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Modeling and Simulation

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Modeling and Simulation Overview

Modeling and simulation is a discipline that is used to develop an understanding of the interaction of the parts within a system. This acquired level of understanding leads to a better understanding of the system as a whole. Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has been using modeling and simulation to solve complex science and engineering problems for more than 50 years.

 

Because more and more emphasis is being placed on reduction of time and money spent on product development, modeling and simulation continues to be an effective way to verify, validate, calibrate and achieve results without the need for procuring prototype parts, other expensive components. SwRI is prepared to analyze the client's needs, design solutions, and develop strategies, methods, models and media to provide effective and affordable solutions. Some of the areas in which SwRI offers modeling and simulation are discussed below.

 

image of utilized modeling and simulation tools to transition from rapid proof of concept, verification and validation, to implementation

 

Shown are utilized modeling and simulation tools to transition from rapid proof of concept, verification and validation, to implementation.

 
image of developed mission reply HIL simulator and verified ballistic algorithms to a Low Drag Bomb
 

Developed mission reply HIL simulator and verified ballistic algorithms to a Low Drag Bomb

   
image of commercially available vehicle modeling software, used to analyze the interaction and dynamic response to a simulated real world environment for robust algorithm development.
 

Commercially available vehicle modeling software is used to analyze the interaction and dynamic response to a simulated real world environment for robust algorithm development.

 

Avionics and Support Systems Modeling and Simulation

In today’s world, simulation models are essential in enhancing scientific understanding through the use of system development, management, and planning. SwRI has applied modeling and simulation solutions in support of technologies that include aircraft avionics, ballistics, and unmanned systems.

 

SwRI’s efforts to develop efficient simulation models are important in reducing non-recurring engineering cost through:

  • Evaluation of mechanical designs before prototyping

  • Simulation of vehicle electronics to uncover design issues

  • Redesigning prototypes in simulation only

  • Evaluating novel concepts for feasibility

  • Leveraging existing model repositories

  • Using simulation playback with actual test range data

SwRI engineering staff applies Model Based Design techniques to develop ballistic models, design weapon scoring algorithms, and test real-time software. SwRI staff evaluates fire control avionics with a mission replay tool which includes a hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulation. Previous efforts included redesign of avionics hardware.

 

Modeling and simulation technologies are also applied to evaluate developed algorithms using kinematic and dynamic models of unmanned systems. This provides the capability to experiment and analyze the real world effects while eliminating physical, environmental, and economic restrictions. The developed environments provide the investigation of manned and unmanned systems interaction ranging from performance-limiting factors to integrated technologies.

 

The elements of the modeling and simulation capabilities that span many applications across air and land systems include developing:

  • Dynamic Systems

  • Sensor Systems

  • Environment Models

  • Autonomous Algorithms

  • Pilot Vehicle Interface (PVI) , Maintainer Vehicle Interface (MVI)

  • Hardware-In-the-Loop Simulators

  • Machine/Computer Vision Systems

  • Digital Signal Processing

  • Control Systems

  • Weapons Scoring

In developing state-of-the-art technology capabilities, lab facilities include:

Software Systems

  • Real Time Operating System

  • (RTOS)Green Hills

  • IntegrityWind River

  • VxWorksUnix/LinuxC/C++, Java, LabWindows/CVI

 

Hardware Technology

  • PXI

  • VME

  • cPCI

  • MotoTron Electronic Controller Units (ECU)™

 

Image Generator

  • Graphics and Imaging Laboratory (GraIL)

  • Ogre

  • Open Scene Graph

  • Terrain Database

Modeling Tools

  • Matlab/Simulink®

  • Mechanical Simulation: CarSim®

  • Solidworks®

  • Telelogic Rhapsody®

 

ISO 9001:2000 Registered and AS9100 Compliant

For more information about aviation and support systems modeling and simulation capabilities at SwRI or how you can contract with SwRI, please contact Christopher E. Camargo at ccamargo@swri.org or (210) 522-2095, or visit the following:

Automotive Modeling and Simulation

 
 

The SwRI-developed RPECS, used extensively in test cell developmental applications, is easy to modify and troubleshoot.

