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process design

Simon Allsop, director, sales Delmia, Dassault Systèmes


Concept simulation of a hybrid electric vehicle showing the power distribution and motor, generator and engine speeds and torques

Philippe Desfray, VP of R&D at Modeliosoft P

ut simply, industrial process

design is the use of process definition techniques to improve

the production of products. Process improvements are measured in terms of speed, efficiency, cost or the quality of the end product. Te challenge is found in the need to produce a model of the production that fits the reality, that is optimised and that covers all exceptions and issues that may arise. Te process also needs to be measurable: it needs to have indicators that can be followed by the people responsible for maintaining the process. A process definition has to capture each aspect related to automation, such as soſtware and mechanics, human interactions, resource consumption and relationships to the unpredictable external world. Soſtware process modelling offers well-

established techniques that can help formalise industrial process design. By abstracting processes within a soſtware model, users gain a more thorough understanding. In addition, it then becomes possible to reason around the process and test different hypotheses through the model. Users can simulate different scenarios and check expected properties related to key target indicators. Models then provide companies

with a valuable store of knowledge and understanding of core processes. Models can also be implemented on soſtware process

engines that coordinate the processes. Many modelling languages exist, such as IDEF0, and more recently the UML (universal modelling language) activity diagrams, or the BPMN (business process notation language). SysML is a standard for (technical) system modelling that encompasses UML. Tey all give a fine level of precision for

process modelling, allowing for simulation and automation. As they are standards, they are very well known and widely used, so a process described with these standards can be read and understood by a large number of people and soſtware solutions. UML activity diagrams are very accurate with regard to information handling. Tey are well integrated within UML and appreciated by UML practitioners. BPMN diagrams are easy to understand by business people and have a useful set of shorthand for typical business process situations. IDEF0 is a standard used since the 1980s. In the industrial and technical fields, there are still many practitioners using it. However, that standard is not at all integrated with UML or BPMN and is not covered by the SysML standard. BPMN is a more recent standard that

has gained a strong level of acceptance. Increasingly, end users are requesting tools that can integrate multiple languages such as UML and BPMN to provide a broad modelling capability. Tere is a demand to consolidate and integrate UML, BPMN within unified modelling tools, simulation tools and execution engines. For complex systems, SysML is becoming a more popular language that also needs to support simulation.

ne of the big issues for manufacturers is process modelling. A car company will already have a process to design

its vehicles, for example, and once designed, that information will be passed into the manufacturing arena via a bill of material which will specify the parts. Tis seems pretty clear, but oſten the process of setting out resources, from the factory and tools to the people, and turning those inputs into outputs needs improvement. Modelling soſtware can encompass the materials, product and processes within a single 3D model that provides an overview and enables engineers to view things from a different perspective. For companies making complex, one-off products such as an aeroplane or building, the ability to see where they are at any stage of the process – in 3D – is very powerful. Our 3D models are rich and can be viewed

as a diagram so that companies can evaluate elements such as what space is needed in a

factory. A more detailed view of machines can also be generated, as well as further models that show what the individual operating the machine would see and do. We have different levels of 3D models

that aim to deliver as close to the real-life experiences people can have when using and designing these systems as possible. In the past, this has been quite a written-down process, but soſtware such as our V6 solution allows innovations to be made up front. Companies prefer to have this visualisation,

and as accurately as possible, so all the parts are contained and the engineers can see how it all fits together. Some of our customers, such as Bentley Motors, have built virtual environments so that the new cars they are designing can be shown to the people on the shop floor, providing them with the opportunity to comment on whether it is achievable or not. One final point that needs to be emphasised

is that manufacturing processes should be validated even before construction work

JUNE/JULY 2012 43

Integrated Engineering Software

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