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Test & measurement


Wind turbine control system software testing


When Siemens wanted to improve the automated testing of frequent software releases of wind turbine control systems as well as control system components in the development phase, the company approached CMI Industrial Systems and National Instruments (NI) to help develop a hardware- in-the-loop simulator


A


wind turbine system consists of several components including the rotor, gear, converter, and


transformer used to convert kinetic wind energy to electricity.


The control system interfaces with these components through hundreds of I/O signals and multiple communication protocols. The most complex part of the control system is the embedded control software executing the control loops. Because Siemens’ software developers


regularly release a new software version for the controller, they need to test the software to verify that these releases will execute reliably in the wind park’s conditions. With every software release the software developers perform factory acceptance testing before the software can be used in the field. This new test system gives them the ability to automate this process.


LeSSoNS LearNed froM the PrevIouS SySteM Siemens’ previous test system was developed 10 years ago and based on another software environment and PCI data acquisition boards. The test system architecture and performance did not meet the company’s new requirements for test time and scalability. It was difficult to maintain and did not have sufficient automation capabilities for efficient testing. It also lacked automatic test result documentation and test case traceability and did not provide the required remote control capabilities. In addition, the old HIL test environment did not support multicore processing, which prevented Siemens from taking advantage of the computing power of the latest multicore processors.


deCISIoN for future SySteMS After evaluating the available technologies, Siemens selected LabVIEW software and PXI- based real-time and field-programmable gate array (FPGA) hardware to develop its new test solution. The company believes this


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technology gives Siemens the flexibility and expandability to meet its future technical requirements. Because Siemens did not have in-depth


development expertise for test systems in- house, it contracted the development to CIM Industrial Systems in Denmark. CIM has the test engineering capability available and the largest number of certified LabVIEW architects in Europe.


a fLexIbLe reaL-tIMe teSt SySteM arChIteCture The new test system simulates the behaviour of the real wind turbine components by running simulation models for these components in the LabVIEW Real-Time system to supply simulated signals to the system under test. The host computer has an intuitive


LabVIEW GUI that users can easily adapt by moving the components in the panel. The Windows OS application also communicates with two external instruments that were not real-time compatible. The software on the host computer


communicates with the LabVIEW Real-Time target in a PXI-1042Q chassis over Ethernet. LabVIEW Real-Time runs simulation software that typically consists of 20 to 25 simulation DLLs executing in parallel. This solution can call user models built with almost any modelling environment such as the NI LabVIEW Control Design and Simulation Module, The MathWorks, Inc. Simulink software, or ANSI C code. A typical execution rate of Siemens’ simulation loop is 24ms, leaving plenty of processing capacity to meet future expansion needs.


fPGa boardS for CuStoM WINd turbINe ProtoCoLS aNd SeNSor SIMuLatIoNS There are a lot of custom communication protocols used in wind turbines because of the lack of existing standards. Using an NI PXI-R Series FPGA-based multifunction


January 2019 Instrumentation Monthly


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