IQIP Uses HIL for Virtual Commissioning of Offshore Machines

“Without the HIL system, operator training was performed with an actual Hydrohammer, which is costly. With the HIL system, we can now simulate all sorts of faults occurring in reality in the field. On an actual pile driving machine, many of them would lead to damage.”

Key Outcomes

  • Achieved faster development, integration, and testing of offshore pile driving machinery using virtual commissioning
  • Improved product reliability through comprehensive fault injection testing
  • HIL setup enabled realistic training environments for operators with fault injection that is impossible to recreate on the real machine
IQIP’s hardware-in-the-loop setup, consisting of the real control hardware, a machine simulation, a laptop, and a 3D plant visualization, as well as actual control hardware connected to the real-time target.

Hardware-in-the-loop setup with 3D visualization (left) and the actual control hardware connected to the real-time target (right).

Headquartered in the Netherlands, IQIP is a worldwide leader in developing machines that install offshore and coastal foundations for large-scale constructions. Given the environment in which these machines operate, integration testing can be a challenge. IQIP uses modeling and simulation to validate machine design, analyze operational performance, and test fault management capabilities. The company’s simulation model includes the control algorithm, machine dynamics, and response of the foundation element to the installation process—including the interaction with soil under the sea. As such, the IQIP engineering team decided to use this existing simulation for a hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) setup for virtual commissioning of the control algorithm, as well as to train operators on the Hydrohammer®, a hydraulic pile driver.

The HIL system fully virtualizes the Hydrohammer—along with its powerpack—on a Speedgoat® machine and is configured via an instrumentation application running on a separate laptop. The virtualized Hydrohammer is then interfaced with the real hammer control box, powerpack control box, and human-machine interface—plus several solenoid actuators. Attached to it is a 3D photorealistic visualization of the machine with sound effects based on the Unity® game engine and a modem connection to communicate device status to a centralized monitoring system.

The use of this setup for virtual commissioning offers numerous advantages, including faster integration testing, fault injection, time and cost savings, and improved product quality. Additionally, the setup enables the simulation of mechanical and electrical faults commonly encountered in the field, providing a safe and effective training environment for operators without the risk of hardware damage. The incorporation of 3D visualizations and sound further contributes to a lifelike experience, better preparing the trainees for their jobs offshore.