The Engine, Emissions and Vehicle Research Division at SwRI routinely evaluate a variety of vehicle components using the modeling and simulation approach. Some of these components include:

  • Engines

  • Transmissions

  • Powertrain controllers

  • Axles

  • Electric motors

  • Motor controllers

  • Batteries

  • Suspension systems

  • Brakes

  • Chassis

  • Hydraulic systems

  • Auxiliary systems

During component and system development, performance predictions are often based on specific physical characteristics and deterministic operating parameters. Engineers at SwRI develop vehicle models in MATLAB®/Simulink® to simulate vehicles from automobiles to heavy trucks. The scope of vehicle modeling and simulating activities at SwRI include:

  • Optimized component selection

  • Vehicle performance

  • Vehicle emissions and fuel economy

  • Individual component performance

  • Parasitic losses

  • Powertrain control strategies

  • Trade-off studies and what-if simulations

  • Effect of driving cycle on vehicle emissions/fuel economy

To analyze components and subsystems, SwRI engineers use a variety of sophisticated modeling and simulation tools, such as the Institute-developed NESSUS®, APACE® and others.

 

SwRI's automotive staff emphasizes the economic benefits of mathematically based and laboratory-based development, while helping customers minimize dependence on road-based testing and save time and money in the area of product development.

 

SwRI engineers are extensively experienced in the following real-time applications:

  • Real-time operating systems using compiled Simulink models (QNX®, OPAL-RT, dSPACE)

  • Digital signal processing to communicate with physical hardware device I/O signal streams

For more information about automotive modeling and simulation capabilities at SwRI or how you can contract with SwRI, please contact Daniel W. Stewart at dstewart@swri.org or (210) 522-3657, or visit the following:

  • SwRI's Advanced Vehicle Technology section performs vehicle modeling and simulation activities.

For more information on the Advanced Vehicle Technology section's capabilities at SwRI or how you can contract with SwRI, please contact Cheuk Ng at cng@swri.org or (210) 522-3311.

  • To learn about systems engineering, control algorithm development and software implementation, powertrain control system development, integration, and calibration, hardware development, and rapid prototyping control development, please view the brochure entitled Powertrain Control Technology

For more information about modeling and simulation activities related to powertrain control capabilities at SwRI or how you can contract with SwRI, please contact Jayant Sarlashkar at jsarlashkar@swri.org or (210) 522-5506.

Geologic Modeling and Simulation

SwRI's Geosciences and Engineering Division has developed effective approaches to building and analyzing geomechanical models of complex geologic structures, including:

  • An extensional fault-tip monocline in west Texas

  • A contractional fault-related fold in the North American Cordillera

  • A 3D analysis of subsurface stress development following faulting and erosion

 
 

Digital terrain model (oblique view) showing extensional fault system in clay model.

When coupled with realistic rock properties, geomechanical simulation provides a valid forward model that can be used to validate a geometric and kinematic restoration.

 

SwRI has developed a new technique to produce digital terrain models (DTMs) of the deformed model upper surface using dynamic structured light (DSL). Using this technology, scientists quantify the morphology of deforming models in high resolution and expand the data derived from laboratory simulations of geologic deformation.

 

Physical analog modeling is a well-established laboratory technique for reproducing the developmental sequence and overall geometry of geologic structures. SwRI's Physical Modeling Laboratory is a state-of-the-art facility designed to emulate a variety of tectonic settings. The modeling apparatus is modular and can be configured to represent most tectonic deformation styles, including:

  • Extension

  • Shortening

  • Strike slip

  • Localized uplift and doming

  • Normal and reverse faulting

  • Tectonism of a brittle layer over a ductile substratum

  • Combinations of these styles

For more information about geologic modeling and simulation capabilities at SwRI or how you can contract with SwRI, please contact Kevin Smart, Ph.D. at ksmart@swri.org or (210) 522-5859 or visit one of the following:

For more information about geomechanical modeling and simulation capabilities at SwRI or how you can contract with SwRI, please contact Kevin Smart, Ph.D. at ksmart@swri.org or (210) 522-5859.

For more information about the digital terrain modeling of geologic structure physical models capabilities at SwRI or how you can contract with SwRI, please contact Alan Morris, Ph.D. at amorris@swri.org or (210) 522-6743.

For more information about the physical analog modeling capabilities and facilities at SwRI or how you can contract with SwRI, please  contact Alan Morris, Ph.D. at amorris@swri.org or (210) 522-6743.

Modeling and Simulation of Network and Radio Communications and Security

 
 

Effective modeling and simulation of today’s complex communications systems requires a team of scientists and engineers with experience in a broad range of capabilities.

