Major upgrade: Simulink integrates three control system design tools

By Control Engineering Staff October 12, 2006
In what is being called a major upgrade, The Math Works has launched a single graphical user interface that unifies new versions of three of its control design software products—Control System Toolbox 7, Simulink Control Design 2, and Simulink Response Optimization 3.

In what the company is calling a “major upgrade,” The Mathworks announced a single graphical user interface unifying new versions of three of its control design software products: Control System Toolbox 7, Simulink Control Design 2, and Simulink Response Optimization 3. Jason Ghidella, senior technical lead for controls and the Simulink platform, told Control Engineering : “We’ve reduced the pains of designing a control system, so people with all different levels of experience can benefit from model-based design. You [also] can study a larger set of design options. We’ve created an integrated environment where it’s easy to try out new ideas that were too dangerous to do in the actual plant, or too difficult to do manually.”

The upgrade creates a streamlined platform for control design and optimization using model-based design, enabling control engineers to tune and optimize control systems on multi-domain plant models directly in Simulink.

Across industries, the growing number and complexity of design requirements that engineers face has fueled a demand for sophisticated control design strategies, which are typically difficult to implement. Responding to this demand, The MathWorks not only expanded control design capabilities with the upgrades, but also integrated the control design products with Simulink to simplify the workflow, reducing the number of design cycles and increasing productivity.

Together, the trio of products facilitates the control design process. Control System Toolbox gives engineers the ability to analyze, design, and tune control systems systematically. Simulink Control Design enables the design and analysis of sophisticated multi-loop control systems directly in Simulink. With Simulink Response Optimization, engineers can use numerical optimization to tune the response of systems modeled in Simulink, satisfying performance requirements.

The integrated environment lets engineers make design tradeoffs and optimize the performance and robustness of the overall control system. Control engineers tune the control parameters in their Simulink model either graphically or by using automated techniques such as PID or LQG. With built-in visualization tools, engineers can graphically analyze the effects of loop interactions, closed-loop performance, and actuator bandwidth. They can also graphically specify design requirements in time and frequency domains, such as rise time and overshoot or phase and gain margins, and then apply numerical optimization techniques to simultaneously tune the entire system to meet those requirements.

Control System Toolbox 7, Simulink Control Design 2, and Simulink Response Optimization 3 are available immediately for the Microsoft Windows, UNIX, Linux, and Macintosh platforms.