ME6102 - Design of Mechatronic Systems
Prasanna S. Gandhi
The course has only one section - No such division of S1 or S2
This particular course primarily focuses on understanding the control systems and their applications. It covers all the aspects to design a physical control system. In every control system a good amount of theoretical and practical understanding is required of its various blocks such as plants, sensors, estimators, controllers, actuators. Both these aspects are covered but not into too much detail on the theoretical side, just an essential touch is given. Since this course is more of application based one requires a basic theoretical understanding of control systems, experience with microcontrollers and electrical breadboard circuits otherwise it is really difficult to cope up with the exams and assignments. Although this might not be true for an online semester.
Time Commitment Required
Since the course is application-oriented, it requires one to spend at least 4-5 extra hours apart from the class hours weekly for the project or assignments. Quizzes/Exams are based on your basic theoretical or practical understanding which is covered in the class and through the assignments.
Grading policy is quite relaxed as to an average student, AB is given. Most of the grades are either AAs, ABs or BBs.
The instructor does not mention anything about DX grade but suggests everyone punch biometric in every class. So it is suggested to maintain an attendance of a minimum 80%
[Some systems and control courses, OR ME 311 and MAC Lab (Not officially mentioned on ASC, so anyone can register)] One should have a basic theoretical understanding of control systems and some experience of working on microcontrollers and breadboard circuits. Officially no such prerequisite is mentioned, but it is difficult to do well in the course if these are not met.
Evaluation Scheme and Weightage
- Quizzes (may have viva) - 1 + 1 - 15%
- Missed quiz - 0
- Assignments - 15%
- Course Project - 25% (4 presentations/ demos for evaluation)
- End sem - 40%
- Class participation - 5%
Topics Covered in the Course
- Introduction, applications of mechatronic systems. Elements of the mechatronic system: Sensor, actuator, plant, and controller. Hands-on experience with CDROM drive, scanner, or similar such system/s.
- Integrated mechanical-electronic design philosophy. Integrated analysis tools and examples, selection of sensors, actuators and drive systems.
- Microcontrollers for mechatronics: interfacing, programming, selection of microcontroller. UI and software requirements.
- Control design in linear and nonlinear domains for rigid body and compliant motion systems, control implementation: various techniques; practical issues in implementation: friction, backlash, noise; digital control fundamentals.
- Signal processing for mechatronics and Fast Fourier Transform (FFT), analog and digital filters, signal processing for nonlinear control.
- Advanced topics in mechatronics: Example: MicroMechatronic, Opto-mechatronics. Note: This is too much content to be covered thoroughly in just one semester, hence none of the above topics is covered in detail, they are just introduced or an overview is given. Focus is more on their application.
Mechanism of Instruction and Teaching Style
The instructor teaches through slides but they do not have much content. Usually, they have an overview of the topic being taught. Hence it is suggested to make notes of what he says or covers on the board in the class and whatever example devices he brings in the class. Apart from lectures in the class, there are some lectures which occur in the MAC lab (1 floor, Mechanical Department) to teach basic requirements for lab activities to be given as assignments or to be asked in the exams.
Assignments and projects in the Course
Both moderate to difficult
Project: The course consists of a project which weighs around 25% and can be done in a group of maximum two. The project starts after a month from the start and submission is usually after the end sem. The projects require you to build a mechatronic system which serves some purpose, one can propose their own topic to the instructor or the instructor gives a set of projects from himself. Since the projects are hardware-based, a limited expense (<4000 INR) is covered through the course. The instructor allows students to use his lab for the project provided the lab instructions are followed. The instructor also arranges one-one sessions for project discussions based on requests which show his enthusiasm about the course and learning of students. If one really wants to build something novel, it would require to spend a good amount of time (4-5 hours a week). (Considering the given situation this seems impossible)
Assignments: The two assignments are given in the course and they are not just paper and pen-based but they involve performing simulations and lab-based activity. Simulations are usually the implementation of some theory taught in the class. The lab assignments involve dealing with various electronic components (such as CPU, hard drives) and then implementing something out of it using a microcontroller. Both of these are indeed something new to learn, as working with either simulation of even simple mathematical systems or implementing something on simple hardware has their own difficulties apart from problems in theoretical understanding we face in the usual courses. Implementing simulation gives a detailed understanding of the physical system we work with and lab activity helps us to validate the assumption we make during theoretical development and simulations.
Quizzes: (Moderate) Pen-Paper based, some questions are informative which is usually covered in the class. About the analytical questions, the necessary theory is covered in the class (may or may not be in the slides).
Midsem: (Moderate to Difficult) Completely lab-based, if assignments and lab activities are done sincerely, and gained familiarity with the microcontroller and its computer interface, familiar with reading datasheets of various electrical components and have knowledge of basic control systems, it is easy to cope up with the exam
Endsem: (Moderate to difficult) Pen-paper based, the pattern is similar to quizzes, but endsem questions require more thinking than quizzes or they may be lengthy
As and when required, the instructor shares the relevant material. Making your own notes is suggested as slides also only have overview of every content.
Importance of Course
This particular course primarily focuses on understanding the control systems and their applications. It covers all the aspects to design a control system in mechatronics devices. Mechatronics is an interdisciplinary field of engineering which primarily deals with the study of both mechanical and electrical systems, also including a combination of robotics, telecommunication, computer science, electronics, systems and control, production engineering, etc. The intention of the mechatronics is to design a solution that unifies each of these subfields. Originally it was meant only for the mechanical and electrical systems but as the complexity of the devices increased, the definition has been broadened to the other subfields as well. wikipedia. This course just gives exposure to this field, and if someone has just entered in control theory and want to pursue it further. For a person who has been doing controls through other courses or projects, this can course can be taken as the closure of what they have studied by implementing it in their project.
Other Interesting Links
This youtube channel has very good videos on control theory. I have attached here one introductory video here!
Anything else relevant to the course
In summary, this course is focused more on applications of frequently used concepts in control systems than dealing with the mathematical depth of it. One should not take this course if they are expecting to study a rigorous control theory. It is also advised that students should ask the professor how is he going to manage the course in the coming given the current situation and inclination of the course.
Review by: Aniruddha Ranade