Vintecc modeled, simulated, and implemented the complete harvester control system using Model-Based Design with MATLAB®, Simulink, and Simscape™.
Vincent partitioned the overall control system design into three major application programs, each implemented on a separate PLC and communicating with one another over a CAN network.
“We created a model for each controller that included Stateflow® charts to manage execution modes and Simulink elements such as PID Controller blocks to control the harvester’s hydraulic and mechanical systems.”
Using Simscape, Vintecc developed plant models that included tire and vehicle body elements; hydraulic pumps, motors, and cylinders; powertrain components; and mechanical linkages.
To verify the traction control, automatic axle alignment, cruise control, auto-reverse, and other functions of his control design, Vincent ran model-in-the-loop (MIL) simulations of the controller and plant models in Simulink.
After generating CODESYS® compliant ST from the controller models with Simulink PLC Coder™, he compiled the application in the CODESYS environment and deployed his control designs to three PLCs from the IFM EcoMat Mobile product family.
Using Vehicle Network Toolbox™, Vintecc implemented a CAN interface on the plant models, enabling the models to send and receive messages via a CAN bus. Vincent conducted hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulations in which the PLC controllers communicated via CAN messages with the Simulink plant models, which he ran in real time with Simulink Desktop Real-Time™.
Throughout development, Vintecc used MATLAB to postprocess and visualize simulation results.
Having verified and validated 90% of the software via simulation, the only remaining step was to test the PLC control system on the actual hardware to ensure correct parameter tuning before the completed system was delivered to the client.