Ebook: Transdisciplinary Lifecycle Analysis of Systems
Concurrent Engineering (CE) is based on the premise that different phases of a product’s lifecycle should be conducted concurrently and initiated as early as possible within the Product Creation Process (PCP). It has become the substantive basic methodology in many industries, including automotive, aerospace, machinery, shipbuilding, consumer goods, process industry and environmental engineering. CE aims to increase the efficiency of the PCP and reduce errors in later phases while incorporating considerations for full lifecycle and through-life operations.
This book presents the proceedings of the 22nd ISPE Inc. (International Society for Productivity Enhancement) International Conference on Concurrent Engineering (CE2015) entitled ‘Transdisciplinary Lifecycle Analysis of Systems’, and held in Delft, the Netherlands, in July 2015. It is the second in the series ‘Advances in Transdisciplinary Engineering’. The book includes 63 peer reviewed papers and 2 keynote speeches arranged in 10 sections: keynote speeches; systems engineering; customization and variability management; production oriented design, maintenance and repair; design methods and knowledge-based engineering; multidisciplinary product management; sustainable product development; service oriented design; product lifecycle management; and trends in CE.
Containing papers ranging from the theoretical and conceptual to the highly pragmatic, this book will be of interest to all engineering professionals and practitioners; researchers, designers and educators.
This book of proceedings contains papers peer reviewed and accepted for the 22nd ISPE Inc. International Conference on Concurrent Engineering, held at the TU Delft, The Netherlands, July 20–23th, 2015. This is the second issue of the newly introduced series “Advances in Transdisciplinary Engineering” which publishes the proceedings of the CE conference series. The CE conference series is organized annually by the International Society of Productivity Enhancement (ISPE, Inc.) and constitutes an important forum for international scientific exchange on concurrent engineering and collaborative enterprises. These international conferences attract a significant number of researchers, industry experts and students, as well as government representatives, who are interested in the recent advances in concurrent engineering research, advancements and applications.
Developed in the 80's, the CE approach is based on the concept that different phases of a product lifecycle should be conducted concurrently and initiated as early as possible within the Product Creation Process (PCP), including the implications within the extended enterprise and networks. The main goal of CE is to increase the efficiency of the PCP and to reduce errors in the later phases, as well as to incorporate considerations for the full lifecycle and through-life operations. In the past decades, CE has become the substantive basic methodology in many industries (e.g., automotive, aerospace, machinery, shipbuilding, consumer goods, process industry, environmental engineering) and is also adopted in the development of new services and service support.
The initial basic CE concepts have matured and have become the foundations of many new ideas, methodologies, initiatives, approaches and tools. Generally, the current CE focus concentrates on enterprise collaboration and its many different elements; from integrating people and processes to very specific complete multi/inter/transdisciplinary solutions. Current research on CE is driven again by many factors like increased customer demands, globalization, (international) collaboration and environmental strategies. The successful application of CE in the past opens also the perspective for future applications like overcoming natural catastrophes and sustainable mobility concepts with electrical vehicles.
The CE2015 Organizing Committee has identified 31 thematic areas within CE and launched a Call For Papers accordingly, with resulting submissions submitted from all continents of the world. The conference is entitled: “Transdisciplinary Lifecycle Analysis of Systems”. This title reflects the variety of processes and methods which influences the modern product creation. Finally, the submissions as well as invited talks were collated into 18 streams led by outstanding researchers and practitioners.
The Proceedings contains 63 peer-reviewed papers by authors from 21 countries and 2 invited keynote papers. These papers range from the theoretical, conceptual to strongly pragmatic addressing industrial best practice. The involvement of more than 13 companies from many industries in the presented papers gives additional importance to this conference.
This book on ‘Transdisciplinary Lifecycle Analysis of Systems’ is directed at three constituencies: researchers, design practitioners, and educators. Researchers will benefit from the latest research results and knowledge of product creation processes and related methodologies. Engineering professionals and practitioners will learn from the current state of the art in concurrent engineering practice, new approaches, methods, tools and their applications. The educators in the CE community gather the latest advances and methodologies for dissemination in engineering curricula, while the community also encourages young educators to bring new ideas into the field.
