First Advisor

Hormoz Zareh

Term of Graduation

Spring 1998

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering




Mechatronics, Object-oriented methods (Computer science), Communication



Physical Description

1 online resource (iv, 81 pages)


Today's engineering designers must adapt to a changing model of product development. In the past, a single engineer could design, develop and deploy competitive systems --this is often no longer the case. Designing a mechanical system with integrated microprocessor control requires the collaboration of a cross-disciplinary team of engineers and, in many cases, no single member of the team understands the workings of the entire system. Consequently, as systems become increasingly complex, the ability to collaborate and reliably communicate design information becomes more and more crucial. Effective communication 1s particularly critical in conceptual design, where a poor decision has the highest potential cost. Efficiently exchanging conceptual design information requires a medium that can encapsulate complex, domain-specific concepts and yet be generically readable and concise. This thesis surveys recent work in the area of engineering design and the communication of conceptual design information. Research in these areas is contrasted with the current practices of Mechatronics Engineering, and potential gaps in the literature are identified. This work suggests that the integration of systems architecture and the mechatronic concept could provide an incremental step towards improving the design of mechatronic products.

Chapter 1 presents a short introduction to the concepts of mechatronics and conceptual design. A brief history of the evolution of mechatronics is also presented. Chapter 2 reviews recent work in engineering processes, with a focus on how recent developments relate to mechatronics engmeermg. In this chapter, quality functional deployment, concurrent engineering, object-oriented methods and systems architecture are discussed. Chapter 3 focuses on specific processes and tools for the development of mechatronic systems, including integrated design and simulation, the mechatronic design process, and current issues in mechatronics engineering. Chapter 4 discusses current work in the area of conceptual design, with a focus on the communication of conceptual design information. Chapter 5 reviews the previous chapters to identify areas of mechatronics that are in the most need of additional research. Finally, in Chapter 6, conclusions are drawn and recommendations are made.


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