When designing excavators, wheel loaders, haulers, and other construction equipment, engineers develop prototype versions of the machinery to evaluate performance, responsiveness, and operability. Building physical prototypes costs manufacturers millions of dollars and months of development time. Until recently, however, this was the only way to effectively understand the experience of operating a new machine.
Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) can now evaluate new machine designs before a prototype is built. Volvo CE engineers built a real-time, human-in-the-loop simulator for construction machines using Simulink®, Simscape™, and Simulink Real-Time™. The Virtual Machine Simulator (VMS) gives operators realistic visual, auditory, and motion feedback during simulation.
“With Simscape and Simulink Real-Time we can simulate not only fuel economy and performance but also the feel of operating the machine—all before we build a physical prototype,” says Jae Yong Lee, Chief Engineer at Volvo CE. “Evaluating operator experience through simulation is vital to making tradeoff decisions in the early stages of product development.”