With its release last week of Simscape Language for physical modeling, The MathWorks seeks to extend the ability of mechatronics design engineers to create more specialized and advanced systems.
"Previously, you could buy what we call a block library, and you
could build a model of a physical system - as long as we had the block
library you needed," says Paul Barnard, marketing director for the
Design Automation group at The MathWorks, based in Natick, MA.
"Simscape Language is a textual language that lets you build your own
block diagrams and libraries."
He cites the example of someone trying to build a lossy
ultracapacitor accommodating resistive losses, in order to increase
battery capacity. "We have a model of a traditional capacitor, but if
you're doing something with electric vehicle battery storage, you're
trying to push the envelope. You need to design something that extends
farther than what we have," Barnard says.
By describing the model in the textual Simscape Language, you can
automatically create a block library and give it to other people in
your organization who are working on other parts of the device,
according to Barnard. He says the Simscape Language benefits the
mechatronics field by giving designers the ability to more easily
integrate designs that encompass different disciplines, such as
hydraulics, mechanics, electrical or others. "We have tools for
mechanics, hydraulics, electronics and other modeling needs, but the
big challenge of mechatronics is getting these (elements) to work
together in the final system."
In turn, engineers will be able to create more sophisticated designs
that better differentiate their products. "The language supports the
notion of bringing multiple domains together. At the same time, with
converging technologies, engineers need to get the software component
right. If you're going to write software to control these parts, you
have to have a good model of their dynamic behavior."
Simscape Language is part of Simscape, The MathWorks' software for
physical modeling, and is based on the company's widely used MathLab
language syntax. Simscape Language works as part of Simulink, the
company's general simulation and modeling language, which engineers can
use to model any type of dynamic system. U.S. list prices for Simscape
start at $2,000. Simscape requires MATLAB and Simulink, which are sold
"People who are familiar with MathLab will be able to adopt this
easily as a modeling tool," says Barnard. "Our customers will also be
able to take models they've already built in MathLab and can move them