Design of mechatronic systems with high availability in very harsh operating conditions
The use of mechatronic systems in very harsh environments requires a strengthened and seamless interlocking of the individual components. This paper presents the methods and approaches that were developed during a research project for the stabilization and increase in the reliability of such systems. This includes a catalogue of measures for the mechanical and electronic design of such intensely-used systems as well as a software framework. Using the example of an inline marking system for castings, it is shown how mechatronic systems installed in harsh operating environments can be protected both constructively as well as through the use of modern control, regulation, and monitoring systems. The developed catalogue of measures is based in the first step on a questionnaire, in order to investigate the primary features of the system. Based on this questionnaire, in the second step the mechanical and electrotechnical loads were determined. Harsh operating environments can be understood as high loads with metallic and non-metallic dust, very high temperatures (>500°C), high electromagnetic interference, and high mechanical loads. In the third step, corresponding countermeasures can then be selected from the catalogue of measures and combined as appropriate. Similar to these measures, in a fourth step – after the initial mechanical and electrotechnical design has been completed – the necessary software components for the controlling, monitoring, and protection of the system can be selected.
In the final step of the design, the overall system is examined and – through any necessary iterations of steps two to four – the interfaces between and the requirements of the individual mechatronic components are adjusted.