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Simulation Definitions

Confused by the multitude of definitions surrounding real-time and hardware-in-the-loop simulation?
Don't be. It's all pretty simple.



'Offline' vs 'Online'

Non Real-time ('Offline') Simulation


Any simulation run on a computer's CPU cores using the app in which the model was created (eg Simulink or PSIM) is sometimes referred to as 'offline' or 'non-real-time' because there is no real-time simulator connected, meaning one second of simulation (virtual world) time is not equal to one second in the real world.

Offline simulation models running slower than real-time
can not be used in hardware-in-the-loop testing.

Real-Time ('Online') Simulation (RTS)


Any simulation where the PC app in which a model was created (eg Simulink or PSIM) is ported to a network-connected real-time simulator is sometimes referred to as an 'onfline' simulation, or more generally, a 'real-time' simulation, because one second of simulation (virtual world) time is equal to one second in the real world.

Online, real-time simulation models
can be used in hardware-in-the-loop testing.


Real-Time Simulation Without HIL

Model-In-the-Loop (MIL)


Validate models created 'offline' (ie on your desktop)
to ensure your syntax and logic is correct before adding
code, solver blocks, communications protocols, etc.
Sometimes considered synonymous with RCP.

Software-In-the-Loop (SIL)


Bring your compiled code into simulations
to validate and refine before proceeding
to the development of physical prototypes.


Real-Time Simulation With HIL

Rapid Control Prototyping (RCP)


Develop, test and validate your control models
BEFORE investing time and money in
developing code based on them.

Hardware-In-the-Loop (HIL)


HIL lets you test real devices in virtual
'real-world' based scenarios. Also called Control-Hardware-In-the-Loop (CHIL)
when it specifically involves control electronics.

Power-Hardware-In-the-Loop (PHIL)


Add power amplifiers to work with the higher
voltages required for real power devices such
as generators, motors and protection relays.

Virtual Prototyping


Use of computer simulation of product sub-systems either individually or as an integrated whole, eg, all electronics, software, mechatronic systems, power electronics, power systems and even environment (weather, vibration, temperature, etc) to validate a design and understand its behaviour in real-world conditions, possibly by way of simulations including vibrational, thermal, pressure models, before producing a physical prototype for testing in the real world.

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