With industry experiencing ever increasing pressure for shorter and shorter engineering design cycles, engineers are finding that they can save significant time by determining the properties of their system before building a physical prototype. For example, knowing the expected forces and accelerations present within a system allows for proper sizing of actuators. While system-level modeling is becoming increasingly common for mechatronic designs in the automotive and aerospace industries, it has yet to proliferate in the automation industry. This is likely due to perceptions that system-level modeling is time-consuming and requires a high level of mathematical expertise for model derivations. Traditionally, this has been true: the typical “signal-flow” process required lengthy, error-prone, hand-derivation of system equations and usually resulted in a complex block diagram. Recent advances in engineering design technology, however, have enabled a better, modern approach to system-level modeling and simulation.
This whitepaper explores this new technology, using applications in MapleSim together with Automation Studio from B&R Automation to illustrate the approach and explore some of the resulting benefits. This paper then highlights how the modern technologies incorporated in MapleSim benefit system-level design in general.