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A mechatronic system needs an integrated, concurrent, and system-based design approach due to the existence of interactions among its subsystems, and also the existence of interactions between the criteria involved in a realistic evaluation of a mechatronic product. This paper presents a systematic methodology for a detailed mechatronic design based on a mechatronic design quotient (MDQ). MDQ is a multicriteria index, reflecting a system-based evaluation of a mechatronic design, which is calculated using soft computing techniques, thereby accommodating interactions between criteria and human experience. A niching genetic algorithm is utilized to explore the huge search space raised due to concurrent and integrated design approach, with the aim to find the elite representatives of different possible configurations. To demonstrate the method, it is applied to an industrial fish cutting machine called the Iron Butcher-an electromechanical system that falls into the class of mixed or multidomain systems.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2008