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RecurDyn Control

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Simple RecurDyn Control example (an inverted pendulum).  Scroll down for animation.

RecurDyn/Control communicates with control system software to facilitate co-simulations between control systems and mechanical systems modeled in RecurDyn. This plays an important role since design algorithms of a controller and the corresponding mechanical system (“plant”) should be evaluated simultaneously when simulating a computer-controlled system. The control system can be easily designed using control system software such as MATLAB/Simulink.

Note: If you would like to instead create your control systems within a design environment that is completely integrated within RecurDyn, you can use RecurDyn/CoLink.


  • Controls engineers can efficiently test control algorithms early in the design process with highly nonlinear dynamic models
  • Mechanical systems may include control systems (whether electronic, hydraulic, etc.)
  • The mechanical engineer and the controls engineer can join their independent design models
  • Controls engineers may struggle to develop robust controllers early in the design process because of the difficulty in constructing nonlinear dynamic models within controls software.
  • These difficulties can be avoided by developing the mechanical model in RecurDyn and, using RecurDyn/Control to interface with the controls software (see figure below)


  • All mechanical components and constraints are modeled with RecurDyn.
  • The control algorithms are modeled using the control application.
  • RecurDyn/Control manages the co-simulation of RecurDyn and the control application
  • Plant outputs are passed from RecurDyn to the control application at a constant sampling rate.
  • Control outputs are passed from the control application to RecurDyn at a constant sampling rate.

RecurDyn simulation of an inverted pendulum, controlled with proportional (P) control in upper window, and proportional integral derivative (PID) control in lower window. PID controller keeps pendulum upright with little oscillation.

Additional Example: All-Terrain Vehicle Steering Control

RecurDyn/Control was used to model a driver’s steering input into the all-terrain vehicle shown above, allowing it to be simulated as it follows a predefined path over a rock-strewn course. The vehicle’s translational and angular deviation from the target path, plotted above, were used as inputs into the control system, shown below. Limiter blocks were added to model the actual limitations of both the driver and the vehicle.

Control system used to model steering input of driver of all-terrain vehicle

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