HIL Simulation and Robotics

Efficient system design with Hardware-in-the-Loop techniques

Hardware-in-the-loop (HiL) simulation is a proven technique to test complex mechatronic systems in real time under conditions as close as possible to reality. The basic idea of a HiL simulation is to simultaneously analyze the dynamics of a real mechatronic system under test in a laboratory and to simulate its environment on a real-time computer using virtual subsystems which are connected to the real system by actuator and sensor interfaces. Therefore, HiL simulations enable the dynamic reproduction of a complete mechatronic system having regard to the interaction between all components.

Mechatronic systems nowadays are characterized by a large number of components and complex intelligent control systems. Examples are especially found in the automotive industry where vehicles are increasingly often equipped with active mechatronic axles to find the best possible compromise between dynamic handling, driving comfort and safety. The increasing complexity of mechatronic systems requires an appropriate test bench technology, with HiL simulation becoming increasingly important.

Developing such complex HiL test rigs with the main focus on realistic simulation of the dynamic behavior is a core competence of the research group Control Engineering and Mechatronics. In this context appropriate manipulators enabling spatial, highly dynamic and accurate excitation need to be developed to fully exploit the potentials of HiL simulations. This specifically requires the wholistic design of test systems regarding actuators, sensors and nonlinear control procedures for hydraulic and pneumatic manipulators.

An important demonstrator for our research work in Control Engineering and Mechatronics is the HiL test rig.