A new generation of machines and mechatronics systems

How do you make machines and mechatronics more energy efficient and perform better? On 3 March, Sirris and Flanders Make will present the results of the Eco-mechatronics project in which they support around 50 companies to develop a new generation of products.

Performance remains a key focus area for machinery and mechatronics, although increasing demands are being made on these products with respect to energy consumption, use of materials, emissions, noise generation and vibration. These demands are being made as a result of legislation, but also by the market. For product manufacturers (machinery, mechatronics systems and components), this presents an opportunity to take a step towards a new generation of high performance, energy efficient and user-friendly machines.

But what is the best way of getting started? And what is the potential level of improvement over current machinery? 

More and more new mechatronics technologies are becoming available for making systems perform better, consume less energy and being user-friendlier. Energy efficient electric motors, energy storage technologies (batteries, supercapacitors, etc.), advanced industrial control hardware, low noise machine components, etc. The potential of these technologies can only be estimated once the current levels of performance have been properly analysed. This cannot be done without actual machine measurements, since machines are most often operated in a way that was not initially considered at the design stage.

Which new technologies are worth using and how do you integrate these in the design? 

Taking account of the different design objectives with respect to performance, energy consumption and noise for example is clearly a challenge for mechatronics system design. Applying the appropriate design methods can make this easier. This is not only going to lead to better products, but it can also reduce development time and costs. You can improve the performance of machinery with model-based design and simulations so that the need for - expensive and time consuming - prototypes can be reduced.

Eco-mechatronics: moving towards a new generation of machines and mechatronics systems

Sirris and Flanders Make (previously FMTC) have been supporting 50 SMEs over the previous four years to approach these challenges by way of the Eco-mechatronics project. The results will be presented to a wide ranging target audience at the closing seminar on 3 March 2015 in Ghent: machine builders and manufacturers of production installations, through to manufacturers of mechatronics components.

Interested? Further information about the seminar and registration is available at http://www.flandersmake.be.

Further information about the Eco-mechatronics project and industrial case studies can be found at http://www.sirris.be/expertise/ecomechatronics.