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Challenges in Designing Mechatronic Systems
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark.
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.), Mechatronics.
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, University of Montreal.
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.), Mechatronics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7550-3134
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2013 (English)In: Journal of mechanical design (1990), ISSN 1050-0472, Vol. 135, no 1, 011005- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Development of mechatronic products is traditionally carried out by several design experts from different design domains. Performing development of mechatronic products is thus greatly challenging. In order to tackle this, the critical challenges in mechatronics have to be well understood and well supported through applicable methods and tools. This paper aims at identifying the major challenges, by conducting a systematic and thorough survey of the most relevant research work in mechatronic design. Solutions proposed in literature are assessed and illustrated through a case study in order to investigate if the challenges can be handled appropriately by the methods, tools, and mindsets suggested by the mechatronic community. Using a real-world mechatronics case, the paper identifies the areas where further research is required, by showing a clear connection between the actual problems faced during the design task and the nature of the solutions currently available. From the results obtained from this research, one can conclude that although various attempts have been developed to support conceptual design of mechatronics, these attempts are still not sufficient to help in assessing the consequences of selecting between alternative conceptual solutions across multiple domains. We believe that a common language is essential in developing mechatronics, and should be evaluated based on: its capability to represent the desired views effectively, its potential to be understood by engineers from the various domains, and its effect on the efficiency of the development process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 135, no 1, 011005- p.
Keyword [en]
Cooperative Design, Model
National Category
Embedded Systems
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-107512DOI: 10.1115/1.4007929ISI: 000314095800006ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84882931509OAI: diva2:576338
XPRES - Initiative for excellence in production research

QC 20130306

Available from: 2012-12-12 Created: 2012-12-12 Last updated: 2013-04-16Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Model and Dependency Management in Mechatronic Design
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Model and Dependency Management in Mechatronic Design
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Managing consistency is a major concern in the design of complex engineering systems. At times, inconsistencies may lead to wrong decisions, resulting in design flaws which can compromise safety and cause failures. One cannot forget the 1999 NASA unmanned MARS Climate Orbiter, which was destroyed due to use of inconsistent units by design teams. Sadly, the history of inconsistency causing failures does not end there. In 2006 Airbus suffered a massive 6.1 billion dollar loss due to use of inconsistent specifications in different versions of design tools. So what causes inconsistency, and how best to avoid it? These are some of the critical questions behind the research reported in this thesis.

Today's engineering systems cannot be designed by a single individual, but require the efforts of design teams each managing a portion of the overall problem. Naturally, information exchange between teams is necessary for effective decision making. However such communication is often error-prone and inadequate to manage dependencies between tasks, operations, components or properties. As a consequence, inconsistencies and design errors arise, which may cause catastrophic failures.

This thesis investigates the nature of dependencies, typically in the design process of mechatronic products, and proposes an approach for model and dependency management. The proposed solution is based on an expressive Domain Specific Language which enables capturing dependencies (between disparate models) formally and explicitly. This language is called the Dependency Modeling Language (DML), and the supporting tool is named the Dependency Modeler. The overall approach is exemplified through a robot design example, where the DML is used to capture dependencies between mechanical design and control design models. In support of the DML, dependency patterns gather known dependency relationships between different types of properties - such as a pattern between system hierarchy and mechanical CAD assembly. Model transformations are essential to support execution of such patterns and to support the necessary information exchange between disparate models to enable dependency modeling. Transformations supporting the dependency pattern between system hierarchy and mechanical CAD assembly are illustrated for the robot example. Initial reflections on the Dependency Modeler show a strong potential to support change management, workflow management and consistency management.

Future work targets further development and testing of DML in order to achieve a sound platform for dependency management. A development environment supported by an integration framework - encompassing different model-based design tools - is envisioned as an infrastructure for model management in mechatronic design. It is hoped that such an infrastructure will equip designers with the best possible tools to make better decisions and to spot design errors that might otherwise be fatal.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2013. xviii, 145 p.
Trita-MMK, ISSN 1400-1179 ; 2013:03
Dependency Modeling, Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE), Mechatronic Design, Model Integration, Tool Integration, Common Language, Mechatronic Challenges, Domain Specific Language.
National Category
Embedded Systems
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-119522 (URN)978-91-7501-664-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-03-27, B319, Brinellvägen 85, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)

QC 20130318

Available from: 2013-03-18 Created: 2013-03-15 Last updated: 2013-03-18Bibliographically approved

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