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Managing dependencies in mechatronic design: a case study on dependency management between mechanical design and system design
Georgia Institute of Technology, United States .
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.), Mechatronics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7550-3134
Micronic-MyData AB.
2015 (English)In: Engineering with Computers, ISSN 0177-0667, E-ISSN 1435-5663, Vol. 31, no 3, 631-646 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this paper, we have investigated the role of dependencies in the design process of mechatronic products. Since explicit modeling of dependencies is largely considered unnecessary today, current languages do not support dependency modeling due to lack of sufficiently expressive language constructs. However, this paper argues that modeling dependencies is important in managing the overall design process. The paper highlights dependencies between two important viewpoints: system design and mechanical design. We have looked closely at how mechanical design (supported by CAD tools) establishes a backbone for the overall design concept. Mechanical design cannot be isolated from other design activities, and the mismanagement of dependencies there leads to problems in other domains too. To illustrate the process, the paper presents an example of modeling dependencies between system hierarchy in OMG SysML™ and the CAD assembly in Solid Edge for a mechatronic design example. The paper presents two different approaches to capturing dependencies—using a general purpose modeling language such as SysML and using a domain specific modeling language (DSML). We argue for using a DSML instead of a general purpose language and provide a DSML called the dependency modeling language (DML). An example DML model for a two degree of freedom robot use case is discussed. The paper also illustrates the complete process of capturing dependencies in a general purpose modeling language like SysML, which served as a good exercise on how to fetch data from a CAD tool and how to represent dependencies inside a significantly different modeling language. Lessons learned from doing this were applied to the construction of DML. Our aim for the future is to reduce the human effort required to build dependency models. Machine learning techniques and automated model transformations are valuable techniques to support this cause.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2015. Vol. 31, no 3, 631-646 p.
Keyword [en]
CAD, Dependency management, DSML, Mechatronic design, Model transformations, PDM/PLM, SysML
National Category
Computer Systems
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-119523DOI: 10.1007/s00366-014-0366-xISI: 000356047300017ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84931261077OAI: diva2:611337

QC 20150701

Available from: 2013-03-15 Created: 2013-03-15 Last updated: 2015-07-06Bibliographically 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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