Endigit engineers been doing Hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) test systems for over a decade. We recently made a strategic decision to increase our investment in HIL test. One step toward this was hiring National Instruments (NI) HIL Systems Engineer Andrew Heim. Andrew has been working to help NI’s largest HIL customers to be successful in their deployment of complex test systems. Adding Andrew’s experience boosts Endigit’s HIL capabilities.
An HIL test system simulates physical systems to test control units or other devices. The example shown below is a test system for testing an airplane’s wing actuator controller (shown in black). In the tests we simulate the flight control computer, the wing, and the actuator (shown in blue). This simulation is accomplished by either acquiring or generating all of the signals on the wires that connect to the controller. With that feedback loop in place, we can run software models to mimic behavior of the real system – and run those continuously. Then we can inject scenarios by changing variables over time – whether that be airspeed, temperature, or critical fault scenarios.
With these simulation capabilities, we can do full testing on the UUT without needing to fly an actual plane. We are able to run the UUT through full flight patterns without needing an airplane or other costly equipment. Test can be run more precisely and repeatably since can be run from a script. This is beneficial because we can run more test situations in less time without risk of damage to equipment or operators. Additionally, we can achieve far more test coverage than we could without such simulations.
In a world of complex model-based-design-built systems, ubiquitous embedded controllers, and differentiating features defined by software, this sort of system-level simulation has become industry best practice.
Endigit will continue to grow our capabilities and experience in HIL test systems. If you have a controller you need tested then let us know and we are happy to help you with it. Also, look forward to blog posts from Andrew to increase your understanding of HIL test systems.