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Develop, test, and produce robust PLC and mid-level control systems offline, without the constraints of site work, and before the real system is even built.
Save significant time and money by testing the logical operation of the control system before going on-site; take controls testing off the project’s critical path with virtual commissioning and reduce overall testing time.
Emulate3D Controls Testing is designed from the ground up to simplify the complex task of testing control logic by using a 3D model to provide realistic feedback in place of the real automated system.
The Need for Virtual Commissioning of Automated Systems
Common to all automated material handling system (AMHS) projects is the challenge of commissioning, when the hardware first meets the control software, products are introduced into the system, and operators are trained in its correct operation. Emulate3D Controls Testing allows more comprehensive testing, earlier in the project cycle, and at a lower cost, than is possible using traditional techniques.
Each System is a Prototype
Despite the widespread use of standard components in automated systems, customer requirements make each one a prototype in need of thorough testing. Decisions taken at the design stage determine the cost of ownership, throughput, flexibility, and ease of use of the resulting system. Pre-production acceptance testing is the last minute confirmation of the quality of these decisions, when few modifications outside of the control system are possible.
Controls Testing is Unpredictable
The dynamic behavior of an AMHS cannot be fully tested until it is complete, which places traditional controls testing at the end of every project, on the critical path. Testing is often difficult to do properly due to time constraints, practical limitations, pressure from both the end user and the system integrator, and changes to the required system specification.
Advantages of Offline Controls Testing
Among the advantages of controls testing using Emulate3D Controls Testing is the fact that it can be done off-line. This means it is taken off the project’s critical path, which clearly presents benefits to the user. As soon as the design and planning phase of the project is complete the control system can be built, ready for testing. Not only is the testing phase off the critical path, but it is also unrelated to the state of the hardware.
Test Early, Reduce Costs
There is a clear incentive to test the control system against an Emulate3D model of the hardware as soon as possible as this provides further verification of the expected system operation. End users can be shown operational sequences and operators can be trained on the real system responses. Interface designs and screen layouts can be modified and improved. The fine positioning of sensors can be determined, and functional parameters tested and optimised.
Test Exhaustively – Run Multiple Tests
Users run batteries of Emulate3D tests on different computers simultaneously, thus effectively multiplying the amount of testing time available. Once the hardware system is installed on site, the controls testing phase becomes a checklist ensuring correct connections, as the logical verification of the system is completed off line.