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Model-based Product Line Engineering

OK –not the most attention grabbing headline, but it is what Atego are calling the total revamp of their modelling tools. System modelling is one of those techniques which have been around for a long time, but outside a group of high-end companies, mainly in aerospace and automotive, has never really taken off. Atego’ is hoping to change this. Atego was formed by the merger of Artisan and Aonix, both system development tools suppliers. Since the merger the company has made a number of acquisitions of specialist tools. Today they are launching Vantage, which is not just a relabeling of their tools, but a complete rework to provide a portfolio for the complete lifecycle of complex products, such as cars or trains.

There are three threads to the approach Model-based Systems and Software Engineering (MBSE), Asset-based Modular Design (SoS/CBD/SOA) and variable Product Line Engineering (PLE). Atego claims that the combination of these three proven approaches into Model–based Product Line Engineering (MB-PLE) can reduce development costs by 62% and bring 23% more projects in on time.

This is an implementation of ISO 26550-2013 ‘Software and systems engineering – Reference model for product line engineering and management’ and ISO 15288 ‘Systems and Software Engineering – System Lifecycle Processes’ standards.

The detail of each of these three threads is a bit of an alphabet soup. But simplifying to the point of caricature, what modelling now provides is better reuse, a system that provides for a range of modules within the model, each of which may be one of a number of variants. One set of variants might be a cars different engine options, another set  the gearbox options. The power train model is a combination of engine and gearbox, but certain combinations will be illegal. The modelling also provides a requirements capability and the ability to match the requirements of specific standards, in automotive again this is ISO 26262. 

This is not modelling for the masses, but for people working on complex systems, with variants, and with a long product life, should certainly look closely at this approach. Everyone should take time to look at the new video on the Atego web site http://www.atego.com/downloads/videos/introducing-ategos-mb-ple.mp4

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