Part 1 of the Proceedings comprises the keynotes while Part 2 is entitled Systems Engineering and contains an extensive overview on new research and development in Systems Engineering in research and practice. Part 3 outlines the importance of Customization and Variability Management within CE. It contains several methods for developing and producing customer-specific products and managing the variability of components and modules from which the product is composed. In Part 4, Production-Oriented Design and Maintenance and Repair, a variety of (cloud) approaches in manufacturing and service are highlighted. Part 5 addresses Design Methods and Knowledge-Based Engineering with many approaches to support the design process and building, saving, and using knowledge in the complex environment of CE. Part 6 focuses on Multi-Disciplinary Product Management with an emphasis on information management. Part 7 contains contributions on Sustainable Product Development, a subject that is gaining growing attention. Part 8 illustrates a number of key-topics on Service-Oriented Design. This topic is also very important in the context of CE. Part 9 deals with the Product Lifecycle Management, emphasizing the importance of management product data, information, and knowledge throughout the whole life of a product. Finally, Part 10 contains contributions on Trends in CE with ideas for further research on methods and tools with involvement of practice.
We acknowledge the high quality contributions of all authors to this book and the work of the members of the International Program Committee who assisted with the blind triple peer-review of the original papers submitted and presented at the conference. Readers are sincerely invited to consider all of the contributions made by this year's participants through the presentation of CE2015 papers collated into this book of proceedings. We hope that they will be further inspired in their work for disseminating their ideas for new approaches for sustainable product development in a multi-disciplinary environment within the ISPE, Inc. community.
Richard Curran, General Chair
TU Delft, The Netherlands
Nel Wognum, Co-General Chair
Milton Borsato, Program Chair
Federal University of Technology, Paraná-Curitiba, Brazil
Josip Stjepandić, Co-Program Chair
PROSTEP AG, Germany
Wim J.C. Verhagen, Secretary General
TU Delft, The Netherlands
Sustainability of electronic products until recently mainly focused on improving the energy efficiency. Recently, resource efficiency has become of growing importance. Due to the use of relatively small amounts of many valuable and scarce materials, often intimately mixed, the design of electronic products deserves specific attention. From a materials perspective measures are needed to improve on recyclability. In addition to the use of recyclable materials, the ability to break connections between materials that are not compatible in recycling processes is crucial. Environmentally and economically more interesting than recovery of materials is the reuse of components or products. To enable multiple product lifecycles, product design should also explicitly address maintenance, upgradeability, modularity and disassembly. Design guidelines will be presented and challenges with respect to impact assessment and business model development will be discussed.
The next big innovation management theme, what could it possible be? Are we stuck with standardizing the End to End innovation process, using innovation ecosystems and lean forever or is there more to come? There is more to come, the next big thing may be an evolutionary innovation process sucking in all kinds of best practices, it may be white spot analysis, helping companies to look beyond their current horizons, or having the user take over innovation, and pulling their ideas through the corporate ranks to get them to market.
Complex engineering systems development comprises many technological elements that have to be integrated together to function as one system. Traditionally, a project based approach will create a new product. However after many years of product engineering, the systems engineer can now be faced with engineering of technologies that need to integrate with legacy systems which may continue their deployment over a long period of time. Legacy integration poses problems for traditional systems engineering methods, such that the success of a complex engineering product cannot be measured simply in terms of the successful commissioning of the system, but requires a measure of product performance within the larger scale system and pre-existing development system over the course of the product's deployment. This paper uses the development of a hydrological smart phone system to illustrate the concept of a “Heuristic” approach to Systems Engineering. The authors propose that the traditional systems engineering method needs flexibility to perform a Heuristic translation to provide error correction shortcuts in the legacy engineering methodology.
