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Model-based design by HELVETING for complex systems

Feedback control problems can become a challenge in complex systems, as for example in costly manufacturing processes. These tasks must be often approached early in the engineering process, in a point of time in which a lot of components of the system are not available for tests.

HELVETING supports you in the use of the model-based design approach when you have to create a realistic system model at an early stage. By using the model-based design approach, the control strategies can be chosen, parameters can be optimised and the adherence to specifications can be assured long before there is an existing prototype. The therefore designed control software is not only applicable in simulations but also directly to the target platform of the product.

What advantages does the model-based design approach by HELVETING offer?

Uncertainties or specification gaps will be uncovered at an early stage through the methodology of the model-based design approach causing a reduction of risks and costs. Limiting cases, that would require lots of effort, can be tested easily and systematically leading to an increase of quality. As soon as such a system model is created, it can also be utilised in future developments of similar modules. The processes are simplified and accelerated this way.

The engineers of HELVETING contribute precious experiences from interdisciplinary projects and accompany your development from specification to commissioning. Our expertise guarantees that your feedback control problems are systematically analysed and solved reliably.

When is it worth to use the model-based design for a system as the manufacturing process of a product?

Feedback control problems can be a challenge in more and more complex systems with a high variety of components. Even though precise predictions of the behaviour should be available as early as possible in an engineering process, new developments can often be integrated only at a late stage into the overall system.

Simulations that are created separated from the real system can simplify the actual implementation too much and they can differ widely from reality in case they are not carefully tested and continuously updated. Additionally, laborious tests, which must be conducted once again after every product modification, are added to assure the adherence to the specifications.

The model-based (system) design approach provides a remedy due to the single implementation that can be used throughout both for simulation and in the product. The basic tasks of the model-based design approach are the creation and calibration of a realistic model of the neighbouring systems and of the physical environment, the choice of control strategy, and the optimisation of the parameters as well as the testing with respect to the requirements both in simulation and in the real system.

How is the model-based (system) design approach created by HELVETING?

The first step in model-based design is the realistic model of both the known system environment and the physical relations. Calculations build the basis for block diagrams and codes, which are refined later by measurements of the system variables, in order to calibrate the model. The control system is implemented, simulated and iteratively optimised in this environment with respect to the requirements. Before the target hardware is available, it is already fully executable as a model-in-the-loop (MIL). For this purpose we utilise the most appropriate tool, for instance Matlab, Simulink or ModelSim.

How does the model-in-the-loop become the software-in-the-loop?

The firmware code can automatically generated from this described control draft. The code can be developed in the standard language of your automation platform, such as C/C++ for DSPs and other embedded systems, or VHDL/Verilog for FPGAs. Then a check of the code as software-in-the-loop is bitwise and in realtime possible and the code can be further refined.

The finalised system can be taken into operation with the created code and integration tests for the components and their interfaces can be carried out. Thanks to hardware-in-the-loop (HIL), environmental conditions can be simulated and the tests are reproducible at any time. Even limiting cases, that would require lots of effort, can be tested easily and systematically with the model-based design approach. The created models can simply be used for further developments or regression tests.

Why using model-based design from the first test to the final product?

In our model-based design methodology we build testing, simulation and the product as a unit that is fostered in its entirety. Thus, the traceability, the quality and the comprehensibility of the documentation are increased. A system approach replaces complicated, empirical controller optimisations. Furthermore, you are prepared the best way for future developments or product variants.

Thanks to the consistent use of a system model, risks can be reduced and specification gaps can be uncovered at an early stage. The costs decrease and you achieve your aims faster because mistakes are not found shortly before the end in the model-based design approach.

Methodology

Industry sectors / applications of model-based design:

  • Machinery and plant engineering
  • Automotive / vehicle construction
  • Device development
  • Process industry
  • Medical engineering
  • Energy

Competences, methods & tools

  • System modelling
  • Simulation
  • Control technology
  • Code generation
  • Testing