The MathWorks has introduced SimHydraulics software for modeling and simulation of hydraulic control systems within the Simulink environment. The new product complements MathWorks software for modeling and simulating mechanical and electrical domains, and is said to be tightly integrated with MathWorks products for physical modeling and model-based design.
Engineers can use the tools together to develop automatic transmissions and other control applications. "Capturing requirements in a closed loop model at the beginning of the design process lets engineers build executable specifications that can then be simulated to determine if the requirements are complete," noted Paul Barnard, MathWorks' marketing director for Control Design. "Engineers can then take the same model and refine it over time to include more detail about the design of the system, the size of components, and the control algorithms it needs." Barnard said the majority of errors occur during requirements capture, and discovering errors early in the design process improves design efficiency.
SimHydraulics provides hydraulic building blocks to calculate pressure and flow through standard and non-standard components. The software can be used to model and simulate the conversion of hydraulic power into driving torques and forces for mechanical motion, the effects of opening and closing valves, and simple mechanical components. It includes a library of common hydraulic fluids.SimHydraulics can also be used to develop controllers and to perform testing of the physical system model in the context of continuous testing and verification throughout the design process. "The goal is to find design flaws during control system development, before implementing with hardware," Barnard said. "Control engineers developing hydraulic actuation systems can benefit from capabilities including executable specifications, automatic code generation, as well as continuous testing."