National Instruments is releasing the NI LabVIEW 8.5 Control Design and Simulation Module, an extension of the LabVIEW graphical system design platform that helps engineers and scientists analyse open-loop model behaviour, design closed-loop controllers, simulate systems and create real-time implementations. The latest version of the module introduces new design features such as analytical proportional integral derivative (PID) for improving system closed-loop stability and model predictive control to multivariable systems. The LabVIEW Control Design and Simulation Module also offers expanded support for LabVIEW MathScript with the addition of 18 new .m file functions to simplify tasks such as creating models, defining how models are connected and analysing system stability.
Miguel Taboada, a Control Engineer with SEAPLACE, an offshore and naval engineering company in Madrid, Spain, comments: "The LabVIEW Control Design and Simulation Module significantly reduced the time it took us to develop the dynamic positioning on a split hopper vessel. The module made it easy for us to simulate our different control algorithms and test the code without the use of any hardware. When we achieved the results we wanted in simulation, we were able to reuse the graphical code created with the module and deploy it to real hardware and debug it - all within a single day."
A new time-saving feature in the LabVIEW Control Design and Simulation Module is analytical PID capability. Historically, engineers and scientists have identified the proper PID controller gain values by experimentally tuning their controllers. The analytical PID feature provides engineers and scientists with functions to find sets of PID gain values automatically for a given system model, making it easy for them to avoid undesirable behaviour at design time and improve system stability.
The latest version of the module also includes model predictive control (MPC), a popular algorithm used in industry to control multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) systems in complex process control applications. Engineers and scientists can use the MPC feature to construct controllers that adjust the control action before a change in the output setpoint actually occurs. This ability to predict model behaviour, combined with traditional feedback, helps the controller make smoother adjustments that are closer to the optimal control action values.
Machine control applications
Michael Grimble, Technical Director of ISC Ltd and Professor of industrial systems at the Industrial Control Centre at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, says: "Model predictive control is a valuable technique for industry that may not be so accessible to engineers unfamiliar with text-based programming. By adding MPC functionality in the LabVIEW Control Design and Simulation Module, National Instruments is providing a very intuitive tool with a simple real-time implementation interface. This should deliver tremendous benefits to engineers performing process control or machine control applications in industries such as automotive and aerospace, and even in academia where predicting model behavior is often a crucial step when developing advanced controls."
The LabVIEW Control Design and Simulation Module easily integrates with NI software tools such as the LabVIEW Statechart Module for event-based control design or simulation and the LabVIEW Real-Time Module for rapid control prototyping and hardware-in-the-loop applications as well as system deployment. Engineers and scientists also can combine the module with the LabVIEW System Identification Toolkit and NI I/O devices to develop reliable measurement-based controllers.
Visit www.ni.com/embeddedcontrol or use the form on this page to request a callback or more information about the LabVIEW Control Design and Simulation Module.