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Mechatronics is the complete integration or adoption of electrical,
electronics, computer technology and control engineering with mechanical
engineering. (OR)
Mechatronics is the synergistic combination of mechanical engineering,
electronic engineering, computer technology, control engineering and systems in
the design and manufacturing of products and processes.

Mechatronics plays a crucial a role in the design, manufacturing and

maintenance of a wide range of engineering products and processes. As a
consequence of this it has become necessary for engineers and technicians to have skills and knowledge that are not
confined to a particular field or area of specialization.
Automation and control methods adopting integrated approach to technology have become relevant to
industries, machineries and consumer engineering products. Mechatronics is an enabling discipline, has emerged to
cater to the need of sophistication and flexibility in the system, and in fact has become a preferred choice for the current
generation for real-time automation and control solutions in place of traditional systems. Most of the domestic
equipments like washing machines, automatic cameras, and digital cameras are a few examples of Mechatronics
system which we use without bothering to know the technology adopted in it.
Productivity and quality level of many mechanical products and mechanical systems have considerably improved
in the recent years, thanks to Mechatronics.

1.1 Multi disciplinary scenario:

Multi disciplinary systems are not new; they have been successfully designed and used for many years. One of
the most common is the electro-mechanical system which often uses a computer algorithm to modify the behaviour of a
mechanical system. Multi-disciplinary system employs a sequential design-by-discipline approach. For example in the
design of electro-mechanical system three stages of designs were adopted. They are design of mechanical system,
design of micro-electronic system and control system. Each design application was after the completion of the previous
one. The major drawback of design by discipline approach is fixing the design at various stages in the sequence which
resulted in new constraints from the design up to that stage. The new constraints would make the other design to
exhibit poor performance and fail to meet the new constraints. The errors are costly to repair, major source of problem
in the inherently complex nature of design. The solution to this is Mechatronics approach design which offers solution to
the problems of sequential designing by applying concurrent engineering.
1.2 Origins of Mechatronics:
The field of Mechatronics received the international recognition only in the last few years. The word
Mechatronics was coined by Japanese in the late 1970 to describe the philosophy adopted in the design of subsystem of
electro-mechanical systems. There have been major advances in technology and method in those early days and these
were available to manufacturing sectors. Although Mechatronics is relatively a new term compared to many other fields
of engineering, it now appears to be firmly established. At research and development (R&D) level the following areas
have been recognized under Mechatronics discipline.
a. Motion control
b. Actuators and sensors
c. Micro devices and optoelectronics
d. Robotics
e. Automotive systems
f. Modelling and design
g, System integration
h. Manufacturing
i. Vibration and noise control

1.3 Evolution of Mechatronics:

As evolution process exits in all aspects of life: so also in Mechatronics. The technology has evolved through
several stages that are termed as levels. The evolution levels of Mechatronics are:-
a. primary level Mechatronics
b. secondary level Mechatronics
c. tertiary level Mechatronics (third)
d. quaternary level Mechatronics (fourth)

a) Primary level Mechatronics: In the early days Mechatronics products were at primary level containing l/O devices
such as sensors, actuators integrated electrical signals with mechanical action at the basic control level.
Example: Electrically controlled fluid valves and relays.
b) Secondary level Mechatronics: This level integrates microelectronics into electrically controlled devices. Sometimes
these products are stand alone ones. Example: cassette player.
c) Tertiary level Mechatronics (third): This incorporates advanced feedback functions into control strategy, thereby
enhancing the quality is terms of sophistication. A Mechatronics system at this level is called smart system. The
control strategy includes microelectronics, microprocessor and other Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC),
Example: hard disk, CD drives, automatic washing machines etc.
d) Quaternary level Mechatronics (fourth): This level incorporates intelligent control in Mechatronics system. This
level attempts to improve smartness a step ahead by introducing intelligence and Fault Detection and Isolation (FDI)
capability systems. Example: Artificial neural network and Fuzzy logic technologies.
1.4 Advantages and disadvantages of Mechatronics:
1. The products produced are cost effective and very good quality.
2. High degree of flexibility
3. Greater extent of machine utilization
4. Greater productivity
5. High life expected by proper maintenance.
6. The integration of sensor and control system in a complex system reduces capital expenses.
1. Higher initial cost of the system.
2. Imperative to have Knowledge of different engineering fields for design and implementation.
3. It is expenses to incorporate Mechatronics approaches to existing/old systems.
4. Specific problem of various systems will have to be addressed separately and properly.

