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Computer-aided design (CAD) is an integral part of engineering design in many industries. CAD tools allow engineers to model their mechanical systems in 3-D space. Although this approach is excellent for geometric modeling, incorporating controllers into this environment is difficult. Simulink® with SimMechanics™ software uses a block-diagram schematic approach for modeling control systems around mechanical devices. The SimMechanics Link utility bridges the gap between geometric modeling and block diagram modeling and simulation, by combining the power of Simulink and SimMechanics software with CAD.
Tip You can start learning how to use SimMechanics Link software with the Watch a CAD Import Video section following.
With the SimMechanics Link utility, you can create a SimMechanics model from a CAD assembly, in two steps.
The first translation step is to use the SimMechanics Link exporter to create an intermediate Physical Modeling XML file from a CAD assembly. Using SimMechanics software, you can then import that XML file to automatically generate a SimMechanics model.
With SimMechanics Link export, you initiate the translation of CAD assemblies into dynamical block diagram models. You export:
CAD assemblies into Physical Modeling XML format. The XML file captures the mass and inertia of each part in the assembly and the constraint definitions between parts.
Graphics files to define the body geometries of the assembly parts. The graphics files capture the body geometries of the assembly parts.
The second translation step is to import the Physical Modeling XML to generate the SimMechanics model, then use that model together with the body geometry graphics files to simulate and visualize the original mechanical system.
The XML representations of parts and constraints become bodies and joints in a SimMechanics model.
The generated SimMechanics model uses the exported body geometry graphics files to visualize the bodies.
For CAD platforms not directly supported, you can use the SimMechanics Link API to connect to your CAD platform API. You create a custom export link that achieves the same export results as for supported CAD platforms, export of the XML and body geometry files.