding the feature concept.


Ilanit Lutters-Weustink

University of Twente

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Design, Production and Management group

P.O. Box 217

7500 AE Enschede

The Netherlands