A graphical framework for component selection in mechatronic design of robotic systems

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The successful function of complex engineering systems, particularly those which provide a dynamic performance capability to a system, is usually largely dependent on the correct specification and selection of components to be used in that system. Whilst material selection and part design for housings, etc. are critical tasks, in any system required to provide some physical capability (displacement, pressure, measurement capability, etc.) it is entirely likely that components selected to achieve this - such as motors, bearings, etc. - will be instrumental in defining the extent to which performance goals are met for that system. Unlike material selection and part design tasks, there are noted to be markedly fewer strategies and methods to support engineers through successful and effective completion of this task. Despite acknowledgement of the absolute significance of this task and the outputs it yields in many design methodologies, academic literature which explores this topic is found to be limited. Commercial solutions to the problem are also found to have various issues, as is explored in this project. The components selected in a system have an extremely large role to play in the capability of the system to perform as needed, therefore providence of solutions which improve the effectiveness of engineers in effective completion of this task are argued to be of upmost significance. At its core, this thesis contributes a framework to support component selection in the design of mechatronic actuators, supporting a process where step-by-step guidance is offered through concept and embodiment design stages. Underlying the core framework and its process guidance, a number of other novel methods are proposed as a means to enhance effectiveness and efficiency in approaching and completing discrete tasks within the overall selection procedure. In this thesis, particular focus is given to the use of a novel graphical method of conveying component performance criteria in a way which supports informative and intuitive interrogation of the information they present. Application of the framework is completed in the context of mechatronic actuators utilised in robotic sub-systems. The contributed framework is assessed through 3 separate case studies undertaken to assess the effectiveness of this approach. These case studies vary in use case and requirement, allowing the adaptability of the proposed approach to be assessed. From these case studies, analysis takes place through discussion, simulation, and physical testing of the developed systems, allowing for a wealth of qualitative and quantitative information to be gathered upon which assertions can be made. Discussion is presented surrounding the overall performance, and conclusions are delivered to provide a verdict on the interpretations of the solution's effectiveness.
Date of Award9 Oct 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsEPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) & University of Strathclyde
SupervisorXiu Yan (Supervisor) & Erfu Yang (Supervisor)

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