This paper aims to present a new approach to Integrated Management System (IMS), as a management system able to manage all stakeholders identified by an organization. A worldwide trend to integrate the requirements of different standardized management systems is observed, but organizations have faced an increasing number of standardized systems, motivating many researchers to focus on new integration methodologies. Taking as reference the management systems used by the most organizations (e.g.: quality, environmental, safety and occupational health and social responsibility), this paper intends to present the existing commonalities among the requirements of these standards and after that, to present the existing commonalities among stakeholders identified for each integrable requirements. Stakeholder management can also be interpreted as an effective way to map out requirements for processes and products, as well as a way to map out management requirements for an organization, which enables to implement requirements in addition to those already defined in standardized systems such as ISO standards. Therefore, it can be affirmed that the traditional IMS approach allows a generalization of the IMS concept towards stakeholder management by analyzing the commonalities among the most used standardized systems and its stakeholders. The Integrated Stakeholders Management proposed in this paper is unlimited, making organizations do not become dependent only on standardized systems. This new approach helps to incorporate requirements provided by an analysis of stakeholders demand. In this context, it is concluded that the new concept of IMS proposed herein is an alternative solution organizations that aim to achieve better levels of satisfaction of stakeholders, focusing on meeting their requirements and also in overcoming their expectations in an integrated manner within their management processes, not depending only on the standardized systems.
This paper aims to present the importance to create a new and lean process for identifying potential failures during development of complex products. It has been identified in the literature and in companies the lack of knowledge to select the most appropriate quality tools in order to solve and or prevent the potential problems that might appear during the prototype development and launching phases of complex products. Literature about quality tools are easily found, therefore there is much questioning on the appropriate quality tools to be selected and how, where and when they should be applied. Based on this, this article aims to provide the understanding of the quality tools during program development and direct their application (Design for Six Sigma, Design FMEA, QFD, TRIZ, Robust Engineering, DFM and DFA). It is noticeable that even applying quality tools during all phases of complex products the failures still exist and, therefore, still cause a lot of problems to the companies that can be letal (example: at aerospace, automotive, metallurgical, medical and others companies) (CANCIGLIERI, OKIMURA, 2015) . Besides all this, this paper will provide the evidence that something in addition to quality tools application should be done to guarantee design robustness of complex products. Two case studies provide evidences that only performing quality tools analysis like Design FMEA, DFSS, DFM, DFA and others is not enough to achieve the objectives of quality, as well as competitiveness, that large companies are looking for. A new and lean process is necessary to evaluate and identify the failures in a robust and definitive scenario. The new processes is based on the concept of Lean System Engineering as well as Lean Engineering Principles and propose to create a dual process to the systems engineering process mitigating the risks of failing what should be done as planned in the product and its life cycle processes.
The robust engineering and many related engineering applications are seeking for design of products and processes insensitive to changes in the work environment as well as to variation of the components. At the individual type of production the basic function of the product and the main design solutions are generally known, but a unique product is assumed to have its own details that require the respective individual design approach and have a direct impact on both, the design process as well as on a later production process. Such an industrial environment is very specific, therefore robust construction process plays a key role in the final value of the product. The robust process has built-in mechanisms to detect potential errors on time, to eliminate them and to initiate all the necessary measures to ensure the same error does not occur again. Implementation methodology of these mechanisms is essential, as it should provide cost-effective and useful engineering solutions. The sample company is engaged in the development and production of large power transformers. Based on a systematic analysis of current development and design process we propose a multi-level, systematic approach for a complete renewal of system information and working methodology, where reorganization of activities are anticipated to result in an increase of overall effectiveness. The paper presents the key preliminary findings and deals with answers of how to analytically manage individual segments of design process in order to achieve optimal conditions for individualized construction process. At the end the instructions for the implementation of improvements as well as recommendations for further activities are given. The final aim of the research is to implement the identified solutions in a real-world industrial environment, to obtain their approval and finally to establish a generalized model of support processes for individual production.