1.5 Applications of Mechatronic systems:

The areas are:
1. Automotive machines
2. Fax and photocopier mechanics
3. Computer aided and integrated manufacturing systems
4. Automatic washing machine, dishwashers
5. Air conditioners, elevator controls
6. Documents scanners
7. Medical mechatronicss, medical imaging systems
8. Robotics employed in welding, nuclear inspection, painting etc.,
9. VCRs and CD Players
10. Machine vision

1.6 Need for Mechatronics:

1. To adopt an interdisciplinary & integrated approach to engineering.
2. Globalisation
3. Increased competition.
4. Necessity for high variety products, shorter lead times.
5. Effective & Judicious use of automation.
6. Flexibility & consistency.
7. To understand interrelation b/w various disciplines.
8. To understand & appreciate modern techniques.
9. To have a greater focus on quality management.
1.7 Objectives of Mechatronics:
The primary objective of mechatronics is to integrate the mechanical systems with electrical, electronics and
computer systems and to provide multidisciplinary approach to product development and manufacturing system design.
As a discipline, mechatronics encompasses electronics enhancing mechanics and electronics replacing mechanics.
The Secondary objectives of mechatronics are:
To improve efficiency of the system
To reduce cost of production
To achieve higher precision and accuracy
For easy control of systems
Customer satisfaction and comfort

1.8 Mechatronics systems:

Mechatronics system is the technology which involves at least more than one system.
A system is an arrangement or a combination of physical components that are connected together or related
together to form an entire unit to achieve a certain objective.
A system can be thought of as a box or block diagram which has an input and
an output. In system approach of mechatronics, we are concerned only on the
relation b/w the output and the input
Ex: Electric motor can be considered as a system which has electric power as input
and the rotation of shaft as output.

1.8.1 Measurement system:

A measurement system can be defined as a system which is used for making measurements. (or) A group of elements
forming a system to carry out the act of measurement is called measurement system.
It has its input the quantity being measured and its output the value of that quantity.
Ex: In a temperature measurement system, input is given as heat and output as a no. which indicates the temperature in
some units.
In a voltmeter, voltage across two power lines becomes input and the voltage indicated on the display unit is the output.
General elements of a measurement system: Generally a measurement system is considered to be made up of three
basic elements. They are;
1. Sensor/Transducer
2. Signal conditioner
3. Display or readout device

1. A Sensor/Transducer which responds to the quantity being measured by giving as its output a signal which is related
to the quantity to be measured. The output of this unit is input to the signal conditioner which is next element.
For example, a thermo- couple is a temperature sensor. The input to the sensor is a temperature and the output is
an e.m.f which is related to the temperature value.
2. A Signal conditioner takes the signal from the sensor and manipulates it into a condition which is suitable either for
display, or, in the case of a control system, for use to exercise control. Thus, for example, the output from a
thermocouple is a rather small e.m.f and might be fed through an amplifier to obtain a bigger signal. The amplifier is
the signal conditioner.
The following functions of signal conditioners are:
I. Amplification of signals: the level of signals from the transducer may be of low level for the next use and hence
need to be amplified (increased).
II. Attenuation: similarly the level of signals from the transducer may be of higher level for the next use and hence
need be attenuated (decreased).
III. Filtering: signals from the transducer may contain some other undesirable signals which need to be filtered or
eliminated before it is used. Otherwise a corrupt output will be generated.
IV. Analog to digital conversion (ADC): the signals from the transducer may be analog in nature and if these signals
were to be used as input to electronic system/computer system, they need to be converting to digital form.
Similarly sometimes we use DAC.
3. A Display system where the output from the signal conditioner unit is displayed and this display will be the
quantitative form of the measurand. The display unit may be analog (dial gauge) or digital (LED) type. For example, a
pointer moving across a scale or a digital readout.

