Mechatronics – the key to success

Mechatronics in product development

Mechatronics, a symbiosis of mechanical engineering, electronics and IT, is gaining ever more importance at W&H. Mechatronics engineers in the development department have a wide range of duties. For example, they set up/simulate electromagnetic circuits, produce prototypes and test and inspect them to verify the simulation results either as independent work or in cooperation with universities.

Miniature generator for producing a self-induced LED light
Miniature generator for producing a self-induced LED light

The latest mechatronic highlight at W&H is the development of a miniature generator for producing a self-induced LED light, which now forms an indispensable element in W&H turbines and contra-angle handpieces.

On the technological front, we are experiencing a trend towards ever more user-friendly solutions. That means that the dentist has instruments available to him/her which ensure safe treatment of the patient. Functions such as torque and temperature monitoring will be a standard feature of straight and contra-angle handpieces in the future. Consequently, mechatronic expertise is decisive in the W&H product development department. In fact, nowadays it is difficult to imagine the classic straight and contra-angle handpieces, surgical instruments and preparation devices without it.


Mechatronics in production

Due to the globally increasing hygiene requirements in the dental sector, W&H is required to use more and more high-performance materials, which, however, are considerably more difficult to work with. Combined with the advancing tendency towards product miniaturization, the complexity of the parts and components is also increasing. It would be practically impossible to overcome this challenge with traditional CNC lathes / milling machines. Direct cooperation with machine tools manufacturers and customised CNC machines give us a definitive headstart. As such, W&H is not only staying abreast of the increasing quality requirements, but also increasing competitiveness at the same time.

The availability of systems in production is another factor which is decisive for economic success. For machines in the company to be ready for use day and night, we require highly qualified employees with outstanding mechatronics knowledge to keep things running smoothly. Here at W&H we train our employees specially for this task and deploy them in mechanical, control technology and fluid technology activities.

Servicing in the production department

Servicing in the production department

At W&H the employees take on both mechanical and control technology as well as fluid technology duties.

Consequent machine servicing

Special training sessions

Consequent machine servicing requires top mechatronics knowledge. Special training sessions prepare the W&H employees optimally for their duties.

Mechanical activities include, for example, the replacement or repair of mechanical components in a machine, such as ball screws or complete turrets. The control technology duties include repairing regulating systems, motors, rotary encoders and wiring. The field of fluid technology includes for example repairs to valves, cylinders and hose systems. The mechatronics engineers in the production department also take on logistical duties. These range from the compilation of maintenance plans to cooperation with manufacturers and suppliers right up to the organisation of spare parts logistics for finished machines.


Conclusion

As an innovation driver in a wide range of industries, mechatronics not only adapts the development process, but also directly influences the manufacturing processes and procedures of products. The field of mechatronics is multifaceted and brimming with fascinating duties in a range of business areas. There are also a wide range of applications at W&H – from product development to production. Today, mechatronics expertise is an essential competitive factor for modern industrial companies. The only way to retain a strong position on the global market is to exploit the state-of-the-art, integrative approaches in the field of mechatronics.

Author

Roman Gratzer
W&H management
roman.gratzer@wh.com

Profile:
Dipl.-Ing. Roman Gratzer (born 1973) joined the company's Research/Development department in 2000. In 2003, he took over the management of the Restoration/Prosthetics and Prophylaxis, Periodontology application segments. He has been a member of the management committee since 2009.