Mechatronic systems are es- sential in today’s modern assembly production environment. The integration of linear motioncomponents, electronic controls, software,electric motors, and sensors provide a versatile toolbox for machine builders.
Assembly operations that use joining andpressing tools for a wide range of productionapplications are, like many manufacturers,seeking to improve the versatility, ease of use,and performance of their production tools.They are seeking mechatronic systems thattake advantage of the latest developmentsin both hardware and software to help improve precision and quality of the parts theyproduce.
At the same time, they also seek to addIndustry 4.0 capabilities to their operationsand production platforms. This includes taking advantage of enhanced tracking of dataabout each machine’s production, includingsimple yet efficient ways to share that information—in real time, if possible—withhigher-level production analytical systemsto improve their overall operations.
As assembly operations begin to embracethe benefits of Industry 4.0 technology, anew concept called “smart mechatronics”has evolved, offering more intelligence, sophistication, and functionality in pressingand joining, while also being easier to specify,order, and deploy.
Current and Emerging Pressing
and Joining Challenges
Manufacturers that make wide use of pressing
and joining applications in their production
are seeking ways to leverage Industry 4.0 tech-
nology to boost their productivity and keep
their pressing and joining tools in line with
the rest of their manufacturing platforms.
Through smart, well-engineered integra-
tion of linear components and electronic
motors, controls, and sensors, mechatron-
ics makes it easier for OEMs that supply
tools to the pressing and joining industry
to quickly build efficient, high-perfor-
mance manufacturing systems.
In some ways, mechatronic systems
could even be considered a forerunner of
Industry 4.0 technology: combining dis-
parate mechanical and electronic compo-
nents into solutions dedicated to specific
product assembly and transport tasks,
such as Cartesian robots and forming and
The smart mechatronics concept builds
on that value, creating manufacturing sys-
tems with features such as advanced sen-
sors and operator-friendly tools that do
not require sophisticated motion control
programming ability and are able to yield
real-time data for system performance and
Machine builders and end-users want
precise control and execution of motion
sequences, but also automated tracking of
production data and easy connectivity with
machine-level and plant-wide production
There is also a demand for greater versa-
tility and easier, faster changeovers: Many
pressing and joining production lines or
mid-size shops seek tools that make it easy
to produce a wide range of batch sizes,
from the low end of only a few thousand
parts up to hundreds of thousands, without
requiring extensive effort to re-program
tools for a new part.
From Integrating Components
to “Plug and Produce”
At one time, mechatronics pressing and join-
ing tools had to be integrated with com-
ponents coming from multiple suppliers:
drives and motors from one company, me-
chanical components like electromechan-
ical cylinders from another, controllers or
industrial PCs to run the machine from
someone else, plus all the requisite cabling
and power supply devices.
Leading mechatronics suppliers are replac-
ing that time-consuming acquisition and inte-
gration step with complete solutions that are
literally “plug and produce”: complete systems
with all the electronics, mechanical compo-
nents, sensors, cabling, communications in-
terfaces, and drive and control components,
including software that is preprogrammed
and delivered as a single production tool.
To streamline how these plug-and-produce
mechatronics solutions are specified, con-
figured, and purchased, a new generation of
online tools are being deployed. These tools
are designed to make it easier for engineers
that have just a basic understanding of linear
motion and controls requirements to create
a complete solution.
Following sizing and configurator prompts,all the components for a complete mechatronic solution—a Cartesian robot or a pressingor joining tool—can be specified in a singleprocess. Users can enter parameters suchas stroke, workpiece weight, and cycle timewhich then generates an output that can beverified in the CAD environment.
Faster, More Intuitive,More Intelligent ProductionEasier, faster commissioning is one major advance provided by the new smart mechatronicsystems and the technology that supports it.Equally valuable is the improved efficiency,flexibility, and productivity it is providing forassembly operations that incorporate joiningand pressing applications.
Photo courtesy of Bosch Rexroth
Easier, faster commissioning is one majoradvance provided by the ne w smart mechatronicssystems and the technology that supports it. Equallyvaluable is the improved efficiency, flexibility, and productivity itprovides for assembly operations that incorporate joining, pressing,and other applications. Photo courtesy of Bosch Rexroth