Electronic commerce (EC) is the process of selling and buying goods or services through an online platform used for conducting the necessary business communications and transactions for sellers and buyers over the Internet. EC companies sell products online with an emphasis on running the entire supply chain process efficiently. The business processes, that enterprises use to conduct e-commerce business, are quite valuable and can be treated as intellectual properties (IPs). Business method patents provide inventors and enterprises with protection for the unique business process. The United States provides business method patent owners an exclusive IP right for 20 years. A good quality business method patent is considered a powerful and effective tool to generate revenue and bar potential competitors from duplicating the practices. Patent analysis can assist companies in evaluating their business strategies or redesign their business processes. Grouping patent documents and defining a domain ontology helps companies describe technology trends and innovations. This research uses Amazon's business processes as a case example to conduct business method patent analysis, particularly considering order fulfillment as a key method to manage inventory and purchase orders. An EC ontology schema is constructed based on the key EC business processes and key-phrase extraction from the patents. Understanding Amazon's patents and their relationships to the business process, other EC enterprises can examine their own patents' strategic strengths and weaknesses. In addition, they can prevent their business processes not to infringe upon existing EC patents.
Projects represent the principal means of materialization of products. The inherent complexity of product projects is treated through the techniques and approaches project management. Throughout products life cycle the techniques and approaches project management are mainly involved in the planning, programming and control of project activities conducted in context of resource constrained under uncertainties. In addition of scenarios the complexity of the projects, there are some classes of products, typical of industries of the defense, aerospace, telecommunication, software, and biomedicine, which are problematic for current methods of resource constrained project planning and scheduling under uncertainty. The existing methods fail because they suffer from one or more of the following limitations: focused mainly on the basic RCPSP (Resource Constrained Project Scheduling Problem) model; dealing with only one source of uncertainty, mostly in duration of activities; and do not model uncertainties.
This paper presents the kinematic model of projects scheduling which considering the inherent restrictions in nature of the projects: precedence among project activities; uncertainties of the duration of project activities; and uncertainties in availability of resources for execution of project activities. The kinematic model of projects scheduling provides a graph and mathematical model with the advantages: estimation of the project duration and resources due to uncertainties; estimation of the uncertainties due to project duration and resources; improvement of the outcomes of planning and scheduling of project activities; and assists the dynamics of projects providing information for collaboration policy of the durations and resources between project activities and between different projects. This article describes the Resource Constrained Project Scheduling Problem under uncertainties, discuss previous work on planning under uncertainty, and presentation of the kinematic model of projects scheduling with resource constrained under uncertainties along with a small example of implementation.
Concurrent Engineering (CE) aims at the goal of cost and time reduction as well as quality improvement. For this achievement of CE, the collaboration of various activities are considered, ranging from design disciplines, manufacturing and assembly, marketing and purchasing, all the way to the end users. In this respect, collaboration of people from various activities among different locations is crucial to the success of CE, where the collaboration does not mean the activities for industries but also for academia to pursue global research/education. TMAC (TokushimaU UTeM Academic Centre) has been established in September, 2014 in order to enhance the academic collaboration between the two institutions. TMAC is not a satellite office of Tokushima University at UTeM but a joint academic center which is designed to be operated by a virtual team composed of the existing faculties who serve for each institution. In other words, TMAC has a unique organizational structure based on the virtual team across the globe. Therefore, it is a very critical project to figure out how to enhance the global collaboration among TMAC staffs. For enhancing the collaboration, some existing communication tools and collaboration system are already under use. However, a new type of cloud-based computing system is required to satisfy the specific needs of this unique organization. This paper overviews the outline of TMAC and presents an idea of cloud-based supervision system to support virtual team organization for global academic collaboration of TMAC, which could be applied to the similar types of global collaboration.
