Hydraulics company gets a lift with Mathworks

Husco International has used MathWorks’ products to create a smart valve for a 20-ton excavator using Intelligent Control Valve (INCOVA) technology.

Using model-based design and MathWorks products, such as Simulink, Real-Time Workshop, and xPC Target, enabled Husco engineers to design and develop the control system for a new valve in fewer than three months, 50 per cent faster than prior designs.

With Simulink, Husco engineers were able to develop a robust control system design that can be integrated with a broad range of valve applications, each having different numbers of cylinders. Using Real-Time Workshop to generate code from the Simulink model, Husco engineers were able to implement engineering design changes within an hour, roughly eight times faster than previous projects.

‘By electronically controlling the valves with our INCOVA technology, we increase excavator efficiency by a number of measures,’ said Darren Hartman, software team leader at Husco International. ‘The control, however, requires optimisation and debugging, which is not safe on a live excavator. By working in Simulink, we could model and simulate the design, make adjustments to optimise performance, and generate production code - all from our desks.’

For the INCOVA project, more than 20 Husco engineers in three countries collaborated and communicated effectively through the adoption of model-based design. ‘In the past, our systems engineers had to consider hardware details, such as the number of bits of accuracy and worry about communicating the design to the software engineer. With MathWorks tools for model-based design, the system engineer can focus on controls, not on the details of the target hardware,’ said Hartman.

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