Seminar on model based systems engineering at Royal institute of technology

Published: 12 November 2008

2008-11: Marcus Sandberg from the division of Functional Product Development participated at the annual seminar of INCOSE (International Council on Systems Engineering) Sweden. The theme of the seminar was model based systems engineering with two keynote speakers from USA; Sanford Friedenthal (Lockheed Martin) and Russel Peak (Georgia Tech). The focus was on deploying SysML, a modeling language developed from UML.

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Russel Peak's research project.

Model based systems engineering focuses on using models to develop systems where a system can be e.g. products or products, users and surroundings together. SysML is a visual modeling language that describes systems though a number of diagrams e.g. requirement, activity, sequence, use case, parametric and block diagram.

Sanford Friedenthal, a co-author of the book A practical guide to SysML, described the current situation of systems engineering as a transition from document to model based.  One benefit with SysML is increased precision of the system description as the system parts need to be defined according to the language compared to when writing a text based description where precision can be avoided by sloppy text. Friedenthal gave the recommendation to initially not use all of SysML rather some of the most intuitive diagrams: e.g. use case, activity, requirements and blocks.

Russel Peak presented a research project where SysML was used together with CAD, FEA, spread sheets, factory simulation, among others to integrate several models describing an excavator. The goal was to enable reuse, traceability and automatization. Using SysML several system models (diagram) can be created but the challange is to integrate the diagrams and make it simpler to handle product configuration.

Three Swedish speakers: Martin Törngren from Royal Institute of technology, Tobias Amnell from Combitech and Tomas Huldt from Syntell presented there view of model based systems engineering and experience of SysML. The conclusion is that it is crucial to have the company managements belief and motivated team members to practically apply SysML. Then SysML can be very useful as a transperent description of the system is created. It is also important to focus on the main project goal, e.g. the customer value, and not the model it self. Undergraduate courses in systems engineering was notified as missing.

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