The Applied Sensing Department at SwRI is an interdisciplinary department with broad experience in modeling and simulating complex systems. We have applied our expertise in communications modeling and simulation to:

  • Model the deployment of wireless sensor networks in hazardous terrain

  • Generate network test traffic from stochastic models of user behavior

  • Analyze the performance of various ad hoc network protocols

  • Simulate the effects of various network security device deployment strategies

  • Develop synthesis-capable models of distributed network defense agents

  • Simulate telemetry communications among vehicles on a military test range

  • Model the mitigation of multi-path effects in a mobile sensor system

  • Simulate total network traffic and network performance on a large commercial jet airplane

Effective modeling and simulation of today’s complex communications systems requires a team of scientists and engineers with experience in a broad range of capabilities such as Internet and wireless network protocols and standards, radio frequency (RF) engineering, computer science, hybrid and ad hoc network design, and cyber security. Our staff of engineers and scientists has expertise in:

  • Communications system modeling

  • Network modeling and analysis

  • RF coverage analysis and multi-path modeling

  • Antenna performance modeling and characterization

  • Hardware-in-the-loop simulation

  • Model-integrated computing technology

In addition to a qualified staff, high-end tools and equipment are required that facilitate realistic traffic generation, that are able to operate at the speed of today’s communications backbones, and that enable hybrid simulations which meld simulated communications elements with actual hardware. SwRI’s Network Simulation and Test Laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art hardware and software such as:

  • OPNET®

  • MATLAB

  • RadioPlan

  • Agilent N2X traffic generator and test environment

  • High-Speed Network Analyzers with capability for time-correlated, multi-tap sampling

For more information about network and radio communications modeling and simulation capabilities at SwRI or how you can contract with SwRI, please contact Ryan Lamm at rlamm@swri.org or (210) 522-5350.

 

Read about how SwRI is working to improve the security of the global information infrastructure. For more information about cyber security and information assurance modeling and simulation capabilities at SwRI or how you can contract with SwRI, please contact Robert W. Heller, Ph.D. at rheller@swri.org or (210) 522-3824.

 

For additional information, visit one of the following:

  image of phase array radar coverage modeling and orbital object simulation that was conducted by SwRI
 

Phase array radar coverage modeling and orbital object simulation was conducted by SwRI.

 
image of SwRI-simulated integrated air defense system (IADS) communication and engagement model for the Air Force Information Operations Command (AFIOC)
 

SwRI simulated an integrated air defense system (IADS) communication and engagement model for the Air Force Information Operations Command (AFIOC).

 
image of simulated current distributions in the SwRI TASH antenna
 

Simulated current distributions in the SwRI TASH antenna

 
image of model of single plus four quarter elements with periodic boundary conditions for large array simulation
 

Model of single plus four quarter elements with periodic boundary conditions for large array simulation

Radar and Electronic Warfare Modeling, Simulation, and Analysis

SwRI has broad experience in the modeling, simulation, and analysis of radio frequency (RF) systems, antennas, radars, and electronic warfare systems. In the context of today’s tool-rich environment, we have the experience to integrate these best-of-class tools to leverage the combined core strengths of the tools to meet the objectives of the modeling and analysis effort. SwRI engineers have experience integrating tools such as Satellite Toolkit (STK) and MATLAB® to combine advanced algorithm development, orbit simulations, and data visualization.

 

SwRI engineers have evaluated, developed, deployed, and verified computer-based threat analysis systems for more than a

decade. Our staff has extensive experience in the design, development, deployment, testing, and maintenance of systems used by military organizations to evaluate data collected by a number of sources, analyze planned courses of action, and reduce the development time and cost for complex systems.

 

SwRI has conducted research in the design of novel antenna topologies and simulation of single and multi-antenna systems. In addition to having optimized design parameters for given antenna topologies for specific applications, entire platform simulations have been conducted to determine the optimal placement of a set of antennas with regard to co-site interference and calibration challenges. Simulations can also include monte-carlo and worst-case simulations to extrapolate the effects of changes in element performance to entire phased array systems.

 

For more information about radar and electronic warfare modeling, simulation and analysis capabilities at SwRI or how you can contract with SwRI, please contact Tom Untermeyer at tuntermeyer@swri.org or (210) 522-5040.

 

Manufacturing Modeling and Simulation

The Manufacturing Systems Department and Information Systems Engineering Department within the Automation and Data Systems Division at SwRI have extensive experience in utilizing modeling and simulation capabilities in increasing and improving the manufacturing throughput of product development environments.

