Introduction To The NA Simulator


Simulation is the representation of the behaviour or characteristics of one system through the use of another system, especially a computer program designed for the purpose.

  • • The NA Simulator displays a window which looks like the HMI and has the same functionality
  • • The NA Simulator uses the same ‘runtime’ as the actual device so will be behave the same
  • • Can be used alongside the NJ simulator for a complete machine simulation
  • • Simulation allows use of a debugger to step through VB Code
Benefits of Simulation

Simulation is an essential part of efficient development. When developing it’s great to be able to quickly see what something looks like or try out some VB Code without having to without having to spend time sending the project to the hardware device.

  • • Quick to try out or test new functionality or code
  • • No need to have the hardware nearby
  • • Possibility to debug code and single step through routines
  • • See things as they will look on the NA
  • • Can communicate with NJ Simulator to simulate the machine without using any hardware
Limitations with Simulation
  • • Not always an accurate gauge of performance
    • o Development PC will have more powerful CPU than NA
    • o Development PC may be running other tasks
    • o Communication with device is often a bottleneck
  • • Cannot communicate with actual NJ/CJ hardware
  • • Can only communicate with a single simulated NJ
  • • Some NA Features are supported during simulation by the Operating System which can differ between Simulation (on Win7) and WEC7 such as: PDF Viewer
  • • Some NA Features are not supported during simulation such as Trend Graph, Movies
Standalone Simulation

To start simulation, click on ‘Simulation | Start NA Simulation’. If necessary this will build the project and (if successful) will launch the simulator. Once launched it is possible to use the computer mouse to simulate clicks on the touch screen.


Once started, the simulator shows the screen as it will look on the real NA device. The simulator also simulated the function buttons on the panel:


Interaction with the screen can using the mouse to ‘touch’ the screen or if you have a touchscreen PC you can have a more authentic simulation using touch. Text entry can be made either using the popup keyboards, or by using the PC keyboard.

In simulation, all variables start with their default values which is usually zero unless you have set otherwise.

More Advanced Use of the Simulator

The NA Simulator allows you to single step through your VB.NET code, change variable values and run alongside the NJ simulator to simulate your HMI and your controller. For more information on the advanced Simulator features go to the Integrated Simulation and Debugging With Sysmac Studio And The NA article

See Also:

Introduction to the NA series HMI