Simulink: a powerful simulation tool for R&D
February 22, 2019

Simulink: a powerful simulation tool for R&D

Juan Carlos Molina Castejón | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Simulink

Simulink is used by the entire faculty and students in engineering courses that require the development of electrical, mechanical, or chemical systems. It becomes particularly useful for the simulation of systems like industrial plant processes, control systems, hydraulic/pneumatic cylinders and actuators, integrated electronic systems and any other process that can be modeled using mathematical tools and physics laws.
  • Control system design for continuous and discrete systems. The control systems toolbox includes many pre-built blocks for common functions, signals and plant models that help you analyse input vs. output responses.
  • Greatly responsive and easy to use graphic based environment ideal for the easy representation of processes using signals that go from one block into another. Most engineering and scientific models including systems of equations can be translated to a Simulink model.
  • Many pre-built toolboxes allow you to save time and facilitate access to create models applicable to many areas of science/engineering like fluid mechanics, robotics, decision making and embedded or electrical systems.
  • Simulink comes bundled within the standard MATLAB package and most of its coding features/packages are compatible and can be used within the Simulink development environment.
  • Learning curve for designing accurate models and getting useful results can be pretty steep for most people that aren't used to graphical based design and representation of systems.
  • Simulink requires a lot of CPU power and computer resources to run smoothly without crashing. Together with the MATLAB environment, a standard installation consumes a lot of disk space and becomes greater when more toolboxes are included.
  • Community for Simulink support and documentation is inferior to that of MATLAB and it isn't used as a standard tool by most of academia. I believe other tools such as LabVIEW are far more common, making it easier to get help and find examples online.
  • Reduced investment to achieve desired outcomes in research projects.
  • Opened the doors for our students to experiment with previously unknown engineering methods.
  • Fostered the adoption of model-based design by a great portion of our faculty, especially in more technical areas.
Simulink has the best User-Interface and works seamlessly with MATLAB's developing environment and tools. On the other hand, graphical based simulation and development software are standalone software that require some sort of additional integration if you require more advanced features from scripting languages like Python or C. Additionally, similar software includes features for one specific scientific/engineering area whereas Simulink has a more general approach and feel.
Simulink is a great tool for designing systems in the very early stages of projects. This lets you understand concepts and have a working model much faster, saving you time and money by being able to find errors really quick.

On the other hand, when the projects reach a state of deployment you'll need to translate all the acquired knowledge and/or data from Simulink to the specific system you will be using. For example, you might design and validate a spacecraft propulsion system in Simulink, but when you build the real life model you will need to translate the designed algorithm/system to the actual code running aboard the spacecraft.