System-simulations involving fluid-power structures often result in numerically stiff model equations which may require prohibitively small simulation time steps when being tackled with a fixed-step solver. This poses a challenge in situations where real-time performance is required. This paper presents a practical rule-of-thumb to estimate the maximum permissible step-size for a given fluid power system and explains the influence of the relevant physical quantities on the step size requirement in simple terms. A categorization of methods suitable to relax the step-size requirement is proposed. Many research papers have been produced about methods and examples of how to improve real-time performance of fluid power systems, or stiff systems in general. The proposed categorization can be seen as a map for the simulation engineer to understand the basic point-of-attacks for the real-time simulation problem.

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