Mechatronics is a major driver in economic recovery. That may sound like an extreme claim, but it is something I experience with some regularity. Every time someone comes up with a better solution for a process or new way to make a piece of machinery, there is economic recovery.
Mechatronics doesn’t get the attention of the President of the United States. Maybe it should. But the American economy is affected every time someone develops a new process or machine. It just doesn’t make the headlines every time.
When companies compete for and wind marketsthare based on sales of machinery that others use in manufacturing. The company that produces increased throughput or new features and benefits adds values to its customers’ operations. And to the extent that machinery suppliers can capture that value for their customer, they their market, revenue and employment.
Mechatronics is what drives low prices for your favorite can of beer or soda that costs only pennies. From the high impact can maker that runs a snappy 240 cans a minute, to the pallitizing machines that load 80 cases of your favorite beverage in less than two minutes ready to ship out on a truck. All that productivity comes from mechatronics.
As the discipline of mechatronic engineering matures, the cost of that technology continues to decline creating new opportunities to drive new improvement with that technology in many different industries. Better motion control technology means higher speed, higher accuracy, reduced waste, ongoing reduction in complexity and decreased commissioning cost. All of which leads to new products, markets and economies.
Recently several suppliers like National Instrument and Rockwell have developed the interface between the design phase of mechatronics and the deployment of hardware. This new frontier is the simulation realm where engineers can simulate and iterate their design ideas in software extensions of the solid model environment. This development, while relatively recent, integrates the mechanical design environment with the applied aspects of mechatronics. And in doing so, simulation gives engineers the tools to quickly perform complete design iterations in a few hours, without the need for expensive hardware iterations, lowering the cost of design and increasing the performance of the results.
More and better motion control means new opportunities to grow the economy. Growing the economy is what we do best. So keep those great mechatronic products coming. They are more important than ever.