Automation and Robotics
The work covers the various aspects of automation and application of robots in industry in particular in the area of automatic assembly.
Dedicated and Flexible automation systems; criteria for selection of automation systems;
Robotics : Mechanical elements ; co-ordinate systems; drive mechanisms.
Robot programming and control; software function; interfaces to controller; position /motion/ hybrid control.
Programming robots: On -line using proprietary robot programming languages e.g. VAL3 directly and using the teach pendant emulator; Off - line programming languages e.g. GRASP.
Applications: choice of robot; robot tooling; ancillary equipment; performance specifications.
Use of sensors in automation; sensor types contact, proximity, force, vision systems.
Dedicated automation systems: materials handling; analysis and control functions.
Assembly: Part feed systems; orienting devices e.g. vibratory bowl feeder; tooling; Materials handling devices e.g. indexing devices; conveyors.
Placement devices: Pick and place;
Workheads: Fixing methods
General: Line balance of assembly systems; Reliability in automation; Cost justification of automation; Job analysis; Implementation of automated systems
Programmable Logic Controller hardware. Programming Languages: IEC61131-3, LD, IL, ST, FBD & SFC.
PLC Software Design Methods
Combinational, Sequential and Continuous Control . Analogue Value processing. Cyclic & Interrupt processing.
Design in Fault Diagnostic Techniques.
Sensors and measurement systems selection. Discrete: Proximity, limit switches.
Analogue.Transducers, amplifiers, signal conditioning.
Closed Loop Control, ON/OFF, P, PI & PID. Controller Tuning methods: Reaction Curve, Ultimate Cycle. PID digital control algorithms. Simple Software filter.
Safe design. BS EN 60204-1, BS en 954-1, PUWER 98. Control Panel design.
Industrial Communication Systems. Fieldbus systems, OPC Servers,
Human Machine Interfaces (HMI). Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) Systems. Distributed Databases, I/O Drivers, Tags, Alarm Handling, Trending, Historic Data, HMI Design.
The student will learn about important elements of project management, such as planning, control, cost, problem solving skills, report writing and defend the outcome during a viva session. The project is normally completed during 13 weeks of full time research or part time equivalent, 26 weeks.
The mechatronic approach will be stimulated and rewarded by applying it to the design of a practical product or process that would offer some enhanced performance compared with other alternatives.
Mechatronic design process:
Definitions of Mechatronics, advantages of microprocessor system control, Mechatronic design process: product and process design applications, advantages of Mechatronic design approach. Evaluate current technology developments that have improved mechatronic design of products or processes.
Design a product or process using a Mechatronic design methodology: Conceptual design: user requirement specification, embodiment design, standards, safety regulations: selection of measurement system, controller hardware and software, actuator system, signal conditioning, human-machine interface; design of application program; integration of components.
Evaluate a Mechatronic design application: Reliability, accuracy, speed of response, productivity, robustness, ease of maintenance, minimisation of capital and running costs, ease of manufacture, product quality, minimisation of pollution and waste products. Evaluation of design procedure.
Research Skills and Project Management
- Managing a research project: selecting, planning and execution
- Team work.
- Information searching, information sources.
- Data: organising, processing and presenting.
- Reports: evaluation and review, structuring and writing.
- An overview of project management.
- Quality management.
- Time management and cost control.
- Performance monitoring and difference resolution.
- Project implementation, completion and evaluation.
Sustainable Energy Technologies
Review, mathematical analysis and application of renewable energy resource data for the detailed design of appropriate renewable energy systems; including autonomous off-grid systems, and methodology and rationale for grid connection. Systems control and energy storage on both a micro and macro scale will be considered. Economic and environmental impact of Biomass energy systems will be covered. Hydro electric systems design, including water turbine selection and Flow Duration Curve analysis for optimisation of energy yield will be presented Methods of estimating life cycle carbon emission and ecological impacts will also be considered.