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Mechanical Engineering & Design

A picture of the battery electric underground roof bolter in a mine

Mechanical Engineering & Design

Companies that want the best tool for their job—not just the available tool—call MEDATech.

At MEDATech we customize existing equipment or design it new from the ground up to give you exactly what you need. The importance of using core mechanical engineering skills to properly design and prototype heavy equipment cannot be overstated, as it assures safety and steers the success of equipment once commissioned. 

Here are some of the mechanical engineering skills that the people at MEDATech put into use every day. 

3D modelling for mechanical engineering

3D modelling is the industry standard for mechanical engineering firms. It helps bring an idea into focus. If we (or a customer) want to produce a machine, designs are first created  virtually in 3D. This allows the designer to simulate the full range of motion as well as to refine the overall aesthetic. While still in the virtual stage, the designer can also evaluate operator ergonomics and visibility as well as the ability to access motors and other components for maintenance.  2D manufacturing and assembly drawings are then created, with geometry linked to the 3D model. The designer adds material specifications, vendor part numbers, welding and machining specifications, fastener torque, and assembly instructions.  The final drawings have all the documentation required to build the machine.

Structural, thermal, vibration and acoustic analysis

All forms of analysis associated with mechanical engineering use mathematics and/or {finite-element analysis} [LINK to Simulation & Analysis page] to determine component and machine resilience. We use analysis as a matter of course when building parts, assemblies and machines, and when our customers need assurance that they can’t get in-house.

For structural analysis, we start with standard mechanical engineering calculations to determine material choices and appropriate geometry for strength. Critical and irregular structures are further refined using finite-element analysis to calculate stress and strain.

Two subsets of structural analysis worth mentioning are computational stress analysis and failure analysis. We perform these for two reasons: to build robust machines, and to determine the root causes for failure so as to improve reliability.

Thermal analysis

Thermal analysis modelling determines how heat will spread. It’s relevant for pumps, motors, cooling systems, mufflers, radiators and similar components. You can take a machine that runs fine in the shop and use thermal analysis to model performance in an arctic climate or in a sweltering below-ground environment. Thermal analysis influences hydraulic design and informs tolerances that prevent seizing and excessive vibration. 

Vibration and acoustic analysis

Vibration and acoustic analysis are used to avoid resonant frequencies. With the mast of our WS6000 hybrid drill rig, for example, the vibration analysis we performed in a pre-build virtual environment showed that we had to avoid certain frequencies within the hydraulic motor. Just like bridges, machines have components that can produce unacceptable (sometimes catastrophic) sympathetic vibration if proper mechanical engineering calculations are not implemented.

Material selection and modification

There are hundreds of types of steel with a multitude of heat-treatment options that make them optimal for specific tasks.  Similarly, there are more and more non-steel material choices to consider—alloys, plastics, ceramics and carbon fiber to name a few. We are highly experienced in choosing the right materials for the job, optimizing designs for utility, longevity, weight and cost. 

The materials choices we make depend on the parameters of each machine. When weight isn’t a factor, steel usually trumps aluminum, for example. In other cases, it can be more efficient for us to change the molecular structure of steels through heat treatment than to buy hardened steel stock, depending on whether it’s wear plates and pins, or an entire welded structure. 

Power-transmission mechanical engineering expertise

Most of what we do at MEDATech involves turning electricity, diesel or gas into work. There are many ways to transmit power and the choice is often driven by how far you need to send it and how confined the space is. A driveshaft, belt or chain is generally the cheapest way to transmit power. Hydrostatic drives are more expensive but better for confined spaces, which is why we chose hydrostatic for our ALTDRIVE  Rail Locomotive. The power-transmission choices we make, including gear ratios and drive types, depend on the dimensional parameters, work requirements and physical forces at work with each machine.

Kinematic modelling 

Kinematics is the science of modelling the movement of objects relative to each other. Kinematics comes into play, for example, when designing a suspension system. For the wheels to behave the way that you want them to, all linkages must be set up in a certain way relative to each other. This will ensure that, for instance, the wheels remain straight up and down over rough ground, rather than cambering. If you put an original VW Beetle on a hoist, you will see that the wheels assume a negative camber posture; going over rough ground compresses the suspension into a positive camber posture. The mechanical engineering tools available to us today enable MEDATech engineers to model and avoid this kind of situation.

Practical applications of mechanical engineering 

We take parts, assemblies and machines from idea to reality in stages. We build new, we modify and improve upon existing, and we evaluate concepts.

  • Design – We design parts, assemblies and machines every day, whether it’s based on a back-of-the-napkin sketch, another engineering firm’s preliminary design, or simply a list of work requirements that the machine needs to meet. 
  • Testing and concept evaluation – MEDATech has extensive experience in evaluating machine concepts for proposed functionality. We can generally accomplish this in a virtual environment, but it’s sometimes necessary to perform physical tests. Sometimes we simply define the testing protocol. Every piece of equipment we design and build ourselves is subject to a structured regimen of virtual and physical testing before it leaves our facility.
  • Prototype building – Many engineering firms can do preliminary design work, but they aren’t set up to actually build anything. At that point, OEMs turn to MEDATech. We work with the original design team to bring their idea from concept to reality.  
  • Documentation and support – Unless otherwise specified, we create part and operations manuals as well as recommended spare parts lists for everything we produce. We have engineers and mechanics available for field work and we stock and supply components that can be purchased over the phone or online.

The go-to for heavy-duty equipment mechanical engineering

MEDATech has the speed and flexibility of a small company with the experience and resources of a big one. Our mix of experienced engineers and young hi-tech computer wizards allow us to blend leading-edge technology with decades of experience and mechanical engineering know-how.

Mechanical Engineering and Design

If you have an idea or a machine that needs improving, we would be happy to discuss it with you. Please use the form below and we will be in touch shortly. 



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    Hours: Mon - Fri: 9 Am - 5 PM

    Saturday and Sunday - CLOSED

    Phone: +1 (705) 443-8440

    info@altdrivesystems.com

    Collingwood ON., Canada

    Ocala FL., USA