Video and Webinar Series

Virtual Commissioning with Simulink for Complex Mechatronic Systems

A good example of a complex mechatronic system is a crane application. Modern cranes not only include mechanics and hydraulics, but also increasingly more power electronics, controls, and software. To handle this increased complexity and to be able to test and validate designs before a physical machine is available, virtual commissioning has become the de facto standard in certain industry segments. Virtual commissioning means a virtual model of the machine is created in the computer, a so-called digital twin, with which you can simulate and validate the complete design before building a physical prototype machine. You can also use it for performing analysis of the machine even after the product is out in the field.

MATLAB® and Simulink® is a complete simulation platform that allows you to model and simulate the entire machine, including the mechanics, hydraulics, electronics, controls, and software. This allows you to validate functional machine requirements at an early stage in the development cycle, which leads to shorter development cycles and reduction of expensive prototype testing.

In addition to modeling and simulation, you can reuse your machine models for deployment on a PLC, PAC, or industrial PC using either C/C++ or IEC 61131-3 ST/LD code generation technology. This is an efficient way to quickly test your control system model on real controller hardware. You can also generate code for the physical machine model to run this on a real-time Hardware-In-the-Loop (HIL) simulator to efficiently test your production controller.


Part 1: Kinematic Analysis for Crane Application Modeling of crane mechanics for simulating crane duty cycles. Early identification of functional requirements feasibility by evaluating forces and torques in the machine under operating conditions.

Part 2: Dynamic Analysis for Crane Application Adding closed-loop control design to crane model and performing automatic PID tuning. Also adding actuators for evaluating dynamic performance of tower crane and verifying behavior of complete crane system.

Part 3: Design of Safety Control Logic for Crane Application Adding supervisory control (safety logic) for detecting and reacting to crane failures. Illustrates the benefit of having a virtual model for injecting and studying hardware failures in the machine.

Part 4: Code Generation for Control System and Crane Model Production code generation (C/C++ or IEC 61131-3 ST) from controller model to real controller hardware (PLC/PAC). Also, real-time simulation of crane model on PC hardware using real I/O.