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Mechatronic Mechanism Design and Implementation Process Applied in Senior Mechanical Engineering Capstone Design

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Division Technical Session 11

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Edward H. Currie Hofstra University

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Edward H. Currie holds a BSEE, Masters and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Miami and is an Associate Professor in the Fred DeMatteis School of Engineering and Applied Science where and teaches Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and serves as a Co-Director of Hofstra’s Center for Innovation.
Research interests include Additive manufacturing plastic and magnetic technology, robotic systems, color night-vision, autonomous wound closure systems, microchannel plate applications, thermal imaging, programmable systems on a chip (PSoC) and spatial laser measurement systems. His current research is focused on the development of autonomous wound closure systems based on recent advances in magnetic technology.

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Kevin C. Craig Hofstra University

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Kevin Craig attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, earned varsity letters in football and baseball, and graduated with a B.S. degree and a commission as an officer in the U.S. Army. After honing his leadership and administrative skills serving in the military, he attended Columbia University and received the M.S., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees. While in graduate school, he worked in the mechanical-nuclear design department of Ebasco Services, Inc., a major engineering firm in NYC, and taught and received tenure at both the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and Hofstra University. While at Hofstra, he worked as a research engineer at the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC) Automation and Robotics Laboratory. He received the 1987 ASEE New Engineering Educator Excellence Award, a national honor. In 1989, he joined the faculty at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). At RPI, he further developed his leadership and administrative skills as Director of Core Engineering, the first two years of the School of Engineering, and as Chair of the Engineering Science Interdisciplinary Department. As a tenured full professor of mechanical engineering, he taught and performed research in the areas of mechatronic system design and the modeling, analysis, and control of multidisciplinary engineering systems. With significant continuous funding from both industry and government, he developed the Mechatronics Program at RPI, which included an extensive teaching and research laboratory and several undergraduate and graduate courses in mechatronics. He collaborated extensively with the Xerox Mechanical Engineering Sciences Laboratory (MESL), an offshoot of Xerox PARC, during this time. During his 18 years at RPI, he graduated 37 M.S. students and 20 Ph.D. students. While at RPI, he authored over 30 refereed journal articles and over 50 refereed conference papers. Emphasis in all his teaching and research was on human-centered, model-based design, with a balance between theory and best industry practice. At RPI, he received the two highest awards conferred for teaching: the 2006 School of Engineering Education Excellence Award and the 2006 Trustees’ Outstanding Teacher Award.
From 2007 to 2014, he wrote a monthly column on mechatronics for practicing engineers in Design News magazine. Over the past 20 years, he has conducted hands-on, integrated, customized, mechatronics workshops for practicing engineers nationally and internationally, e.g., at Xerox, Procter & Gamble, Rockwell Automation, Johnson Controls, Brady Corp., Pitney Bowes, and Siemens Health Care in the U.S., and at Fiat and Tetra Pak in Italy. He is a Fellow of the ASME and a member of the IEEE and the ASEE.
After a national search, in January 2008, he was chosen to be the Robert C. Greenheck Chair in Engineering Design, a $5 million endowed chair, at Marquette University. His mission was to integrate multidisciplinary design and discovery learning throughout the entire college, in all years and in all departments. He transformed students, faculty, curricula, and facilities throughout the college and created a new engineering education mindset and culture for innovation. He was given the 2013 ASEE North-Midwest Best Teacher Award and the 2014 ASME Outstanding Design Educator Award, a society award. He graduated his 21st Ph.D.
In the fall of 2014, he returned to the Hofstra University School of Engineering and Applied Science as a tenured full professor of mechanical engineering. He is the Director of the Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory, which he created with $1M funding from NYS / Hofstra, and also the Director of the Center for Innovation, a new center he created to collaborate with business and industry to foster innovation, where all intellectual property (IP) belongs to the sponsor. He has created a 12-month, 12-module, on-line Mechatronics Certificate Program for Practicing Engineers. He is an Adjunct ME Professor at Stony Brook University.

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Mechanisms have been around for millennia dating back to the Egyptians. More recently, the slider-crank mechanism was invented by Leonardo da Vinci over 500 years ago. Up until 30 years ago, the design of mechanisms was mechanical, but in the present mechatronic age, the design is multidisciplinary, i.e., mechanical, electrical, electro-mechanical, hydraulic, and pneumatic. Mechatronics is the synergistic integration of physical systems, electronics, controls, and computers through the design process, and is the best practice for synthesis by engineers driven by the needs of industry and human beings. One of the most common mechanisms in the world is the slider crank. Its most common application is the internal combustion engine, but it is also used in an automatic toothbrush. A mechatronic approach to the design and implementation of any mechanism has been developed and is applied in a case study to the slider crank. The approach reflects both the traditional mechanism analysis and synthesis methods together with the best industry practices, e.g., Rockwell Automation, Procter & Gamble. The mechatronic mechanism design process was implemented, and a slider crank was built to accomplish a prescribed task. This process was used in Mechanical Engineering Senior Capstone Design during the fall 2018 semester. Seven design teams, with four students in each team, created four-bar mechanism applications using this mechatronic process, first creating a MatLab Simulink virtual prototype of the complete system, and then building a working prototype with LabVIEW and the NI myRIO. The 7 four-bar mechanisms were: robot gripper, quick return, pick and place, windshield wiper, landing gear, flipping mechanism, and straight line. This paper documents this capstone design experience, including extensive student evaluation of the course.

Currie, E. H., & Craig, K. C. (2019, June), Mechatronic Mechanism Design and Implementation Process Applied in Senior Mechanical Engineering Capstone Design Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33100

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