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Drilling Systems Modeling & Automation, Part 8: Real-Time Testing - HIL Simulation

For modern drilling rigs which have increasingly automated equipment, any errors or software bugs can spell disaster in terms of cost, safety and environmental impact. Hence, extensive testing is critical to ensuring the reliability of drilling systems. Hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) testing is a technique for validating your control algorithm, by creating a virtual real-time environment that represents the rig. This is useful because HIL simulations test the behavior of control algorithms without physical prototypes and eliminate costly iterations in hardware fabrication. In addition, it enables tests that could be dangerous or impossible to perform on the actual drilling rig equipment.

In this video, we use Simulink Real-Time and Speedgoat target hardware to perform real-time simulation and testing. We already have models of the system built in Simulink and Stateflow. Next, we deploy the control algorithm on a PLC and run the plant model in real time on the target computer connected to the controller. The embedded controller interacts with the plant model simulation through industrial I/O channels. Simulink Real-Time simplifies this workflow by offering built-in Speedgoat I/O driver blocks and a one-click mechanism to generate code, compile, download, and run on Speedgoat target.

Additional Resources:

- MATLAB for the Oil and Gas Industry: - Simulator codes on File Exchange: - Simulator codes on GitHub:

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