Ex: Consider a digital thermometer; this has an input of temperature to a sensor, probably a semiconductor diode. The
potential difference across the sensor is a measure of the temperature. This potential difference is then amplified by an
operational amplifier to give a voltage which can directly drive a display. The sensor and operational amplifier may be
incorporated on the same silicon chip.
1.8.2 Control System:
A control system is an arrangement of physical components connected or related in such a manner as to command,
direct or regulate itself or another system. (Or)
A group of devices/elements which maintains the required output based on the predefined value by controlling the
parameter responsible for output constitutes a control system.
For instance, consider a domestic air-conditioning control system. The input to this system is the temperature
required in the house and its output, the house at that temperature.
Following are some examples of control system applications:
1. Steering control of automobile.
2. Print wheel control system.
3. Industrial sewing machine.
4. Sun-tracking control of solar collectors.
5. Speed control system.
6. Temperature control of an electric furnace.

Classification of Control systems

Control systems are classified into the following two basic types:
1. Open-loop control systems (Unmonitored or non-feedback control systems)
2. Closed-loop control systems (Monitored or feedback control systems)

1. Open-loop control systems (Unmonitored or non-feedback control systems):

An open-loop control system is one in which the output is dependent on the input, but input is independent of
output or change in output. In these systems, the output is neither measured nor compared with the input. There is no
feedback from the output to the input. Hence, the actuating signal depends only on the input command and output has
no control over it.

The elements of an open-loop control system can usually be divided into the following two parts:
(i) Controller Unit (ii) Processing Unit/Controlled Process

An input signal or command is applied to the controller, whose output acts as the actuating signal; the actuating signal
then controls the controlled process so that the controlled variable will perform according to prescribed standards.
i. ON/OFF of an electric lamp: Electric lamps are used for lighting the lamp. ON/OFF control is carried out with the help
of a switch and the switch is generally operated by an operator depending on the amount of light that exist in that area.
If the switch is ON, the lamp is glow. If the person operating the switch does not switch OFF, the lamp will remain ON
until he switches OFF. So it is called open loop control system.

ii. Control the temperature of the room with room heater: the amount of heat developed by a room heater depends on
the amount of input power controlled by a regulator. If the power is switch ON, the power supplied to the heater
continues and temperature of the room goes on increasing immaterial of whether heat is required in the room or not.
Here, the person has to go and switch OFF the power supply and there by cooling the temperature of the room.

Advantages and limitations of open-loop control system:

1. Simple construction.
2. Easy maintenance.
3. Less costly than a closed-loop system.
4. Inherently stable
5. Convenient when output is difficult to measure or measuring the output precisely is economically not feasible.
Limitations / Disadvantages:
1. Since the system is affected by internal and external disturbances, the output may differ from the desired value.
2. For getting accurate results, this system needs frequent and careful calibrations.
3. Any change in system component cannot be taken care of automatically.
4. The control depends on the human judgment.

2. Closed-loop control systems (Monitored or feedback control systems):

A Closed-loop control system is one in which input is depend on the output. i.e., variation in the output
influences the input by some means of controlling on the input. A closed loop control system is characterized by the
presence of feedback system.
The feedback system permits the output to be compared with the reference input so that appropriate
controlling action can be achieved. The main feature of the closed loop control system is the comparison of the actual
value of the variable with the desired value of that variable and any difference between these two values (called error)
causes action to be taken in such a manner that it eliminates this difference or make the error zero.
The basic elements of a closed-loop control system are:
(i) Comparison element
(ii) Control Unit
(iii) Correction Unit
(iv) Process Unit
(v) Measuring Element/
Feedback Unit

1. Comparison element
This compares the reference value of the variable that to be controlled with the measured value of what is being
achieved and produces an error signal.
Error signal = reference value signal - measured value signal
2. Control element
This unit analyzes error signal and decides what action to be taken when it receives an error signal. It may be, for
example, a signal to operate a switch or open a valve. The manipulation of the control unit is such that the error will
approach zero.
3. Correction element
The modified signal from the control unit will be received by the correction element which produces a change in the
process to correct or change the controlled condition. The term actuator is used for the element of a correction unit
that provides the power to carry out the control action.
4. Process element
The process is what is being controlled. It could be the speed of motor, speed of vehicle, central heating unit, central
air conditioner, tank of water with its level being controlled etc,
5. Measurement element / Feedback unit
The measurement element is used to produce a signal related to the variable condition of the process that is being
controlled and sends the signal to the comparison element.

