Tool integration provides virtual prototyping solution -

Tool integration provides virtual prototyping solution


LONDON — National Instruments and Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corp., are collaborating on a mechatronics tool that helps mechanical and control engineers work together to lower the cost and risk of motion system design.

The development connects the NI LabVIEW graphical system design software and SolidWorks 3D CAD software to provide a virtual prototyping solution helps engineers and scientists design, optimise, validate and visualise the real-world performance of machines and motion systems before incurring the costs of physical prototypes.

As LabVIEW is used for controlling the virtual prototype, engineers and scientists can deploy their graphical software to physical NI hardware with little to no change to the code.

Mechatronics-oriented design tools can improve machine development by simulating the interaction between mechanical and electrical subsystems throughout the design process.

Teams of engineers from different disciplines can work in parallel and collaborate on design, prototyping and deployment.

The integration of the LabVIEW 2009 NI SoftMotion Module and SolidWorks software delivers a design environment suitable for virtual prototyping.

Existing SolidWorks CAD models can be connected to LabVIEW, which automatically links the motor actuators and position sensors defined in the model. Using the high-level functions provided by the NI SoftMotion for SolidWorks, engineers and scientists can develop sophisticated motion control applications that include logic based on sensor feedback.

Design teams, customers and sales engineers then can use the virtual prototype to visualise realistic machine operations and analyse cycle time performance. The mechanical dynamics of a machine, including mass and friction effects, as well as motor and mechanical actuator torque requirements, can be simulated before parts are specified.

The virtual prototyping solution also makes it easy to deploy motion applications, validated using the SolidWorks 3D CAD environment, to NI embedded control platforms such as the NI CompactRIO programmable automation controller (PAC). Because the application was developed in LabVIEW, the same code used to create the virtual prototype can be deployed to physical NI hardware with little to no programming changes.

Additionally, engineers and scientists can use the new NI 951x C Series drive interfaces to achieve direct connectivity to hundreds of stepper and servo drives and motors from NI and third-party vendors.

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