 

Today’s manufacturing plants utilize plant level control systems, commonly known as Factory Information Systems (FIS), to:

  • Control how the raw material is input into the line

  • Control the timing of the processes within the line that transform the material into the finished product

  • Control the handling of exceptions that have the potential to reduce productivity during the manufacturing process

SwRI has built scale-model representations of plant floors that allow industrial engineers and plant managers to visualize the production capabilities of the manufacturing line and change characteristics to modeling events such as:

  • Unexpected equipment failure

  • Scheduled down time

  • Configuration changes to equipment

  • Effects of changing conveyor and equipment speeds

  • Efficiency of new plant and automation designs

  • Introduction of new processes within an existing process

SwRI uses a wide range of tools and technologies to build simulations and model, such as:

  • ProModel

  • MATLAB

  • C#/.NET Framework

  • Java/Java 2 Enterprise Edition

The combination of industrial engineers and software engineers at SwRI provides the subject matter and technological expertise to develop and utilize modeling and simulation solutions that can increase manufacturing capabilities and improve plant processes in a cost effective manner.

 

SwRI’s Manufacturing Systems Department has broad capability for modeling and simulation of mechanical systems that, when simulated, can decrease development times, reduce cost, increase performance, and improve reliability. Areas of expertise include a wide range of manufacturing equipment such as:

  • Robotics

  • Packaging systems

  • Food processing systems

  • Automated assembly machines

  image of mail-order pharmacy plant
 

This large-scale mail-order pharmacy plant has over ¾ of a mile of conveyors connecting 6 different automated filling systems, one autopackaging system, and multiple workstations for manual filling, refrigerated items, labeling, pharmacy check, and packaging.

 
image of simulation of the impact the developed software algorithms will have on the manufacturing process
 

In this simulation, it can be seen that there are two traffic problems, one at the Optifill2, and the other at Flexpick1. Using this information SwRI engineers can adjust the routing logic to better optimize the order in which items are filled and make better use of under utilized equipment, increasing overall production.

SwRI has experience with the following methods:

  • Kinematic simulations of custom mechanisms

  • Dynamic mechanical simulations of high-speed machinery

  • Time studies and optimization of multi-axis machines

  • Robotic simulations and animations of work cell operations

  • Finite element modeling of static structures

  • Optical modeling for computer vision applications

  • 3D solid modeling and animation of machines, production lines, and plant layouts

SwRI engineers design and develop modeling and simulation systems that are used as test environments for factory control systems development. This allows for performance testing of software against a complete scale model of the plant floor without requiring downtime of the systems as is typical in system software testing in manufacturing. SwRI builds test frameworks that model each individual aspect of the manufacturing process, including:

  •  Automation equipment

  • Conveyor and material transit systems

  • Manual processes, such as QA and hand assembly

  • Routing options

  • Routing optimization

These individual models are combined into a plant model and developed software code is “plugged in.” This realistic modeling allows simulations to be run that show the impact the developed software algorithms will have on the manufacturing process.

 

SwRI’s ability to validate manufacturing software design and development through simulation provides a low-cost solution to verifying the performance characteristics of the system prior to deployment without the burden of shutting down the manufacturing environment and reconfiguring software systems to allow for software testing.

 

For more information about manufacturing modeling and simulation capabilities at SwRI or how you can contract with SwRI, please contact Clay Flannigan, Manufacturing Systems Department, at clay.flannigan@swri.org or (210) 522-6805, or Sean Mitchem, Information Systems Engineering Department, at smitchem@swri.org or  (210) 522-2698.

 

Contact Information

Christopher E. Camargo

Avionics and Support Systems

(210) 522-2095

ccamargo@swri.org


Daniel W. Stewart

Engine, Emissions & Vehicle Research

(210) 522-3657

dstewart@swri.org


Cheuk Ng

Advanced Vehicle Technology

(210) 522-3311

cng@swri.org


Jayant Sarlashkar

Engine & Vehicle R&D

(210) 522-5506

jsarlashkar@swri.org


Kevin Smart, Ph.D.

Earth, Material & Planetary Sciences

(210) 522-5859

ksmart@swri.org


Alan Morris, Ph.D.

Earth, Material, and Planetary Sciences

(210) 522-6743

amorris@swri.org


Ryan Lamm

Applied Sensing

(210) 522-5350

rlamm@swri.org


Robert W. Heller, Ph.D.

Critical Systems

(210) 522-3824

rheller@swri.org


Tom Untermeyer

Applied Sensing

(210) 522-5040

tuntermeyer@swri.org


Clay Flannigan

Manufacturing Technologies

(210) 522-6805

clay.flannigan@swri.org


Sean Mitchem

Medical Systems Organization

(210) 522-2698

smitchem@swri.org


Related Terminology

modeling and simulation

automotive modeling

aerodynamic and ballistic systems modeling and simulation

prototype

component and subsystem analysis

avionics simulation

electronic warfare

hardware-in-the-loop

network modeling

cyber security

security and traceback

computational simulation

hydrocode simulation

geomechanical modeling

digital terrain

physical analog modeling

 
 
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Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.

12/22/16