This research focuses on the material procurement process improvement of a manufacturer under one-stop logistic services and proposes a to-be process offering a vendor-managed inventory (VMI) and information integration services provided by one-stop logistic services providers (1SLP) for shortening the procurement and manufacturing lead time, and enhancing the information flow accuracy and transparency. The 1SLP is an integrator that assembles the resources, capabilities, and technologies of supply chain networks to design and implement comprehensive logistic solutions. The research develops the 1SLP process framework by dividing the service scope into four service models. We use a case example to demonstrate the improved process. The case company is a leading manufacturer in producing projectors for the global market. The current material procurement process causes long lead times, delays the manufacturing process, and does not integrate all information in the supply chain. In the to-be model, a 1SLP incorporated model 2 services and provides a VMI warehouse as a value-added service and integrated information platform to ensure the buyer's inventory level and implements appropriate logistics optimization for efficient delivery. The AnyLogic Simulation Software is used to model the current and the to-be business processes. The comparison between the as-is and the to-be models demonstrates that the improved material procurement process increases the current process's efficiency under the one-stop services without impeding product availability to the target market.
“Model-based Systems Engineering” is currently a hot topic at INCOSE (International Council on Systems Engineering). It involves multidisciplinary development based on the usage of models as main artifact. The frequent use of models during the development of the pico-satellite MOVE (Munich Orbital Verification Experiment) was attributed to the long history of the chair for astronautics at the TU München with Systems Engineering. The development of MOVE displayed many of the characteristics of a real-world multidisciplinary engineering project and resulted in a successful space flight of the engineered satellite. Within the satellite, communication was lead through a central bus between the different components and required expertise and coordination from all of the involved disciplines. An equivalent task of distributing information and energy can be found in automotive engineering: in the wire-harness. In contrast to the satellite bus, it does not distribute centrally created coordination commands, but supports the orchestration between distributed systems. Even though these two systems and their development processes are inherently different, they exhibit similar difficulties during their design phase (e.g. with compatibility) and can be modeled similarly. This paper uses the design of satellite bus systems and automotive wire-harnesses as examples, describes their common pitfalls, explains “Model-based Systems Engineering” and demonstrates how the development of communication systems in both satellite and automotive engineering can benefit from relying on it in early design and concept phases.
In an integrated aircraft design and analysis practice, Life Cycle Cost (LCC) is essential for decision making. The LCC of an aircraft is ordinarily partially estimated by emphasizing a specific cost type. However, an overview of the LCC including design and development cost, production cost, operating cost and disposal cost is not provided. This may produce biased cost estimates. Moreover, aircraft LCC estimation is largely dependent on the availability of input parameters. It is often a problem for the analyst to supply a limited group of data into a detailed cost estimation process. Therefore, it is necessary to provide flexibility in conducting both high level and detail level LCC assessments based on the data accessibility. An input-dependent bi-level LCC estimation method is proposed. It illustrates the comprehensive estimation of the cost elements in the LCC with clearly defined high level and detail level analyses to form the final cost. Knowledge of the product and the life cycle process are structured based on a pre-defined meta model and logic rules. Cost is then evaluated by traversing the meta model linked with computing capabilities. This method is applied on a case study concerning A330-200 aircraft. With the support of weight estimation and bottom-up process-based parametric cost estimation methods, it builds up a practical costing approach in quantifying the influence of LCC to the product life cycle.
The Integrated Product Development (IPDP) for Assistive Technology (AT) is a complex process that involves different areas of knowledge. This process normally uses methods, techniques and tools that help IPDP in a Concurrent Engineering environment, providing the integration of areas to meet the AT product requirements. In fact, it should be noted that the requirements of AT product user have different needs once the users have physical, sensory or cognitive limitations. This is the case of people with disabilities and physiological aging, whose population is globally increasing on a significant scale. Thus, there is a gap in the IPDP to comprehend and interpret data of the specific needs users to set the Product Design for Assistive Technology. This gap can be filled by a moderator that attributes an assisting function in the information mediation between multidisciplinary areas for the development of the product design oriented for AT. This paper presents a preliminary design model oriented for Assistive Technology and its structure performs a moderator role in IPDP in order to meet the users' expectations and allow reliable and easy information sharing between design participants. Data collection is a survey of existing IPDP models and configurations of “Design for” that support the stages of the development process. This approach make possible to detect and provide relevant data, which includes the most used and significant processes. As a result, we can highlight the key functions identified in the Design model for Assistive Technology.
