Efficiency improvements in the Industrial space are being continuously driven by transitions to the digital domain and the fusion of sensors, whilst functional safety standards are maintained. With more and more embedded software being integrated, it is imperative to ensure that the software is regularly tested and kept up-to-date to ensure that the software released fulfils all regulatory standards at the time of installation, since in-the-field firmware updates are not always an option.
Motor control has seen increases in the level of efficiency and accuracy of control with digital algorithms being used to control Brushless DC (BLDC), Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor (PMSM) and stepper motors. And, in the domain of power conversion, digital power applications are being used to squeeze out the last few percentage points of efficiency by adapting their switching frequency and control loop configurations dynamically in response to load changes. Such applications require special debug and software development support due to the high voltages and currents flowing in their circuitry and the need to start-up and shut-down the functionality in a clean manner so as not to damage any of the expensive power circuitry. Innovative program and data trace features enable users of winIDEA to track program execution without impacting the execution of the application code or disturbing the delicately timed peripherals performing the power-stage control.
Development of Sensor Fusion systems also requires analysis of data flow through the software which can be supported by intelligent trace capture. Delicate timing and the ordering of data capture can be collected without impact to the system being developed, allowing post-capture analysis of complex multiple time-domain issues. iSYSTEM’s IOM Accessories also allow the capture of common serial data bus transmissions, such as SPI and UART, with these being spliced into a microcontrollers program trace capture. This allows the development team to really visualize the domains of external sensors with the internal sequence of event of RTOS tasks or state-machine status.
Fulfilment of appropriately assessed functional safety to meet Safety Integrity Levels (SIL) is another challenge, with safety standards such as IEC 62061, IEC 61511 and IEC 61800-5-2 defining suitable approaches and expected outcomes. Through Continuous Integration platforms, such as Jenkins, combined with iSYSTEM’s on-target testing approach to software testing, it is possible to regularly perform unit testing with code coverage on the basis software, such as software drivers and protocol stacks, automatically throughout the duration of development. By combining the I/O control accessories of our BlueBox On-Chip Analyzers, complete hardware-in-the-loop test benches can be developed, allowing autonomous testing of complete systems or subsystems, even collating data bus communication collected during testing to correlate with system functionality.
If you are looking to deliver safe industrial systems more efficiently, why not draw upon our team's extensive experience in this field to get you ahead of the competition – you'll be glad you did.