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Dependency Modeling and Model Management in Mechatronic Design
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.), Mechatronics.
Model-Based Systems Engineering Center, G. W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA.
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.), Mechatronics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7550-3134
Micronic-Mydata AB.
2012 (English)In: Journal of Computing and Information Science in Engineering, ISSN 1530-9827, Vol. 12, no 4, 041009- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Mechatronic design is traditionally supported through domain-specific design activities throughout the product development process. The partitioning into domain-specific problems leads to a situation where product properties influence each other, hence giving rise to dependencies. These dependencies play a key role in the prediction of properties and, as a result, in the decision-making process. The important question is how to manage the dependencies for efficient and effective decision making? The aim of this paper is threefold. First, we investigate the nature of dependencies and study how to model them. The paper proposes appropriate terminology taking into account the synthesis and analysis nature of both the properties and the dependencies. This terminology will be the core of the new dependency modeling language. The concepts related to dependency modeling are then illustrated through a simple robot design example, where the creation and importance of a dependency model are explained. Second, we study practical approaches for consistency management and model management in the presence of dependencies. Six levels-of-detail in modeling dependencies are presented; emphasizing that modeling at a higher level-of-detail ensures that more inconsistencies are avoided. Available languages such as OMG SysML™ are evaluated for a possible creation of the dependency models leading toward executable dependency networks. However, at present, SysML does not provide sufficiently rich language constructs to model dependencies. Third, we compare our dependency modeling approach to other state-of-the-art approaches such as dependency modeling with a design structure matrix (DSM), and highlight the benefits of the terminology proposed in this paper. We aim to convince the reader that there is substantial value in modeling dependencies explicitly, especially to avoid inconsistencies, which is not the current state of practice. However, an overall value from dependency modeling can only be obtained if the cost of creating the dependency model is reasonable. Issues such as human interaction/effort and model management through product lifecycle management (PLM) are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ASME, 2012. Vol. 12, no 4, 041009- p.
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-107544DOI: 10.1115/1.4007986ISI: 000314095100009ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84870991447OAI: diva2:576523
XPRES - Initiative for excellence in production research

QC 20130115

Available from: 2012-12-13 Created: 2012-12-13 Last updated: 2013-04-16Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Model and Dependency Management in Mechatronic Design
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Model and Dependency Management in Mechatronic Design
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Managing consistency is a major concern in the design of complex engineering systems. At times, inconsistencies may lead to wrong decisions, resulting in design flaws which can compromise safety and cause failures. One cannot forget the 1999 NASA unmanned MARS Climate Orbiter, which was destroyed due to use of inconsistent units by design teams. Sadly, the history of inconsistency causing failures does not end there. In 2006 Airbus suffered a massive 6.1 billion dollar loss due to use of inconsistent specifications in different versions of design tools. So what causes inconsistency, and how best to avoid it? These are some of the critical questions behind the research reported in this thesis.

Today's engineering systems cannot be designed by a single individual, but require the efforts of design teams each managing a portion of the overall problem. Naturally, information exchange between teams is necessary for effective decision making. However such communication is often error-prone and inadequate to manage dependencies between tasks, operations, components or properties. As a consequence, inconsistencies and design errors arise, which may cause catastrophic failures.

This thesis investigates the nature of dependencies, typically in the design process of mechatronic products, and proposes an approach for model and dependency management. The proposed solution is based on an expressive Domain Specific Language which enables capturing dependencies (between disparate models) formally and explicitly. This language is called the Dependency Modeling Language (DML), and the supporting tool is named the Dependency Modeler. The overall approach is exemplified through a robot design example, where the DML is used to capture dependencies between mechanical design and control design models. In support of the DML, dependency patterns gather known dependency relationships between different types of properties - such as a pattern between system hierarchy and mechanical CAD assembly. Model transformations are essential to support execution of such patterns and to support the necessary information exchange between disparate models to enable dependency modeling. Transformations supporting the dependency pattern between system hierarchy and mechanical CAD assembly are illustrated for the robot example. Initial reflections on the Dependency Modeler show a strong potential to support change management, workflow management and consistency management.

Future work targets further development and testing of DML in order to achieve a sound platform for dependency management. A development environment supported by an integration framework - encompassing different model-based design tools - is envisioned as an infrastructure for model management in mechatronic design. It is hoped that such an infrastructure will equip designers with the best possible tools to make better decisions and to spot design errors that might otherwise be fatal.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2013. xviii, 145 p.
Trita-MMK, ISSN 1400-1179 ; 2013:03
Dependency Modeling, Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE), Mechatronic Design, Model Integration, Tool Integration, Common Language, Mechatronic Challenges, Domain Specific Language.
National Category
Embedded Systems
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-119522 (URN)978-91-7501-664-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-03-27, B319, Brinellvägen 85, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)

QC 20130318

Available from: 2013-03-18 Created: 2013-03-15 Last updated: 2013-03-18Bibliographically approved

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