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Systems Engineering (SE) is becoming increasingly relevant in industrial application since more stakeholders are involved in engineering activities. To implement SE, companies have to adapt existing engineering processes and methods. This adaption requires knowledge about new methods as well as their integration into the engineering activities. In order to ensure goal-oriented identification of methods for different SE activities in this contribution an action field profile and the Systems Engineering Method Matrix are proposed. The development of both tools is driven by the assumption that most SE activities and methods can be described based on the artefacts the deliver. In order to get feedback about the proposed tools, semi-structured interviews with two industry partners were conducted, focussing on the tool's usability. These interviews underline the basic usability of the tools and their support to identify SE activities to be supported by (new) methods. Moreover, requirements for further development and adaption are derived from the interviews.
Within product development, manufacturing cost estimation provides a sound basis for design and management decisions. This secures companies profitability, but the effort is high and deep knowledge at the interface of design, manufacturing and costs is needed. These issues can be eased with automation enabled by semantic technologies. Therefore, the authors developed a method for reference-based manufacturing cost estimation and created a prototype. This research evaluates the method and the prototype. Observation, interview and questionnaire were conducted with ten experienced cost engineers at a large German manufacturing company.
Based on its results, the study shows the methods contribution to lower estimation effort, while the impact on transparency and the knowledge base was only partly verified. The method steps show different automation potential, so an incremental automation should be considered. Even though semantic technologies show high potential for identifying reference system elements in this study, the limiting factor for automation in manufacturing cost estimation remains the low availability of product and manufacturing information and missing knowledge of its connection within product development.
In the development and production of new products, interdepartmental knowledge transfer is essential. Successful knowledge transfer faces several challenges, such as a lack of willingness to transfer knowledge or an inappropriate selection of tools. These can lead to the reduction of efficiency and effectiveness of knowledge transfers. Therefore, the InKTI – Interdepartmental Knowledge Transfer Improvement Method is developed to support the improvement (in terms of speed and quality) of knowledge transfers, particularly in product and production engineering.
This paper presents the first validation of the InKTI Method through a field study at the company Protektorwerk Florenz Maisch GmbH & Co. KG, which is a leading European company in the construction industry, to support the successful knowledge transfer into practice. Therefore, the research need is pointed out, and a concept for validation is developed and implemented. Afterward, the InKTI Method is evaluated based on its success, support as well as applicability.
Developing digital platform business models, especially in business-to-business (B2B) markets, has a high potential for companies who successfully develop their products in generations. The model of SGE - System Generation Engineering describes the development of mechatronic systems on subsystem level. The authors investigate to what extent a comprehensive and unified methodology can be identified, connecting the research areas of product development and digital B2B platform business models. Therefore, this study conducted a bibliometric analysis of scientific data to identify a research gap and a qualitative literature review to affirm the relevance of future research in this research area. The results show a gap between the research areas of digital B2B platform business models and product development. Essentially, several renowned platform researchers suggested performing future research with a methodology that fulfils the following purposes: (1) improve the general understanding of digital platforms, (2) understand their success factors and development, and (3) deal with challenges (e.g., monetization) and loss of valued personal relations in B2B markets through digitization.
The task of developing “concepts” is common in all fields of engineering, especially in the early phases of product development. However, an in-depth literature analysis showed that authors - often depending on different contexts in design research, education, and industry - define the term “concept” in differing ways. The aspect of reference-based development is rarely addressed in existing definitions. This indicates that there is a need for an updated and concise concept definition. In this paper, the authors propose a new definition of the term “system concept” within the context of SGE - System Generation Engineering that incorporates the findings from the literature analysis. The definition was reflected on in two case-studies. The first one contained the system concept for automotive display and operating systems, the second one the system concept for a kinesthetic-haptic VR interface. The proposed definition contains the relevant characteristics identified from the literature review and supports both current activity-based process models and reference-based development, as practical application has shown.
The product engineering process as part of the product life cycle includes product and production system development as well as production. In integrated product and production engineering (PPE), knowledge transfer is an important success factor. Optimizing the efficiency and effectiveness of knowledge transfers can, for example, support the avoidance of costly, production-related changes to the product design. The current state of research describes different models of knowledge transfer as well as factors that influence it. Some results show how the speed and quality of knowledge transfer can be improved by implementing so-called interventions. However, those models either represent abstract contexts of knowledge transfer or focus only on product engineering. Therefore, a literature analysis is conducted to identify the system of objectives for a method, that supports the improvement of knowledge transfer in PPE. Subsequently, the system of objectives is operationalized to provide the basis for the InKTI – Interdepartmental Knowledge Transfer Improvement Method, which is applicable, supports the user in improving knowledge transfers in PPE, and aims to increase the quality and speed of knowledge transfers.
