The complexity of mechanical and multi-domain simulation models is rapidly increasing. Therefore new methods and standards are needed for model design. A new language, Modelica, has been proposed by an international design committee as a standard, object-oriented, equation-based language suitable for description of the dynamics of systems containing mechanical, electrical, chemical and other types of components. However, it is complicated to describe system models in textual form, whereas CAD systems are convenient tools for this purpose. Therefore we have designed an environment that supports the translation from CAD models to standard Modelica representation. This representation is then used for simulation and visualization. Assembly information is extracted from CAD models, from which a Modelica model is generated. By solving equations expressed in Modelica, the system is simulated. We have designed several interactive 3D visualization tools which display expected and actual model behavior, as well as additional graphical elements for the purpose of engineering visualization. We applied this environment for robot movement and helicopter flight simulation.
2000. Vol. 5, no 7