Introducing adaptive mechatronic designs in bulk handling industry

More Info


The advances of mechatronic system design and system integration have shown improvements in functionality, performance and energy efficiency in many applications across industries, from autonomous ground vehicles and drones to conveyor belts. This trend has been adopted in some industries more than others. The design of equipment to handle granular or bulk material is commonly based on traditional approaches. Therefore, introducing mechatronic concepts in the design procedure can enable new possibilities, such as sensor integration and data analyses, adaptability and control. The efficiency of bulk material handling equipment in ports, agriculture and food processing is heavily influenced by the operational conditions. Typically, a piece of equipment is designed for defined operational conditions when the maximum performance can be achieved. In this work the concept of adaptability to varying operational conditions is explored by understanding the technologies implemented in other industries and the feasibility to be implemented in the bulk handling equipment design. Sensing technology, actuation and adaptability are systematically presented in this work to support the design process of the next generation of bulk handling equipment. This will pave the way for incorporating the technological trends in the design, such as: sustainability, “smartness”, Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, digital twin and machine learning. Adaptive mechatronic solutions will play a crucial role in generating and implementing innovative sustainable solutions for bulk handling equipment.