Ex: i) One of the best examples of a closed loop system is human being. Consider a person who wants to reach for a
book on the table, position of the book is given as reference; feedback signal from eyes compares the actual position of
hands with reference position. Error signal is given to brain. Brain manipulates this error and gives signal to the hands.
This process continues till the hand reaches the book.
ii) Automatic Speed Control system: In this system, speedometer measures the actual speed of the engine and
compares with desired speed to generate the error. Based on the error controlling elements such as eyes and brain
takes a decision and leg muscle and accelerator is actuated to increase or decrease the speed of the engine.

iii) Constant water level in a tank: The reference value is the initial setting of the lever arm arrangement so that it
just cuts off the water supply at the required level. When water is drawn from the tank the float (feedback element)
moves downwards with the water level. This causes the lever arrangement (control element) to rotate and opening
of flap (correction element) takes place which allows water to enter the tank. This flow continues until the ball has
risen to such a height that it has moved the lever arrangement to cut off the water supply

iv) Room Heating System: In this system, thermostat acts as a feedback element, its function is to sense the actual
temperature and compares with the desired temperature. Based on the deviation obtained, control element (relay)
and correction element (switch) are activated to produce necessary signal to the process element (furnace) so as to
obtain the desires output temperature of the room.
Advantages and limitations of Closed-loop control system:
1. More accurate comparatively.
2. Usually performs accurately even in the presence of non-linearity.
3. Change in system Component is automatically taken care of.
4. The use of feedback system response is relatively insensitive to external disturbances and internal variations in
system parameters. It is thus possible to obtain the accurate control of a given plant.

Limitations / Disadvantages:
1. Generally complicated in construction
2. Generally higher in cost and power
3. May become unstable at times.
4. High maintenance cost.

1.8.3 Comparison between Open-loop and Closed-loop Systems:

Open-loop Closed loop

1. Less accurate. 1. More accurate.

2. Generally build easily. 2. Generally complicated and costly.

3. Stability can be ensured. 3. May become unstable at times.

4. Less accurate More accurate 4. Less accurate More accurate

5. Slow in response to change in demand 5. High in response to change in demand

5. It usually performs accurately even the presence of

6. Presence of non-linearity causes malfunctioning.
7. Any change is system component cannot be taken 6. Change in system component automatically taken
care of automatically. care of.
7. The control action is provided by the difference
8. Input command is the sole factor responsible for
between the input command and the corresponding
providing the control action.
9. The control adjustment depends upon human 8. The control adjustment depends on output and
judgment and estimate. feedback element.
10. Examples: 10.Examples:
ON/OFF of electric lamp, Controlling of fan speed, etc Liquid level control system, Traffic signal system, etc
1.8.4 Sequential controllers:
There are many situations where control is exercised by items being switched on or off at particular preset times
or values in order to control processes and give a sequence of operations. For example, after step 1 is complete then
step 2 starts. When step 2 is complete then step 3 starts, etc.
The term sequential control is used when control is such that actions are strictly ordered in a time or event
driven sequence. Such control could be obtained by an electric circuit with sets of relays or cam-operated switches
which are wired up in such a way as to give the required sequence. Such hard-wired circuits are now more likely to have
been replaced by a microprocessor-controlled system, with the sequencing being controlled by means of a software
Working of washing machine is a sequential control system where in control is exercised based on event, or
parameter etc., i.e., control action will be executed one after another event. The events to be carried out in a domestic
washing machine are soaking, washing, rinsing and drying. Each of these operations involves a number of steps.


Microprocessors are integrated circuits made out
of silicon. This chip can only process data. If the
processing job to be effective and useful it should be
integrated with memory and input and output devices. So
the data received from input device is stored in the memory and used as when required for the purpose of processing.
The processed data is again stored in the memory and send to the output device for further display or application.

Microprocessors are now rapidly replacing the mechanical operated controllers and being used in general to
carry out control functions. They have the great advantage that a greater variety of programs become feasible. In many
simple systems there might just an embedded microcontroller, this being a microprocessor with memory all integrated
on one chip, which has been specifically programmed for the task concerned. A more adaptable form is the
PROGRAMMABLE LOGIC CONTROLLER. This is a microprocessor-based controller which uses programmable memory to
store instructions and to implement functions such as logic, sequence, timing counting and arithmetic to control events
and can be readily programmed for different tasks. Fig. shows the control action of a programmable logic controller, the
inputs being signals from switches being closed and the program used to determine how the controller should respond
to the inputs and the output it should then give.

