Simulation makes it possible to analyze and reproduce errors that occurred, enabling quicker solutions for the future or even preventing recurrence. If customers are looking for greater productivity or efficiency for existing machines and systems, simulations can be used to identify and validate optimization options. Software updates can be tested virtually in advance, and the result can be presented to customers to build greater trust.
HIL simulation for software testing of pitch drives
Real-world example from wind turbine manufacturing
When critical operating states occur, wind turbines decelerate by actively changing the rotor blade angles (pitching) to the feathered position. The drive controller is a complex, safety-critical component for rotor blade pitching whose functionality must be certified in compliance with functional safety standards. System-level software testing requires sophisticated mechanical test rigs or testing on a complete wind turbine.
Details on the solution:
A hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) test rig has been developed for the pitch drive. It operates the drive controller electronics using the productive software as test object in a digitally simulated environment without power flow.
Safety features can be tested safely using automation. The original productive software of the drive controller can be tested in closed-loop operation, because all interfaces of the control electronics can be sent the necessary signals via a real-time simulated environment model.
The regression testing necessary after the changes can be performed without complex mechanical test rigs and without power or supervision. Errors can be detected early, and time and money for extensive test rig testing or field testing can be saved.
The preparations for the project took 3 months, the implementation of the environment simulation 2 weeks.