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Interdisciplinary, model-based system development with SysML4Mechatronics

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Idea and purpose

The goal is to enhance the management of PSS innovation processes by using the knowledge of (IT-)change cycles during the use phase to improve the models and documents which were created in the development phase. Thus, optimized module-models are available to the engineers which are adapted to the PSS life cycle and enable a faster development and less necessary changes to the design. The development of appropriate interdisciplinary modelling languages for mechatronic systems is therefore indispensable.

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Requirements

In order to model mechatronic systems, the implicit dependencies of the discipline-specific components (mechanical design, electrical engineering, and software development) must be identified. Subsequently, it has to be decided which cross-disciplinary dependencies have significant effects on the development cycle, especially in case of changes. Once potential change decisions have been identified, compatibility must be checked and an impact analysis has to be carried out.

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Participants

The development of mechatronic systems essentially comprises the three following engineering disciplines: mechanics, electrical engineering / electronics, and software. In times of increasing globalization with accompanying competition, processes, products, and production must be better coordinated. This is the reason why other disciplines are also increasingly involved.

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Temporal and spatial structure

Interdisciplinary modelling can take place over the entire life cycle of a mechatronic system. In early life phases, decisions can be made proactively and undesirable developments can be avoided to save time and costs. In late phases, models can be used primarily for inconsistency management.

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Procedure

The modeling language SysML4Mechatronics makes it possible to model components (classes) and interfaces (ports) of the respective disciplines mechanics, electrical engineering / electronics, and software. In addition, structural system hierarchies can be created by interdisciplinary, so-called mechatronic modules. The procedure with SysML4Mechatronics can be summarized as follows:

  • Modelling of discipline-specific classes and their properties
  • Aggregating these classes into interdisciplinary modules
  • Definition of interfaces between disciplines
  • Analysis of change impacts through compatibility testing
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Use case

The following figure illustrates the adjustment requirements of an e-bike battery to achieve higher riding ranges. The left part of the figure shows the original battery, while the right part shows a possible variant. Some interfaces are compatible, some are not. So the new battery is not suitable for this e-bike or further changes to the e-bike must be conducted.