Dictionary Definition

electromechanical adj : of or relating to or involving an electrically operated mechanical device

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. Related to both electricity (or electronics) and mechanics.

Related terms


combining the fields of mechanics and electronics

Extensive Definition

In engineering, electromechanics combines the sciences of electromagnetism of electrical engineering and mechanics. Mechatronics is the discipline of engineering that combines mechanics, electronics and information technology (software engineering).


Electromechanical devices are those that combine electrical and mechanical parts. These include electric motors, loudspeakers, some fire alarms and mechanical devices powered by them, such as calculators and adding machines; switches, solenoids, relays, crossbar switches and stepping switches.


Early on, "relays" originated with telegraphy as electromechanical devices used to regenerate telegraph signals.
The Strowger switch, Panel switch and similar ones were widely used in early automated telephone exchanges. Crossbar switchs were first widely installed in the middle 20th century in both the United States and Britain, and quickly spread to the rest of the world.
Paul Nipkow proposed and patented the first electromechanical television system in 1885. Electrical typewriters developed, up to the 1980s, as "power-assisted typewriters." They contained a single electrical component in them, the motor. Where the keystroke had previously moved a typebar directly, now it engaged mechanical linkages that directed mechanical power from the motor into the typebar. This was also true of the forthcoming IBM Selectric. At Bell Labs, in the 1940s, the Bell Model V computer was developed. It was an electromechanical relay-based monster with cycle times in seconds. In 1968 Garrett Systems were invited to produce a digital computer to compete with electromechanical systems then under development for the main flight control computer in the US Navy's new F-14 Tomcat fighter.

Modern practice

Today, though, common items which would have used electromechanical devices for control, today use, less expensive and more effectively, a standard integrated circuit (containing a few million transistors) and write a computer program to carry out the same task through logic. Transistors have replaced almost all electromechanical devices, are used in most simple feedback control systems, and appear in huge numbers in everything from traffic lights to washing machines.

Printed references

1. Paul C. Krause and Oleg Wasynczuk, "Electromechanical Motion Devices", McGraw-Hill Series in Electrical and Computer Engineering (1989). ISBN-10: 0070354944.
2. Edward P. Furlani, "Permanent Magnet and Electromechanical Devices: Materials, Analysis and Applications", Academic Press Series in Electromagnetism (2001). ISBN 0-12-269951-3.
electromechanical in German: Elektromechanik
electromechanical in Spanish: Electromecánica
electromechanical in French: Électromécanique
electromechanical in Dutch: Elektromechanica
electromechanical in Turkish: Elektromekanik
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