Simulating Computer-Controlled Multibody Dynamic Systems
Today’s increasingly sophisticated products often consist of a mechanical system controlled by a microprocessor-based control system. But creating virtual prototypes of these products using traditional simulation approaches is difficult for various reasons. Typically, a mechanical engineer can develop a good mechanical model using Multibody Dynamics (MBD) simulation software, but including an over-simplified control scheme in the model yields useless results. Meanwhile, a controls engineer can design a controller using control systems modeling software, but without a realistic model of the plant (the mechanical system), the controller design will be poor.
Recently, however, new technology has been created which allows simulation of both complex nonlinear mechanical systems and their controllers together. With this new technology, the control system designers can efficiently test pre-developed control algorithms at an early design stage with highly nonlinear dynamic models. And mechanical engineers can quickly simulate their models using the developed control systems before costly prototypes are built. To simplify the workflow, both types of engineers can make changes to separate parts of the same model.