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solidThinking Embed New Features

solidThinking Embed 2016 represents a new era of VisSim, the intuitive graphical environment for efficient model-based embedded development:

  • New name

  • New packaging

  • New licensing

  • Enhanced functionality

All of these changes are aimed at providing the most compelling solution for embedded development in terms of performance and costs.

New name

solidThinking’s products are well known in the industry for their intuitive design, allowing users to become productive in a very short time. VisSim has been known amongst embedded control developers for exactly the same capability – the reason why we decided to market it under the brand solidThinking going forward.

solidThinking Embed is part of our suite of products aimed at model based development.

Compose Activate Embed

New packaging

Aim of the new packaging has been to simplify the configuration and installation. It also provides more functionality with the base products.

Similar to previous versions, there are two main products:

  • solidThinking Embed replacing VisSim Embedded

  • solidThinking Embed SE (Simulation Edition) replacing Professional VisSim

The number of add-ons has been reduced to two:

  • solidThinking Embed/Digital Power Designer

  • solidThinking Embed/Comm

Many more capabilities are now available within the main products:

  • Analysis and linearization

  • Generalized reduced gradient method of parameter optimization

  • Electric motor and controller block set (floating point)

  • UML 2 state transition diagram editor to simulate event-driven systems

  • Real-time data monitoring with CAN, OPC, real-time data acquisition boards, serial, and UDP

Table 1 provides a detailed overview of the additional capabilities of release 2016:

Module NameCapability
AnalyzeAnalyze lets you perform a frequency domain analysis of Embed (solidThinking model or subsystem). It helps answer the question: "Is this a stable system?" Analyze approximates the dynamics of a nonlinear system by linearizing the system about a specified operating point. Linearized systems can be represented in ABCD state space or transfer function form. With Analyze, you can easily access transfer function information, edit zeros and poles, and compute Nyquist, Bode, and root locus plots.
CANCAN connects the low-cost PCAN USB-CAN device (purchased separately) to the Embed block diagram via receive/transmit blocks. CAN gives you a low cost Controller Area Network (CAN) development interface. You can easily log data, plot, strip-chart or run a virtual plant or controller for model based development.
MotionMotion is an easy-to-use, yet powerful solution for accurately modeling and simulating motion and motor control systems. Motion consists of a comprehensive motion control block library, which includes motors, amplifiers, filters, controllers, loads, sensors, sources, and transforms. To design a system, simply select and connect the system components. Then, with the push of a button, you run a simulation and view the system behavior.
OPCOPC is a client add-on to Embed. Based on proven Kepware OPC client technology, OPC allows Embed to connect to any OPC server, including all Kepware servers. OPC, you can easily log data or run a virtual plant in Embed for off-line tuning or operator training.
Real-TimePROReal-TimePRO interfaces Embed with popular analog and digital I/O boards and devices from National Instruments, Measurement Computing, and Quanser. Real-TimePRO provides the capability to couple an Embed system model directly with a real PLC or DCS system for off-line tuning, or to prototype an Embed control with a real plant.

With Real-TimePRO, hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) systems can be configured and executed by interfacing Embed plant or controller models with real-world hardware, such as manufacturing plants, chemical processes, motors, pumps, and electric drives. The interface to the real-world hardware is through computer I/O cards; high-speed motion control interface cards; or serial port connections to Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) or Distributed Control Systems (DCSs). There is no code generation or programming involved to configure an HIL system with Real-TimePRO.

OptimizePRO OptimizePRO calculates the optimal values for design variables subject to user-defined constraints starting from initial user guess values. For example, you can automatically calculate optimal PID controller gains that give minimal time to setpoint, plus minimal overshoot. OptimizePRO allows user-specified cost functions that can consider controller behavior, such as steady-state error, overshoot, and rise and settling times.
SerialSerial lets you read and write standard RS232 serial bytes from the Embed block diagram via Serial read/write blocks. Serial lets you configure serial port settings including baud rate, parity and stop bits. You can also choose whether you want to read single characters or complete strings. You can use Serial blocks for remote sensing, data exchange or remote control. You can easily log data, plot, strip-chart or run a virtual plant or controller for model based development.
SateChartsStateCharts gives you complete OMG UML-compliant graphical state chart capability. Designed specifically for efficient execution on embedded systems, StateCharts lets you easily create, edit, simulate, and generate C code for finite-state machines all within the Embed design environment. StateCharts is based on the industry-standard OMG UML 2.1. It uses common graphical elements – such as states, pseudo-states, and transition arcs – to represent simple, hierarchical, and parallel states, and the transitions among them. You can attach C code actions to state activity and transitions to further define state chart behavior. State chart execution runs in synch with Embed dynamic simulator operation. Communication between a state chart and the Embed model uses standard Embed variables, triggers, and I/O pins on the state chart.
UDPUDP lets you read and write standard UDP internet packets from the Embed block diagram via UDP read/write blocks. UDP lets you determine the packet layout by allowing you to specify the byte offset and datatype of each element. You can choose 8-, 16-, or 32-bit signed and unsigned integer; 4- and 8-byte floats; and 16- or 32-bit scaled integers. You can use UDP for remote sensing, data exchange or remote control. You can easily log data, plot, strip chart or run a virtual plant or controller for model based development.

New licensing

Altair’s patented licensing system has been implemented in the 2016 release. Embed and Embed SE can now be accessed through the HyperWorks licensing system. With just 25 HyperWorks Units (HWU) multi-disciplinary development for e-mobility can be performed including general math operations and system simulation, multibody analysis, electromagnetic motor design, thermal analysis, as well as embedded controls development.

In addition to the new licensing options, pricing has been adjusted aiming to provide the most flexible and affordable solution for commercial and educational applications.

New and Enhanced Functionality

Support for solidThinking Compose Math Language

The capability to define and execute scripts in the “VML Workspace” has been greatly enhanced through the adoption of the solidThinking Compose Math Language. Function calls, for loops and conditional statements among many other features can be used, e.g. for initializing model parameters which are then referenced in Embed constant blocks. The syntax of the scripting language follows the Octave/Matlab notation.

Support for TI F28377D

This is TI’s most recent flagship microprocessor chip in the C2000 product family. The chip has dual core 200MHz operation, trigonometric function accelerator, 16-bit ADCs, 4 parallel ADC units, redesigned on-chip comparators, redesigned CAN units, an additional I2C unit, buffered DACs, high speed SPI, new cross bar selection of GPIOs for peripheral inputs and outputs, redesigned flash cache. All of these are features are now supported.

Faster and more efficient code generation

The code generator is improved and now performs:

  • Constant propagation across merge and case blocks eliminating codegen for unused merge and case branches

  • Detection and removal of unused enabled subsystems

  • Conversion div-by-const to mul by 1/const

  • Addition of a number of matrix operations as constant folding candidates

  • Omission of declaration of unused variables

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