Earth Mover R&D

When Caterpillar Inc. wanted to improve its scale-model testing of its earth moving machines, its engineers selected a combination of software and real-time hardware from National Instruments.

Caterpillar wanted to be able to tweak a simulated model of a machine before testing the design with specialized robotic earth moving equipment, performing an initial evaluation of how the entire machine functioned before moving on to full-scale prototyping.

Innoventor, Inc., a systems integrator, helped build the machine-modeling system, which consists of two separate computer processors, each running NI's LabVIEW software. The first computer, a desktop PC, includes the system's user interface and collects data from an NI image acquisition board during the test. The second processor, an NI real-time PXI controller, controls the test process based on the selected Simulink model and collects data. A robot physically performs the test by controlling a scale model of a machine bucket that digs into a pile of soil. Transducers provide position, load, and torque feedback to the real-time control system.


Sensors 2019 Hits Silicon Valley June 25-27!

Join 7,000+ engineers this June in San Jose at the sensor industry’s biggest event! With 65+ Technical Sessions, 100+ Leading Speakers, 10 new and updated tracks, and 300+ Interactive Exhibits, there’s more opportunity than ever to connect with this booming industry and the technologies driving it. See thousands of the newest technologies in action, learn about the latest applications, and develop invaluable partnerships at the only event dedicated to sensors, connectivity, and systems.

Contact Ernest Martinez, National Instruments, Austin, TX; 800-258-7022,; Sam Hammond, Innoventor, Inc., Maryland Heights, MO; 314-692-9998, [email protected],

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