Client: VSE – HIL Simulation

The Seakeeping and Manoeuvring Basin of the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN) allows model ships to run independently in waves, followed by a towing carriage containing measurement equipment. The carriage has been refitted by VSE with a state-of-the-art control system. Controllab has tested this control system using its Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) simulation technology.


MARIN contracted the company VSE to carry out an overhaul of the electronic systems of the carriage, including the implementation of a state-of-the-art control system. The Seakeeping and Manoeuvring Basin is a facility that is in continuous operation. Delays after the overhaul would be very costly. That is why MARIN wanted the control system to undergo a complete test before actual implementation on the carriage.


The HIL simulator was based on 20-sim. 20-sim is a package for the modeling and simulation of machines like MARIN’s towing carriage. Controllab has created an module for 20-sim that allows it to be coupled to PLC systems like the Siemens Simotion Controller. By coupling the HIL simulator with the newly developed control system, all kinds of tests could be carried out. This allowed VSE to solve various errors and gradually increase the quality of its control system. It also allowed VSE to run scenario’s that would potentially damage the real carriage and see if the control system would prevent this. Using HIL simulation, 90% of the FMEA could be carried out, weeks before the actual implementation of the control system.


Several iterations were verified. Controllab developed and implemented a motion compensation controller in a simulation model, which contained the complete crane and a ship model. The simulator’s output was coupled with a VR simulation to verify the crane’s operability. This resulted in a set of design guidelines that are now implemented in the first prototype of the crane.

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