Robots are all the rage these days wherever you look around. They are being utilized in a number of sectors ranging from home to industrial to military purposes. The art of creating exquisite robots requires a collective effort of multidisciplinary teams working in tandem. This forms the basis of a new hot field of engineering in recent years named Robotics Engineering. So what is Robotics? Robotics is a branch of engineering involving the conception, design, manufacture, and operation of robots. This field overlaps with electronics, computer science, artificial intelligence, mechanical, nanotechnology and bioengineering. The body, shape and aesthetics of robots you see around is what comes from mechanical design which we will discuss in this blog.
Mechanical design is a powerful sub-field of mechanical engineering which brings out designs to life. Every object you are using or holding in your hands right now starts from designing. Research and development of innovative products consider this beautiful yet byzantine field as its heart and soul. To get an idea of how products enter the market and understand the importance of mechanical design, let’s look at a very popular process known as New Product Development (NPD). NPD, which is often referred to as The Stage-Gate innovation process, was developed by Dr. Robert G. Cooper as a result of comprehensive research on reasons why products succeed and why they fail.
Schematic of New Product Development process
How a concept becomes a reality?
Any new product starts with an idea, an inspiration to ease our lives. One idea is picked out of the lot after collecting and screening various ideas. The process of bringing this idea to reality is where the mechanical design comes into play. Mechanical design involves generating a 3D model of this idea into a working prototype and subsequently after various testing procedures into a final market product. Remove mechanical design from the NPD process and you realize you have no conceptual model in front of your eyes! You would not even have a physical model of the product you wish to bring to the market. I guess by now you must have noticed how crucial the mechanical design step is in a new product development process.
How CAD software and the right usage of it can transform your ideas to Life?
Mechanical design is an artistically beautiful yet challenging domain of mechanical engineering. It involves using your creative mind to its fullest to get the best possible product you can ever imagine. Good sketching abilities, being well versed with geometric shapes with its properties and excellent 3D imagination skills in your mind are the basis of designing. Any product you design begins with sketching on a paper before translating it to the 3D CAD software. Developing the ability to imagine 3D shapes and objects in your mind is essential to producing a good design fast and effectively. So how do you develop these skills? Start looking at your objects around you and study their shapes and structures. Imagine these objects being your head without actually looking at them. Imagine in your mind how a certain cross-section of this object would look. Once you develop this skill, the next part which is designing in a CAD software becomes much simpler.
Various CAD software’s exist today which take on the job of converting ideas into products. Solidworks is the current leader in 3D modeling along with CATIA and Creo Parametric. What makes Solidworks the top preferred choice of mechanical designers is the simplicity by which you design the most complex of parts. Robotics design is based on kinematics and mechanisms. Each action a robot performs is a mechanical mechanism at work. The most popular part of a robot is the arm which can perform tasks or pick objects. The guiding force behind the arm movements is the use of mechanisms. Below is an example of a robot arm design created in Solidworks.
Mechanical design remains a powerful yet undervalued part of a new product development system. It has the capability to make or break a company’s ambitions of bringing out their dream product into the market. The very thought of this should be inspiring for new graduates to take up mechanical design as their career paths. The unparalleled joy of watching your ideas come to life via design and manufacturing can only be felt in the mechanical design field.
Have a wonderful robot idea in your mind? Wish to feel your ideas and imaginations in your hands? Come visit the Center for Robolution or feel free to drop an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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