Due to the increasing importance of advanced systems, whose development calls for interdisciplinary and integrative approaches, and fundamental changes in the work environment, leaders are required to have a wide range of competences. Therefore, the aim of this work is to identify competences of future leaders, that are specifically relevant in Advanced Systems Engineering (ASE). Thus, professional, social, methodological, and self competences developed by a literature review are validated through expert interviews and prioritized by a survey. The insights are then presented in a competence portfolio including 30 areas of competences. The portfolio consists of areas of competence that are either relevant in the context of ASE (e.g. intercultural and interdisciplinary competence), New Work (e.g. competence to empower employees) or are relevant to leaders in general. It was possible to add further aspects that are necessary in ASE to the aspects from the literature review. The experts interviewed emphasized various aspects of interdisciplinary work and made clear that in future, leaders should place their employees at the heart of their activities and empower them according to their strengths and weaknesses.
In today's VUCA-World it is necessary to consider future requirements to develop change- and future-robust future products, especially regarding the increasing demand for sustainable solutions. In order to address this situation, upgradeability of modular products can be a solution. Considering that elements of modular products are used in several different products and over a long period of time, there is a need to act on this challenge. To uncover areas with a need for action, a systematic literature review on upgradeable and modular products was conducted. After resolving four fields of action and under consideration of the need for sustainable products, another systematic literature review examined the solution space of upgradable modular product architecture. In conclusion, several influencing factors on the upgradeable design of modular products could be identified, which are presented in this work.
Usage data of reference systems can be analyzed in the development process for the validation of system elements. The process model for data-driven validation of elements in the system of objectives aids developers in performing such data analyses. The conducted studies show that the basis for an efficient analysis process is a common understanding of the system and the goal of the analysis. Therefore, a template was derived over the course of case studies describing the elements in the system of objectives. The template covers the three descriptive dimensions general information, technical system and data. It allows a comprehensive description of analysis use cases. On average it takes 11 minutes for developers to aggregate all necessary information and consequently fill out the template. An A/B-Test confirmed the comprehensibility and applicability of the template even for developers of different domain knowledge. Through its contribution to a sustainable knowledge management the template provides an added value for the developers for conducting analysis.
Industrial practice shows that products are developed in generations. Innovation success with complex technical systems can only be achieved economically by using existing solutions as references. These references come from predecessors, competitors, and even industry-external sources. The model of SGE – System Generation Engineering describes these relationships. The iPhone is often used as an example of an innovative product developed in generations. Multiple studies have examined the iPhone. However, none of these studies systematically considers the influence of the product context on references and variations. In this contribution, an evolutionary descriptive model based on the model of SGE is applied to 15 iPhone product generations. The central result is an overview of the variation shares over the generations and the relationships between context factors, reference-based variation activities, and innovation success and hypotheses for causalities. This is one of a series of case studies to investigate these causalities. The study showed how the iPhone remained successful in its context: not through a high new development share, but through strategically placed variations and the use of references from various sources.
This paper considers the orientation of product development structures towards interdisciplinary system architectures using the example of a tool machine manufacturer. Due to the change from simple mechanical products to extensively designed systems, whose successful development requires the integration of all disciplines involved, it is analyzed which requirements there are for these interdisciplinary system architectures in today's development environment. In addition, it is validated on the basis of the investigation environment that interdisciplinary system structures are necessary for the development on the different levels of the system view. In doing so, the investigation environment addresses the concept of extracting customer-relevant features (systems) from a physical-tailored modular system (supersystem) in order to develop and test them autonomously, as well as to transfer them to the entire product range in a standardized manner. The elaboration identifies basic requirements for the development of a knowledge base in interdisciplinary system structures and places them into the context of an agile modular kit development.
Due to the falling costs of computational resources and the increasing potential of data acquisition, interest in digital twins, a virtual copy of the physical original, and their industrial application is increasing. Nevertheless, there is limited published work on how to support the process of physical to virtual twinning and what its key aspects are. The aim of this study is to present insights with regards to physical to virtual twinning gained from modelling projects in mechatronic product development. We conducted a survey and in-depth interviews with members of modelling projects. In the surveys and interviews we identified how physical products and virtual models were linked, which virtual models were used and which general challenges and key aspects are considered important by the project members. Our findings show that the key characteristics that pose challenges to modelling regarding physical to virtual twinning are model granularity, model validation, and model integration and interconnectivity.
In 2019, Dyson had to cancel its ambitious electric car project after having already 500 Million pounds spent. This example shows how difficult it is to assess the consequences of decisions on development targets as cost, risk, and innovation potential. Knowledge about references, variation types and their impact on development targets can help to increase the maturity of the decision basis. The model of PGE - product generation engineering describes these interrelations using the reference system. This contribution deals with the question of how knowledge about the impact of variation types and characteristics of reference system elements on new product generations can be made usable through modelling and visualization. Therefore, characteristics of reference system elements and their impacts on common development targets are collected through literature research. To process this knowledge base in technical information systems, an Entity-Relationship data model is developed. Through the implementation of a VR visualization, the data model is validated and a first visualisation approach is shown. The findings of this work can be used to systematise research on impact factors in PGE and to develop further digital methods.