This study aims to manage requirements from critical stakeholders for the development of a novel rehabilitation device for the elbow and forearm rehabilitation using Costumer Value Chain Analysis (CVCA) and Quality Function Deployment (QFD) tools. Results are described in accordance with the engineering requirement process adapted to this case: (i) elicitation: the requirements are from primary and secondary sources supported by CVCA application; (ii) analysis: requirements were identified and prioritized by means of QFD tool (quality, product and part characteristics matrices). The association of CVCA with QFD is an innovative and successful approach of mapping critical stakeholders to identify and prioritize requirements.
With coordination defined as the management of dependencies, complex engineering projects are well coordinated when teams are aware and able to respond to demands for interaction across product and organization systems. Classic representations of dependence in project management standards and practices emphasize sequence: a single dimensional consequence of dependence. However, underlying mechanisms of dependence which drive remain assumed or hidden, preventing analysis of systemic consequence on scope, quality, schedule, and cost. This paper begins with a review of dependence as viewed commonly in system engineering and project management. Building on our recent work to consider engineering projects as sociotechnical systems, we propose dependence characteristics which more meaningfully capture underlying project activity dynamics. Mechanisms are proposed for dependence which are satisfied by the interplay of demand for interaction and the supply of coordination. Attention allocation and exception handling behaviors in the project organization influence the extent of local satisfaction of dependence. Project architectural characteristics lead to emergent and systemic impacts on cost, schedule, and quality. Our next step in this research is introduced, the instrumentation of teamwork experiments to observe and validate the demand and satisfaction of dependencies by project team during complex project execution.
This study proposes a novel hybrid multiple attribute decision-making (HMADM) procedure to ensure that aspiration levels of the agile application outcomes are achieved. The agile is a concept widely applied by organizations worldwide to enhance their capabilities for better managing software development projects. The agile application requires a pragmatic procedure to handle decision making and continuous improvements over the application life cycle. The proposed procedure evaluates and systemizes inter-influence effects among agile application factors in a context of an influential network relation map (INRM). The INRM helps managers find routes in making application decisions, meanwhile, determining improvement strategies for implementing the selected decisions toward aspiration levels. A numerical example is used to illustrate applicability of the proposed procedure. The results showed that by applying HMADM model, this study can provide a significant foundation to ensure that the best agile application outcomes are reached.
Individualized products, resource-smart design and production, and a focus on customer value have been pointed out as three opportunities for Swedish industry to stay competitive on a globalized market. All these three opportunities can be gained by efficient design and manufacture of highly customized products. However, this requires the development and integration of the knowledge-based enabling technologies of the future as pointed out by The European Factories of the Future Research Association (EFFRA). Highly custom engineered products require an exercising of a very rich and diverse knowledge base about the products, their production and the required resources for design and manufacture. The development and implementation of systems for automated design and production preparation of customized products is a significant investment in time and money. However, our experience from industry indicates that significant efforts are required to introduce and align these kinds of systems with existing operations, legacy systems and overall state of practice. In this paper, support for system development in literature has been reviewed in combination with a survey on the state of practice in four companies regarding implementation and management of automated systems for custom engineered products. A gap has been identified and a set of areas for further research are outlined.
Today product manufacturers are concerned with an ever growing complexity of their respective products. The main complexity driver has been identified as the variability of products. It results from the constantly growing need to individualize products according to customer needs or market constraints. Car manufacturers are typical examples for such companies. Talking about ten to the power of 8 variants of one car, it seems nearly impossible to overlook the corresponding product line and the consequences of changes to the product line. In literature there are several approaches to visualize the variability of such product lines. But according to our review of the corresponding literature we made the experience that there is no one-fits-it-all visualization technique. The Glencoe project, hosted at the Trier University of Applied Sciences, aims at providing a rapid visualization prototyping framework giving the possibility to quickly implement the preferred visualization technique and test it during a proof of concept under industrial conditions. The chosen framework platform allows not only to run the programmed visualization on desktop machines, but also on tablets. In this paper we present a student project realizing different views of features trees as well as views for logical constraints based on the Glencoe platform.
