Mechatronics: Next generation tool for modeling and simulation

Product development cycles to be dramatically shortened using physical modeling techniques.

07/28/2008


Waterloo, Canada — Maplesoft released a pilot version of its MapleSim is a high-performance multi-domain modeling and simulation tool, which the company expects to set new standards in the modeling and simulation industry. It claims the tool will dramatically reduce the time to market for electromechanical products by using physical modeling techniques.

“In MapleSim, the world’s most advanced symbolic computing engine comes together with traditional numeric solvers to supercharge the simulation and modeling process,” said Jim Cooper, CEO of Maplesoft. “With traditional techniques, modeling even simple systems is arduous and time consuming. With MapleSim, users can simply re-create a system diagram on a screen and the equations of the model are automatically generated.”

Advantages claimed for the tool include:
• Allows users to mix physical components with traditional signal-flow blocks;
• Model diagram looks like the real system being modeled;
• Multi-domain models easily assembled from pre-built components;
• Units management removes potential conversion and consistency errors;
• Live design documentation captures analysis behind the model;
• Systems of equations representing the model are automatically generated;
• Complex models automatically simplified using sophisticated symbolic techniques.

Physical modeling, or physics-based modeling, is the process of modeling the dynamic behavior of a system mathematically. Traditionally, this task required significant manual effort to derive equations and manipulate them into a form that could be used by signal-flow simulation tools that employ a block-diagram paradigm. The block diagrams are more complex, harder to produce, and do not resemble the original system representation.

The company says that the tool allows users to re-create a system diagram on a screen using compact and intuitive components representing a physical model, making it easier to build and understand. The tool includes more than 500 components from over 10 domains such as electrical, mechanical, control design, and thermal, organized into easy-to-navigate palettes.

Maple’s symbolic computation technology is at the core of MapleSim. Unlike purely numeric computation, symbolic technology can convert a physical system representation directly into mathematical equations. Models created in this way are very concise and do not rely on iterative numeric routines to solve. The company says this provides the best simulation performance without generating errors typical of manual derivations.

The company says the software is now available in pilot version. Pilot users test and provide feedback on product features. Users are encouraged to sign up for the pilot program [www.maplesoft.com/products/maplesim] to access MapleSim at an early stage and interact with the Maplesoft product development team to influence the next generation of modeling and simulation tools.

C.G. Masi , senior editor
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