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    Rights: The University of Waikato
    Published 2 September 2010 Referencing Hub media

    Professor Dale Carnegie, Deputy Head of the School of Engineering and Computer Science at Victoria University, explains mechatronics. Mechatronic products range from machines at home to complex industrial robots with a variety of uses.

    Point of interest

    Can you think of simple robots that are used in your home?



    Mechatronics is bringing together the electronics, the computer programming, the mechanics and all into one product, or sometimes it might be a robot. Now, a really really crude robot in your home is the washing machine. You have the electronics in there, which is controlling the moving drum, but it also will change depending on what sort of clothes you have got in there or how full the water is.

    So it has to be something that is intelligently controlling something that is moving. So really, it’s mechatronics, which brings all of that together so that you can have these sort of products in your home.

    We need robots for a couple of reasons. One is because we are lazy, and the other one is because there are some jobs which it’s just not safe for us to do.

    One of the most hated jobs in the freezing works used to be in the initial cut of the carcasses coming through. No one ever wanted to do that. There were lots of injuries, it was repetitive, it was hard, it was boring. So we worked with Industrial Research and we got a robot in to take over that job, and this robot can go through nine carcasses a minute. It can be 98% successful, and it’s really taken away from people having to do what was the most revolting job there.

    Another example is in the automation factories, so robots now make cars. No one ever wanted to do the same job over and over again, day in, day out. Robots now move in and do those, and that frees the people up to do more skilled, more rewarding labour.

    Lance Cpl. Brian A. Jaques, US Marine Corps
    Alliance Group Ltd
    Industrial Research Limited
    Norbert Mronga