Developing embedded systems such as the control systems for MAN B&W engines requires advanced tools for prototyping, testing and validation. Traditionally, testing of these systems has been performed on physical test walls.
However, installing software and performing manual tests are both time consuming and the debugging capabilities of a real-time system are limited compared to advanced software debugging tools. In addition, the cost, size and maintenance of physical test walls make them a limited resource that can quickly become a bottleneck for development. Virtual test walls are easy to maintain and scale compared to physical ones, and require significantly lower costs. In addition to extending our testing and validation capabilities, mainly by giving our developers easy access to the test walls, virtual test walls also provide access to more advanced debugging tools and enable automated testing.
MultiSim allowed us to continuously check that the functional aspects of our control algorithms were working correctly. We were able to verify our code for the new platform without having to invest time and resources in the physical setups.
MultiSim: co-simulation environment
Nicolai Pedersen, Systems Automation Basic Platform (EEAB), has helped develop a simulation tool that can create virtual test walls via a so-called co-simulation, which can be used on a PC or in the "cloud". Nicolai explains, "We have developed a co-simulation environment, called MultiSim, that can simulate our distributed control system along with models of the physical engine dynamics and most of our auxiliary systems, such as the engine's main operating panel (MOP). In this way, MultiSim creates virtual cables and network connections to external digital systems, and where test scenarios can be defined and the simulator's user interface accessed."
Digital twin of the engine control system
A ‘digital twin’ of the engine control system (ECS) has also been developed, which can be connected to various models and integrated with digital systems in a holistic simulation using MultiSim. Combined with the MultiSim functions, it is now possible to assemble a complete system with all its functions (cables/network traffic, etc.) in a so-called ‘digital twin’ of the engine control system.
Virtual test wall for pump vaporiser unit (PVU)
Recently, the control system for the PVU was implemented as a virtual test wall with the aim of validating the porting of the PVU software from the old control platform to the new one. Niels Ole Holck, Automation & Control Two-Stroke (EEAL) explains, "MultiSim allowed us to continuously check that the functional aspects of our control algorithms were working correctly. We were able to verify our code for the new platform without having to invest time and resources in the physical setups."