Happy automation for developers and users: Modelica modeling and FMI Add-in for Excel

Newly-developed automation with FMI Add-in for Excel streamlines the process of going from Modelica to a simulator in Excel.

The need for automation

We hear it all the time.  Our customers want to do more model-based systems engineering. So that means more models deployed to more users…and preferably without more model developers and budget.  Everyone wants more but how can we meet the demand?  Cloning doesn’t seem like a viable option (unless you know something I don’t). 

More automation and streamlined processes can help. With Modelica, we have an equation-based modeling language that provides great efficiency on the modeling side.  The Functional Mockup Interface (FMI) provides even more ways to integrate and deploy models to users, even in non-traditional CAE environments.  These two technologies offer the potential for enabling you to do more with less. 

Dynamic simulation in Excel

Like it or not, Microsoft Excel is an engineering tool…because engineers use it.  FMI Add-in for Excel brings the power of physical modeling into Microsoft Excel based on the FMI standard. The model developer can create models in a range of FMI-compliant tools and deploy those models as simulators in Excel.  The simulators allow users to run simulations outside the native modeling environment, often without requiring licenses for the original development tools.  Deploying models with Excel can also provide a less intimidating front end for running simulations. 

With Modelica and the FMI Add-in for Excel, we can make both developers and users happy.  Model developers can use best-in-class tools for building models and can deploy those models in a range of different tools using FMI. Users can run simulations and perform engineering analyses in familiar tools. See [1] for some recent work with Oak Ridge National Labs that combines the power of Modelica physical modeling in Dymola with deployment in Excel.

Automation with FMI Add-in for Excel

FMI Add-in for Excel is a flexible tool with a straight-forward workflow.  Starting with a co-simulation FMU, you load the FMU, choose parameters and outputs to expose for simulation, create an experiment sheet for batch simulation, and run dynamic simulations in parallel using available cores on your machine.  Standard post-processing is done with Excel.

With the available APIs and some scripting, we can automate the entire process.  This short video demonstrates an automated process for going from a Modelica model to a deployed simulation in Excel that runs and plots with just one click.  By automating the process, we can now make it even easier to develop and deploy FMI-based simulators in Excel. 

Find out more

Contact us if you would like more information or a demo of this automation capability. More information and release notes for FMI Add-in for Excel are available on our FMI Add-in for Excel product webpage


[1] Hale, R., Cetiner, S., Fugate, D., Qualls, L., Batteh, J., and Tiller, M., Dynamic Modeling of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors using MoDSim, Proceedings of the 10th International Modelica Conference, Lund, Sweden, March 2014, pp. 989-998. 

John Batteh is Group Manager and Technical Specialist at Modelon Inc. He holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from University of Michigan and has 15 years experience in physical modeling and simulation, with expertise in powertrain and thermofluid systems. In his current position, he is focused on helping customers leverage the power of Modelica and FMI for model-based systems engineering.