Emotional product design is of great importance in new product development (NPD). Especially, Kansei engineering has been widely advocated because of its effectiveness and reliability in handling consumers' emotional requirements. However, the following key issues in Kansei engineering have not been well addressed: 1) how to capture human emotions, 2) how to identify the relationships between products and emotional needs, and 3) how a product can be improved to better fit consumers' emotional needs. This research aims at realizing a product design system for emotional effect (PDSEE) to facilitate emotional design processes. Generally, the proposed PDSEE comprises three modules, i.e. an emotional needs management module (ENMM) to capture and manipulate customer emotions, a product classification module (PCM) to examine the relationship between the product and emotions, and a product reconfiguration module (PRM) to manage and analyze product attributes so as to achieve product configurations with desired emotional impacts. To illustrate the capability of the prototype PDSEE, a case study of wedding ring design is presented. The results show that the prototype system is able to handle a large number of Kansei adjectives, address relationships between Kansei and products, and effectively identify key product parameters for designing new products with better emotional impacts.
Manufacturers of products that are instances of variants out of a complex product portfolio have learnt that a rigid process management is mandatory to meet today's standards of quality. An important part are processes that aim at mastering variant complexity. v.control supports these by providing for the first time both a complex product model able to represent detailed engineering, manufacturing, logistics, finance and marketing data in the very same model and a workbench of provably mathematically correct and rigid analysis tools.You want to know whether product changes performed by different engineers are compatible? Press a button and v.control guarantees consistency of all product variants. You want to know whether all your products suggested by marketing can actually be build? Press a button and v.control checks your portfolio and detects problematic variants. You are searching for a product meeting partial customer requirements and being optimal in profit? Press a button and v.control provides the optimal product cash cow. You want to make sure that your product portfolio meets future environmental regulations? Press a button and v.control identifies opportunities. You want to engineer shared parts of your product line to meet manufacturing inventory requirements? Press a button and v.control designs an optimal solution. This paper presents a detailed overview of the functionality of v.control as well as typical industrial applications successfully conducted with the help of v.control. It addresses current research in the field of complexity management, variability management and SAT-solving and their functional integration within v.control.
The importance of variant development structures has increased continuously over the past few years. Nowadays the keyword is mass customization. Manufacturers have to satisfy the personal needs of their clients to keep up with competitors. Individual wishes and increasing demands of customers require the possibility of flexible and nearly limitless adaptations of a product. The result is a diversity of variants in one product line. Issues occur during the development of the corresponding development structures that were related to the complexity of the arising product data. Not only the amount of functionality and therefore individual components is rising, but also the interrelationships among the single components are getting more complex. The number of new evolving variants once a feature is added increases in the worst case exponentially. The resulting complexity cannot be handled manually. Thus, a formal logic based approach has to be used to describe the underlying variability model of the product structure. These formal specifications provide a basis for algorithms, which analyse the structures in terms of finding all kinds of errors like inconsistencies or dead features. Such results include formal proofs, which reason about the derivation of the found errors. As the users who construct and manage the development structures typically have no expert knowledge about formal languages and proofs, the analysis output has to be represented in a role and user-specific way. The presented work concentrates on an approach to visualize the formal results in an understandable, adaptable and user-oriented fashion. Different concepts are elaborated, which cover the information needs of specific user groups to match their respective knowledge level. As feature models are used to represent variant development structures in a simple and compact manner, they are used as a basic visualization technique. Other views represent the proof, in fact a resolution graph, a proof tree and a proof step. One possibility to understand the proof is to simulate through the individual steps. Each of the features and relationships, which play a role in the current step, are highlighted in the feature model. The mapping between proof steps and features and their relationships simplifies the comprehension. Based on these concepts a prototype is implemented, whose functionality respects the common human computer interaction requirements. To conclude, the result is summarized and prospects on future increments, further concepts and possible improvements are given.