Integration, software advance product lifecycle management

Cover story on system design: Smarter project designs result from system integration and planning, collaborative software tools, systems-driven engineering, and agile, integrated programming. Descriptions and links follow.


Control Engineering, August 2013, Racing toward System Design coverThis online article summarizes the articles that appear in the August Control Engineering cover story. Find links to each of the related articles that appear longer online with more details than below or in print. To see the cover story as it appeared in print, see the Control Engineering digital edition. [Digital edition will be posted on Aug. 16.]

Systems-driven product development

Automotive engineering challenges include balancing emissions, cost, and brand performance. The latest product lifecycle management software can integrate information from across the enterprise. Competing requirements vehicle manufacturers have to meet have never been more complex. They have to create an exciting product, one that sounds good, feels good, and delivers an exciting experience through more and more intelligent systems that are integrated with the consumer’s world. At the same time, the product has to become more fuel efficient, lighter, and more sustainable every year. Engineers have an increasingly difficult job finding exactly the right balance between many conflicting needs. All the intelligence in vehicles has resulted in, right now, over 20 million lines of code in the average vehicle and an ever growing set of requirements that must be managed and validated. Several leading automakers, like Volkswagen with the MQB [Modularer Querbaukasten, which means Modular Transverse Matrix] or Toyota with TNGA [Toyota New Global Architecture] are driving toward modularity, building global and cross-brand systems of compatible components. Read more by clicking into the linked headline above.

Figure 2, social media: Making Omnify Empower PLM software an integral part of the company’s R&D process via the cloud has enabled Mevion Medical Systems to create a more collaborative environment for innovation and made content sharing available from anySocial, mobile tools enhance the PLM model

System design: Product lifecycle management (PLM) software models enabled by social business tools can leverage the mobile connected workforce and use new collaborative skills to augment product engineering. PLM (along with related strategies, business practices, and technology design for acquiring and maintaining product information across the entire lifecycle of the product) can provide the ability to boost development speed, enhance customer satisfaction, optimize operations, and create new revenue generation opportunities—and new social and mobile tools are helping. Product designers and engineers managing their company’s PLM are becoming more mobile or distributed. When you couple that with an aging engineering workforce, there has become an even more critical need to capture the implicit knowledge that these team members possess and pass it on to younger generations of engineers. Read more by clicking into the linked headline above.

Project cost influence curve show that design changes cost more in later project stages. Courtesy: SAICSystem integration is a critical element in project design

Involve a system integrator early in project design to help ensure high-quality projects that satisfy project requirements. Working for a company that executes large projects using a design-build philosophy, it is easy to see the benefits of the traditional architect and engineer (A&E) approach to the design process. An A&E customer-focused approach uses design milestones for concept/feasibility and 30%, 60%, and 90% design reviews, with customer approvals at each stage. Key project disciplines are represented throughout the process to ensure the design functions as one cohesive solution. Read more by clicking into the linked headline above.

Figure 4: Simulation of a rotating wheel with a tool illustrates how code can be effectively developed and tested through simulation. Courtesy: Beckhoff AutomationSystem design: Agile programming streamlines software development

Agile programming helps identify and prioritize programming tasks in need of attention and address them one at a time. This involves some research, coding, and especially testing, and aims to streamline the code development lifecycle to enhance future machine designs.  In the lifecycle of a machine from inception through implementation, code can be effectively developed and tested through simulation. The right programming tools are essential to simplify design, especially as functionalities are integrated. Virtual reality machine design and modeling environment described below may be available in the future. Read more by clicking into the linked headline above.

Simpler software design tools

Figure 2: System design software simplifies the complexity of programming for different types of processing units and reduces the need for special expertise. LabVIEW code on the left is more streamlined for this application than comparable VHDL code on thIntegrating hardware and software into embedded systems can be complex. Keep it simple when choosing and working with software design tools to shorten design, development, testing, implementation, and upgrades. The right tools can speed development and enhance quality along the way, resolving issues earlier in the design cycle. System design software environments need to provide the five critical functionality and capabilities. System design software environments are used to design and test a wide range of control and measurement systems. They offer unprecedented integration with existing software, intellectual property (IP), and hardware while capitalizing on the latest computing technologies. Such software tools integrate with specific hardware architectures and modular platforms to maximize productivity and software reuse from early prototype to final deployment. The validated hardware and software integration eliminates the need to develop specialized drivers and middleware for all forms of I/O and peripherals, allowing embedded designers to quickly begin developing a specific application. Read more by clicking into the linked headline above.

Online extra: Many disparate elements from diverse areas of an organization, enterprise, and supply chain can comprise a system design. Integrated tools can simplify the process and preserve information along the way. Courtesy: Control EngineeringKey concepts

  • System integrators aid project design
  • Social and mobile tools help product lifecycle management
  • Systems design contributes to product development

Consider this

What can you gain with more integrated product lifecycle management?

- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering,

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