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Automated PLC Testing

Perform reproducible tests of your PLC design in early development stages or as part of the factory acceptance test

Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are the centerpiece of modern automated plants. Interfacing with various field-level devices, a PLC controls a diverse range of applications by monitoring sensor inputs and setting actuator outputs.

Testing a PLC program is challenging, as the presence of the entire operational plant is required, and such a plant is only available at the final stage of commissioning. The entire testing process is time-consuming and does not always generate reproducible results since tests are often performed manually. 

Hardware-in-the-loop simulation allows manufacturers to perform scalable and reproducible tests in the lab, even during the early development stages.

"The Speedgoat real-time system offers us an easy-to-use solution to implement our plant models without having to worry about hardware specific configuration problems."

Volker Weck, Automotive Software Developer, IAV

Network and I/O Simulation

 

Hardware-in-the-Loop

The only hardware required is a Speedgoat target machine to simulate the behavior of the plant, the environmental conditions, and all interfaces to which the PLC is connected. This setup enables the user to test the PLC algorithm for a wide range of functions, in various states, and under nearly all possible conditions.

Hardware-in-the-loop simulation with Speedgoat target machines causes the PLC to behave as if connected to the real plant. This allows testing of the PLC software and the physical connections of the final hardware with network slave devices such as motor controllers, sensors, I/O couplers, or robots.

 

⮕ Learn more about HIL Simulation 

Industrial Protocol Support

Since the PLC is the master in the industrial network, the Speedgoat real-time target machine is configurable with I/O modules, which represent all slaves relevant for restbus simulation, including PROFINET® devices, EtherCAT slaves, EtherNet/IP adapters, and Modbus/TCP servers.

The support for industrial protocols enables fast communication to the PLCs of major manufacturers like Siemens, Beckhoff, Rockwell, and to custom PLC designs.

 

⮕ Learn more about Speedgoat communication protocols

 

Multi-node Simulation

Single and multi-node I/O modules can emulate small aggregates as well as large-scale plants. Each node represented by a real physical network device embedded in the I/O module. The Mobile real-time target machine, can be equipped with up to three multi-node I/O modules to provide up to 100 slave interfaces. Multiple target machines can be interconnected and synchronized to provide an endless number of network devices and mixed protocol types to enable the simulation of bigger networks.

 

⮕ Learn more about Multi-node Simulation for Industrial Ethernet

⮕ Learn more about Multi-node Simulation for PROFIBUS

 

Easy-to-use Driver Blocks

The Speedgoat Library provides Simulink® blocks representing the specific data addresses for cyclic communication, objects for acyclic communication, and the specific identification of a device. Device description files, such as GSD files for PROFIBUS®, and network description files, such as AML files for PROFINET, can also be easily imported.

 

⮕ Learn more about the Speedgoat Library

 

 

Model-based Simulation and Testing with MATLAB and Simulink

 

Plant Modeling

As the purpose of PLC testing varies from the validation of simple logical tests to the evaluation of complex control designs, the corresponding virtual plant needs to be scalable.

MathWorks® offers tools to create Digital Twins and provides different modeling methods, such as first principle modeling and data-driven modeling, to create virtual plants with the required level of physical detail.

Automated Testing and Fault Insertion

Test automation lets you perform reproducible and adaptable tests to automatically validate that the PLC complies with functionality, reliability, and safety requirements.

Users can test typical plant functions under normal conditions as well as operation at range limits. Fault insertion provokes unexpected events and allows the user to monitor the PLCs error handling capability and also to examine fault recovery strategies.

 

From Model-in-the-Loop to Hardware-in-the-Loop

 

Simulink Real-Time™ and Simulink PLC Coder™ enable users to easily create a HIL testing setup straight from Model-in-the-Loop simulation (MIL). When performing MIL simulations, both the controller algorithm and the plant simulation are designed in Simulink® and performed in non-real-time simulation mode on a desktop computer.

To test the control design on real hardware, users can follow the Simulink PLC Coder workflow to generate IEC61131-3 structured text code and deploy it to the assigned PLC. Compile the plant model and deploy it directly to Speedgoat hardware with Simulink Real-Time™. This makes for an efficient workflow where model requirements and characteristics are preserved throughout the design process.

 

PLC Testing with PROFINET Multi-node Simulator

 

A live online demonstration is available explaining how to use a Speedgoat multi-node simulator to simulate a plant with multiple PROFINET® slaves from different vendors, such as a SINAMICS S120 and a SIMATIC ET200SP from Siemens. The network master is a Siemens S7-1500 PLC which is configured and programmed via TIA PORTAL. We show how to create the restbus simulation from the PLC project as well as how to use MATLAB® App Designer to create a graphical user interface and interact with the virtual plant.

Our industry expert engineers demonstrate how this set up can help to determine whether the PLC starts up the PROFINET network correctly, the PLC switches to all operating states properly, the PLC moves the system into a safe state after a PROFINET device fails, and how the PLC reacts to all bit combinations of the status word of the drive.

 

⮕ Contact the Speedgoat sales team to sign up for a live PLC testing demo

 

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Contact the Speedgoat sales team to learn more about PLC Testing

 

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