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Test Benches

Developing and Testing Mechatronic Systems

The development and optimization of complex mechanical and mechatronic systems requires practical tests to handle the overall complexity resulting from the interaction of different components and the lack of accurate simulation models. Test benches allow the evaluation of complex systems in real time 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Mechanical test benches are capable of applying mechanical load torques or forces to those parts of the real system which are physically incorporated into the test setup. If this is just the real electric motor, a simple rotational load is sufficient. Incorporating parts of the mechanics like brake boosters, gearboxes, rack-and-pinion systems, etc., leads to much more complicated configurations, partly requiring more than one load drive or linear drives.

Application Areas

  • Test of inseparable drive systems, e.g., test of control units with integrated power electronics such as steering controllers
  • Test of mechatronic components with integrated sensors, e.g,. ESP controllers with integrated acceleration sensors
  • Test of human-machine interfaces (HMI)
  • Test benches for:
    • Steering systems
    • Brake systems
    • Engines
    • Electric motors
    • Powertrains

Key Points

  • Outstanding real-time behavior (latency, jitter, synchronization even for multiprocessor systems)
  • Support of communication interfaces for all application areas, i.e., automotive interfaces, aerospace interfaces as well as industrial interfaces like EtherCAT, PROFIBUS, CANopen
  • Proprietary interfaces for high-performance test benches, e.g., TWINsync for LTi ServoOne systems as well as gate driver and positions sensor interfaces for third-party components
  • Open flexible implementation and instrumentation environment
  • Open automotive plant models for closed-loop interaction
  • Automated test execution for release tests and tests during the development in 24/7 operation
  • Turn-key test bench concepts for all kinds of electromechanical power steering and brake applications
  • Customer-specific extensions like environment simulation using an integrated climate chamber through engineering

dSPACE’s hardware offers the required scalability, real-time performance, I/O interfaces and a powerful tool chain to control a complete test bench out of Simulink®. dSPACE provides interfaces to all automotive buses like CAN, CAN FD, LIN, FlexRay, and K-/L-Line. In addition, automation interfaces like EtherCAT and PROFIBUS as well as proprietary interfaces and protocols, e.g., LTi TWINsync for electric motor control, are also available.   

The TWINsync Solution from dSPACE for controlling electric drives in perfect synchronicity from a dSPACE HIL simulator makes it possible to use the TWINsync protocol from LTI Motion. This protocol enables synchronous communication between two or more LTi ServoOne motor controllers and the dSPACE hardware.

The solution’s main features include:

  • Perfect synchronicity with the test bench, even for complex HIL simulations
  • High-performance, low-latency connection, range of up to 100 m
  • Decentral use possible, no own processing unit needed

The typical components comprise:

  • SCALEXIO®: Powerful and flexible dSPACE hardware-in-the-loop simulator
  • SCALEXIO TWINsync hardware: External housing with a DS2656 FPGA Base Board and a DS5451 custom I/O module as the interface to the TWINsync components. The IOCNET connection lets you use TWINsync hardware up to 100 m from the SCALEXIO simulator.
  • LTi ServoOne: Compact, high-performance motor control by LTI Motion for a high number of linear and rotary load motor systems from 2 to 450 A   

The dSPACE ASM Vehicle Dynamics Library provides tailored open simulation models for testing vehicle dynamics ECUs, such as ESP, steering and active damping ECUs, with a test bench. All of the Simulink blocks in the model are visible, so it is easy to add or replace components with custom models to adapt the properties perfectly to individual projects. The ASMs’ standardized interfaces allow the vehicle dynamics models to be easily expanded to meet specific requirements and even let you create a virtual vehicle.    

For test benches, dSPACE offers comprehensive support from the first planning days to the delivery of the turn-key system to on-site support.

Until now, a wide range of test bench projects have been completed. For example:

Test system for ECUs with integrated sensors and actuators, with a 3-D motion platform that moves the ECU and thus creates the same forces that occur in a vehicle.

Rotary steering test bench for electronic power steering (EPS) systems, including the steering column and assistance motors or for testing superimposed steering systems.

No-load steering test bench to drive a steering system in closed-loop mode for integration tests of the complete vehicle.

Brake test bench with the complete real hydraulic system, e.g., brake line and pedal, for testing energy recovery during braking, for example.

Further Information Success Stories