On 15th March 2021, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, OPAL-RT and ECPE organised a digital workshop on "Hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) - Testing of Power Electronics: Concepts, Updates and Trends". Experts from industry and academia presented their application and experiences in HIL-related topics to a large international auditorium of more than 90 participants coming from three different continents.
Generally, in-the-loop topics cover a wide range and are often described as X-in-the-loop, where X can be software, controller, hardware or power-hardware.
Several examples were given of how HIL is used in the development process of components for drives, power plants, on-board power supply system of large ships as well as microgrids and the main grid.
HIL does not only speed up developing time (e.g. by testing software and hardware in parallel) but offers new functions like e.g. virtual testing of prototypes in a customer’s application. As one speaker pointed out: “HIL is enabling technology for digitalization”. However, HIL can also be used as a service on demand like e.g. for a 100% check of components for medical applications.
The session “Power Electronics” showed that even the behaviour of fast switching Wide Band-Gap (WBG) power devices can be modelled successfully, supporting the development of new or optimized converter topologies. Also, virtual power losses caused by the switching process can be calculated. This requires, computation time-steps much shorter than the period of switching and feasible time-steps of 100ns were reported as achievable.