Couple MotionSolve with Activate

MotionSolve can interface with Activate, an open and flexible integration platform for comprehensive system-of-systems simulation.

Activate is based on a hybrid block diagram modeling environment for signal blocks, object oriented physical components, and electric and electronics systems. Use Activate to perform multiphysics analysis throughout the development cycle.

The Value of Coupling MotionSolve and Activate

By coupling MotionSolve with Activate, you can study complex multi-physical systems, such as a hybrid powertrain. In this coupling, the structural 3D analysis of the crankshaft and cylinders is handled by MotionSolve, while the modular, parametric system integration involving 0-D, 1D, and 3D multi-physical systems is handled by Activate, as shown below. The coupling enables CAE and non-CAE experts to refine system-level models and simulations rapidly and continually. It also provides a better understanding of electromechanical subsystem interaction as well as controller performance.

Figure 1.

Implement Coupling

The coupling between MotionSolve and Activate is achieved via co-simulation between the two products. Both products run in parallel, each on their own process (IPC) using their own solver and step-size. Activate is the leading solver and MotionSolve follows. Co-simulation between MotionSolve and Activate can be performed on local or remote computer systems. The interface between MotionSolve and Activate is defined by inputs and outputs in each system. For MotionSolve models, special modeling statements, such as Control: Plant Input and Control: Plant Output, are added to specify its inputs/outputs. These statements reference variables that are either used as inputs to the model (for example, forces or torques) or measure outputs (for example, displacements or velocities). MotionSolve is coupled to Activate either via a proprietary MSPlant/MSSignal block in Activate or via FMU. The former approach is the preferred choice.

MSPlant/MSSignal Coupling

Activate provides the proprietary MSPlant and MSSignal blocks. A MotionSolve model connects to an Activate model directly via one of those blocks. These blocks specify the MotionSolve model and have inputs and outputs based on the ControlPlant elements defined in the model. MSSignal is a variant of MSPlant block that displays the name of MS signals at the input/output ports of the block. Please follow the Activate online help on how to use the MSPlant or MSSignal blocks in Activate.

FMU Coupling

MotionSolve Models as a Functional Mockup Unit (FMU) describes the process on how to export a MotionSolve model as an FMU. This FMU can then be imported into Activate. Please follow the Activate online help on how to import FMUs.
Note: The FMU coupling has certain limitations 123.


Both solvers generate results for their respective models that can be post-processed within their own software or software tools.


  1. Activate models can include multiple MSPlant or MSSignal blocks due to the IPC for co-simulation between Activate and MotionSolve. However, only one MotionSolve FMU block is supported in Activate.
  2. The MSPlant and MSSignal blocks support MotionSolve models that entail compiled and/or scripted user-defined subroutines. The FMU coupling officially does not supports user-defined subroutines.
  3. Since MotionSolve is the leading solver for the Altair EDEM and Altair OptiStruct coupling, a three-way coupling with Activate is also supported, where MotionSolve-EDEM/OptiStruct co-simulation is embedded into an Activate model as either an MSPlant or MSSignal block. The FMU coupling officially does not support a three-way coupling.
  4. A detailed description of the MotionSolve-Activate co-simulation and its intrinsic workings can be found in the ActivateExtended Definitions for Advanced Users help.
  5. Detailed step-by-step instructions on how to use a coupling with Activate can be found in MV-7010: Co-Simulation with Activate - Quadrotor Control and MV-7011: Co-Simulation with Activate via Function Mockup Interface (FMI).