Hardware-in-the-Loop (HiL)

Digital Engineering with ISG virtuos
Digital Engineering with ISG virtuos

Hardware-in-the-loop simulation with ISG-virtuos

The software design of ISG-virtuos, which is specialized in real-time applications, enables hardware-in-the-loop simulation of automation systems in hard real-time ("control real-time" (<1ms)) by combining simulation and real control technology. The connection between control and simulation is established via common fieldbus systems and is thus independent of the control manufacturer.

The virtual machines, plants and robots are built up from virtual components that behave like the real components in terms of interfaces, parameters and operating modes. With the help of these virtual systems (the so-called "digital twins"), realistic test and commissioning situations are simulated, including all control functions in sequential (PLC) and motion control (MC, RC, CNC). These system tests can also be automated. The functions developed and tested in this way are then simply transferred to the real systems.

Setup and use of a virtual test setup

Source: VDMA Virtual Commissioning Guide

Virtual commissioning requires executable simulation models of a component, machine or plant. The simulation models represent the following relationships, among others: 

  • Process logic
  • Kinematics
  • Material flow
  • Physical effects
  • Seonsors and actuators
  • (Bus) communication

The control system is not integrated into the simulation model, but linked to the simulation. The virtual test setup, i.e. the linking of the simulation model with the control system, is called an X-in-the-loop system (XiL system). With the use of XiL systems, the following advantages are achieved compared to a real test setup:

  • Lower costs during setup
  • Less effort for continuous reconfiguration
  • No use of physical resources (e.g. assembly or hall space)
  • No wear and tear and no damage to operating equipment

The characteristics of XiL are differentiated based on the type of control in:

  • Model-in-the-loop (MiL): the control software is mapped in a model language.
  • Software-in-the-loop (SiL): the control software runs in an emulation.
  • Hardware-in-the-loop (HiL): the control software runs on the real hardware of the controller.
Quelle: VDMA Leitfaden VIBN