17/04/2010 by Kvaser

Kvaser’s PCI Canx modules prove their power in heavy machinery simulation

Oryx, a Kvaser customer, specializes in building simulators for applications as wide ranging as excavation, drilling and mining, forestry harvesting and container handling.

Oryx’s simulators are unique in their uncanny ability to replicate a machine’s real environment to the smallest detail. This means not only reproducing the operator’s cabin in its entirety, but also being able to imitate the weight and pressure experienced by the machine in a particular situation.

Each cabin sits on either an electric or hydraulic motion platform that responds to the operator’s commands in real-time. In addition, up to five flat screens are mounted like windows in a real cabin to provide further realism. However, it is Oryx’s advanced algorithms, generating billions of calculations in a fraction of a second, which are the key to making the system move and behave just like the real machine.

With so many inputs and output signals to manage, the most complex part of the simulator development is the communication between software and hardware. Oryx chose the CAN protocol to manage this, not only because of its popularity in the machine industry, but also because of its cost-effectiveness and stability.

Each machine has one or more Kvaser’s PCI Canx cards within the simulation computer, handling CAN communication between the simulation software and the machine’s interfaces. Johan Granström, Sales & Marketing Manager for Oryx Simulations AB notes: “We selected Kvaser as our supplier partly because of our geographic proximity, but also because of their flexibility and the help they offered during the development process. Kvaser’s products offer great Linux compatibility, which is crucial because all our simulators are based on Linux. We are also using Kvaser drivers and SDK kit.”

Oryx’s capacity to transform advanced simulation into intuitive and easy-to-use training tools is reaping benefits for customers and end users alike. For trainee operators, simulation results in a steeper learning curve, allowing them to concentrate on improving their skill without worrying about the consequences of a mistake. Another value is safety. Notes Granström: “Damages and injuries are common during basic training, so simulation removes the risk to personnel and equipment.” For training organizations, simulation allows the instructor to closely scrutinize students’ progress, whilst also enabling them to be exposed to dangerous and/or infrequent situations, such as a landslide. Meanwhile, fleet owners benefit from decreased wear and tear on vehicles, reduced fuels costs, plus the ability to monitor operator skill and productivity more rigorously than otherwise.