Use case Palfinger

Transition to a model-based software development for elevated work platforms with SimulationX

What can software for system simulation contribute in the development process to the analysis of a machine’s steady-state and dynamic behavior? How does it support the user in creating requirement-specific models of elevated work platforms? 

The task at hand

Model-based software development and tests without any prototype

The functionality of control software for mobile machinery made by Palfinger AG grows as steadily as its proportion of the development process. The company strives for early tests of its control software for elevated work platforms in order to reduce the number of required prototypes while minimizing the commissioning time for the real machine. This can be achieved early on by testing and commissioning individual modules of the control unit’s software step by step with virtual prototypes. During the tests of the developed control unit for elevated work platforms, hardware-in-the-loop concepts (HiL) play a crucial role.

Read the detailed report. (in german)

Elevated Work Platform P-210-BK, source: Palfinger AG

The solution

Creation of a HiL test bench for the development of control software

Virtual plant model: A virtual model in SimulationX describes the three-dimensional movements of the elevated work platform. This involves deriving the structural layout of the platform as a multibody system which is then implemented in the simulation software. Embedded CAD data from the design phase helps with the modeling process and the visualization of the model itself. The model’s specified input and output variables ensure it can be coupled with the control unit later on.

Test bench: The shown HiL test bench consists in principle of the real-time platform/target and the host PC. They are connected to the actual control unit and the actual control panel. The virtual plant model is simulated on the real-time platform NI VeriStand where the physical quantities of the model are converted to sensor and actuator signals.

SimulationX supports the integration with NI VeriStand through automated code export from the settings.

The benefits

Virtual commissioning of elevated work platforms

The HiL test bench allows for virtual commissioning and manual tests of the control unit’s software before an actual prototype is created. Handling and operation of the elevated work platform can be tested with the actual control panel. Movement speed and controller settings can be optimized, while functional test are performed.

The created test bench is suitable also for other aerial platforms, mobile machinery and control unit variants. This is easily achieved by quick changes to the software settings and the physical connections between the test bench and the control unit. Apart from the aforementioned purposes, the HiL test bench can also be used as a demonstrator and training simulator. The next step in this application scenario is the development of automated software tests. This includes both user-defined test scenarios and automatically generated software tests to cover a broader range of test cases. Automatically generated log files and test reports allow the user to check results conveniently, which reduces approval procedures significantly, and can also be used for documentation purposes.

SimulationX is a tool that offers solutions for each software development phase including the whole range of MiL to HiL applications and supports the developer in his daily routine.

Success stories at Palfinger and others.

How do engineers and designers at Palfinger manage to ensure robust programming and functional testing already at early stages during the development of control unit software? Learn more about the project from René Noack, [M. Sc.] at ESI ITI.

Read the full paper.

Simulation in the development of mobile machinery

Are you facing a similar challenge and could use some support in finding a solution? The ESI ITI industry team for mobile machinery comprises highly qualified and experienced engineers.

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