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Thursday, November 19, 2009

National Instruments expands HIL


National Instruments is extending its hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulation platform, which includes a range of products that optimise embedded system validation. During the past six months, NI has released nearly 40 new products targeted at delivering flexible HIL solutions to embedded control system developers within a variety of industries. The portfolio of NI HIL simulation tools helps engineers maintain reliability and time-to-market requirements while reducing costs, even as their products become more complex.
“We continually hear that engineers are struggling with traditional test systems to meet increasing product complexity and performance requirements within tight budgets and timelines,” said Mike Santori, Business and Technology Fellow at National Instruments. “These engineers need an HIL simulation platform that is highly productive out of the box but also open and flexible to adapt to fast-changing testing demands. The NI HIL simulation platform provides unprecedented openness and performance for HIL applications. The platform’s highly flexible architecture helps engineers address a wide range of applications, from those in automotive and aerospace to new fields such as alternative energy and medical device development.”

Recent product releases include NI VeriStand software for real-time testing and simulation; the NI TestStand 4.2 automated test management environment including support for Python scripts; a new family of fault insertion units; NI-XNET high-performance CAN and FlexRay bus interfaces optimised for HIL applications; ARINC 429, MIL-STD-1553 and AFDX (ARINC 663) military and aerospace avionics bus interfaces; low-cost and high-performance real-time processor cards; and several other I/O interfaces. To ensure that applications can easily scale and meet evolving requirements, the NI HIL simulation platform supports third-party hardware interfaces and integrates with C, C++, .NET and Python programming languages. In addition to integrating seamlessly with the NI LabVIEW graphical system design environment, the platform works with a variety of modeling environments such as Simulink software; ITI SimulationX; Maplesoft MapleSim; and Gamma Technologies GT-POWER.
Engineers can increase their system performance and flexibility while reducing overall costs by taking advantage of the open PXI hardware standard, advanced multicore technology and graphically programmed FPGA interfaces. Additionally, the platform’s software-defined instrumentation approach makes it possible for HIL applications created with NI products to scale from low-cost desktop validation systems to multiprocessor distributed simulators, a benefit that provides engineers a flexible and cost-effective toolset for all HIL testing applications.
The platform delivers commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions that offer alternatives to complex proprietary configurations and bulky, inefficient traditional simulation systems. In today’s challenging economic climate, NI HIL simulation products are ideal for making projects more efficient and cost-effective for design engineers in multiple industries, from aerospace, alternative energy, automotive and consumer electronics to government, industrial transportation, mechatronics, medical technology and semiconductor manufacturing.

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