Putting Ideas into Operation Faster with Digital Engineering

Research and Development in Virtual Engineering

Early Control Development with VINCENT

Virtual Numerical Control Environment (VINCENT)

New or modified control programs inevitably have to be tested on real NC machines. Nonetheless, this is a risky process for many machinery manufacturers and is preceded by as many tests as possible on the drawing board. One major risk is the destruction of a machine or damage to a workpiece by colliding components. The working area of units for the interacting assemblies of complex machines often cannot be separated mechanically and an unfinished control program has to keep components from colliding.

VINCENT generates kinematic models of machines from imported CAD data and uses IFF-RTI technology to connect them to real NC controllers dynamically. Embedded real-time collision detection detects and visualizes mechanical interference, even in highly complex machine models. This makes it possible to engineer control systems on a virtual model with realistic physical performance.

A machine’s mechanical structure is the basis of its model. Blocks, which are freely positionable and individually connectable in the structural view, enable users to define any kinematic configuration, including closed loops and branches, intuitively and quickly.

© Fraunhofer IFF

Structure graph of a complex robotic system.

A machine’s geometry is imported from any CAD system using the STEP exchange file format and assigned to the structure graph associatively using efficient GUI elements. A machine’s geometry can thus be modified within a few minutes. This is especially important for custom machine manufacturers or anyone using the tool for development.

The tree diagram contains not only the specifications of the machine’s kinematics but also information on its communication with the real NC controller. The configuration of the communications system, e.g. the addresses of axes on the PROFIBUS, is exported to the IFF-RTI. A single mouse click connects the three-dimensional virtual machine to the controller and it is examined for collisions in real time.

VINCENT is a Java framework, which can be run as a stand-alone application or integrated in customized solutions. Use VINCENT to protect your expensive machinery from programming errors and to develop your machine controllers.