Fig: Programmable Logic Controller

The mechanical mechanisms like speed governors, cam actuated valves and switches, rack and pinion driven analog
indicators are being replaced by microprocessor based controllers. The main features of microprocessor controllers are
Variety of programs can process the multiple inputs to give multiple outputs.
The programs can be altered/ reprogrammed to change the output specifications.
There is programmable memory to store instructions and carry out control functions.
The processors being integrated chips are compact in size embedded in any circuit

1.9.1 Block diagram of a microprocessor based processor control system of an Automatic camera:

o Camera is used to photograph an object, the switch is pressed which activates the system.
o The range sensor sense the distance of the object to be photographed and this data is input to microprocessor.
o The microprocessor in turn sends on output to motor to drive to position the lens for focusing.
o The position of the lens is input to microprocessor.
o Next the light sensor sends the signal of light intensity on the object to microprocessor.
o Based on this, signals are sent to control the duration of time the shutter have to be kept open.
o All these action and reaction take place within a fraction of second.
o Once the film has exposed, the information is input to the microprocessor which gives output for driving the
motor for advancing the film to drive and the camera is ready for the next exposure.
1.9.2 Block diagram of microprocessor based processor control system of Engine management system:

o Engine management system is used for managing the ignition and air/fuel requirement of an IC engine.
o In the case of four stroke multi cylinder petrol engine, each cylinder has a piston performing all the four stroke
(suction, compression, working or expansion and exhaust strokes)
o The pistons of each cylinder are connected to a common crankshaft and their power strokes occur at different
times so that there is continuous power for rotating the crankshaft.
o The power and speed of an engine are functions of ignition timing and air/fuel mixture.
o Hence, by controlling the ignition timing and air/fuel mixture it is possible to control the speed and power of the
o In modern cars the ignition timing, opening and closing of valves at appropriate time, quality of air/fuel mixture
are controlled by microprocessor with the help of sensors.
o For ignition timing the crankshaft drives a distributor which makes electrical contacts for each spark plug and
turns a timing wheel.
o The timing wheel generates pulses which are input the microprocessor.
o The microprocessor as per the program adjusts the timing at which high voltage pulses are sent to the
distributor so that spark occurs at the right time resulting in complete combustion of fuel.
o The quantity of air/fuel mixture entering the cylinder during suction stroke is again controlled by microprocessor
by varying the time for which the solenoid is activated to open the intake and throttle position.
o The quantity of fuel injected into the air stream is sensed by sensor of the mass flow rate computed from one
method, and then input to the microprocessor which in turn gives an output to control the fuel injection.
1.9.3 Block diagram of a microprocessor based processor control system of Automatic washing machine:

o This is a sequential control system wherein control is exercised based on event, or parameter etc., i.e., control
action will be executed one after another event.
o The events to be carried out in a domestic washing machine are soaking, washing, rinsing and drying.
o Each of these operations involves a number of steps.
o Soaking involves selection of correct quantity of detergent and water based on the type and amount of cloth.
o This requires opening of the valve to fill the machine drum to required level and closing the valve once the
required level of water has reached and rotating the drum in either directions for a pre-set amount of time
during the soaking operation.
o This is followed by washing which is a time parameter event.
o Then the rinsing event which measures the pH value using a chemical sensor of water in the drum and compares
it with supply of water.
o This event continues till the pH value of the water in the cloth and the supply water are equal.
o Finally drying operation till the minimum percentage of moisture is retained in the cloth.
o All these events were earlier controlled with the help of mechanical system involving a set of cam operated
o In modern washing machine mechanical system is replaced by digital devices. i.e., a microcontroller and the
sequence of instruction; program embedded in the microcontrollers.

1. Define Mechatronics. What are the advantages and disadvantages of Mechatronics?

2. Briefly explain the evolution of Mechatronics.

3. Explain the differences between conventional approach and Mechatronic approach to product design.

4. Discuss measurement system and its constituent elements.

5. What is a control system? Explain open loop and closed loop control system with examples.

6. Discuss the basic elements of closed loop system with an example.

7. Compare between open-loop and closed-loop control system.

8. What is sequential controller and explain with a block diagram working automatic washing machine.

9. Draw the structure of a programmable logic controller and mention the functions of each block.

10. Explain with block diagram the working of microprocessor based automatic camera.

11. With the help of block diagram explain microprocessor based engine management system.