Lightweight design in interconnected systems becomes more and more complex as the interdependencies cannot be overseen by the product developer. Varying one component might not only influence the interfaces to other components but also the underlying production systems.
Therefore, this contribution focuses on the product/production interdependencies and how they can be supported within lightweight design. Based on a functional description of the product it is possible to derive new lightweight design solutions and also to evaluate the change propagation in the production system. For this, a method for the impact and risk analysis is integrated in the lightweight design method Extended Target Weighing Approach (ETWA). By doing so, a risk value for the adapted production system can be calculated and different design concepts can be compared.
The application of the developed method on a simplified use-case shows great potentials when evaluating the impact of a newly developed lightweight design solution on an already existing production system supporting the product development in decision making.
The implementation of agile frameworks, such as SAFe, in large companies causes conflicts between the overall product development process with a rigid linkage to the calendar cycles and the continuous agile project planning. To resolve these conflicts, adaptive processes can be used to support the creation of realistic target-processes, i.e. project plans, while stabilizing process quality and simplifying process management. This enables the usage of standardisation methods and module sets for design processes.
The objective of this contribution is to support project managers to create realistic target-processes through the usage of target-process module sets. These target-process module sets also aim to stabilize process quality and to simplify process management. This contribution provides an approach for the development and application of target-process module sets, in accordance to previously gathered requirements and evaluates the approach within a case study with project managers at AUDI AG (N=21) and an interview study with process authors (N=4) from three different companies.
To counteract competitive pressure, increasing customer requirements and growing product complexity successful distributed collaboration in product development is vital. Companies have to face new challenges, such as efficiency losses in communication. To overcome these challenges agile working practices, such as agile retrospectives, could be beneficial. The objective of this scientific work is to evaluate the benefit of agile working practices on the example of agile retrospectives, for the improvement of collaboration in distributed development teams. Based on literature analysis, qualitative and quantitative expert interviews following the DRM by Blessing and Chakrabarti, this scientific work shows that agile working practices have a high potential to improve distributed collaboration. To address this potential, several virtual agile retrospectives are developed and conducted within a distributed team at Bosch Engineering GmbH. The evaluation of this approach results in a high potential of agile retrospectives indicating an improvement tendency. Especially iteratively implemented virtual agile retrospectives have a positive impact on successful distributed collaboration.
In the development of mechatronic systems, it is important to differentiate the products to be developed from those of the competitors, but also from the own product generations already available on the market. However, there are uncertainties regarding the correct features to be differentiated from the customer and user perspective and how these features should be designed. Nevertheless, despite the high impact, decisions must be taken early in the development process. Within this publication, a method to support in this respect was derived based on the findings of the Model of PGE - Product Generation Engineering and the Kano-Model. Therefore, experienceable product features and reference system elements as characteristics of these are evaluated according to the Kano-Model and thus made comparable with regard to the customers and user satisfaction. The objective is to select the product features to be differentiated and the corresponding reference system elements in such a way that a desired level of customer and user satisfaction is achieved. In order to evaluate the method, it was applied in a real development project. It was found that the application of the method led to a reduction of the existing uncertainty.
Visual representations are essential to design. Data-rich representations such as systems visualisations are gaining prominence in engineering practice. However, as such visualisations are often developed ad-hoc, we propose more systematically to link visual tasks with design-specific tasks for which the visualisations are used. Whereas research on such linking focuses mostly on CAD models and sketches, no such studies are yet available for systems visualisations. Thus, this paper introduces a typology of visual tasks from the Information Visualisation field to aid the development of systems visualisations in design. To build a visualisation using the typology, a case study with engineering students developing an autonomous robot was conducted. Through interviews and analysis of product representations used, design-specific tasks were identified and decomposed into visual tasks. Then, a visualisation that assisted the team in performing their design activities was created. Results illustrate the benefits of using such a typology to describe visual tasks and generate systems visualisations. The study suggests implications for researchers studying visual representations in design as well as for developers of systems visualisations.
Already successfully used products or designs, past projects or our own experiences can be the basis for the development of new products. As reference products or existing knowledge, it is reused in the development process and across generations of products. Since further, products are developed in cooperation, the development of new product generations is characterized by knowledge-intensive processes in which information and knowledge are exchanged between different kinds of knowledge carriers. The particular knowledge transfer here describes the identification of knowledge, its transmission from the knowledge carrier to the knowledge receiver, and its application by the knowledge receiver, which includes embodied knowledge of physical products. Initial empirical findings of the quantitative effects regarding the speed of knowledge transfers already have been examined. However, the factors influencing the quality of knowledge transfer to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of knowledge transfer in product development have not yet been examined empirically. Therefore, this paper prepares an experimental setting for the empirical investigation of the quality of knowledge transfers.
This research work presents a methodological support for the specification of complex products. This is achieved by developing a specification structure in a MBSE environment. The new method draws on success factors of complex product specification, principles of MBSE and the explanatory model of PGE – Product Generation Engineering. For evaluation, the method is applied within a student development project. A high applicability and the realization of novel synergies for coping with continuously increasing product complexity is demonstrated.