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Home > Posts > Systems Engineering and Simulation: Essential for Smart Products and Virtual Production
September 02

Systems Engineering and Simulation: Essential for Smart Products and Virtual Production

Executive Overview
Increasingly, today's consumers are being exposed to an environment of intelligent products — from toasters to automobiles. The level of intelligence embedded in everything from our cars, to our homes, communication devices, consumer electronics, and even mundane items as our toasters and toothbrushes, increases every day. In the very near future, not only will humans interact with a rapidly growing array of smart products, but many of these products will interact autonomously with each other and other systems to monitor and control power usage for smart grids; automatically make our dentist appointments; monitor, diagnose, and schedule service for our vehicles; and lots more.

While manufacturers across all industrial sectors are ramping up to meet demand for this growing "smart product" market, they face major challenges in developing and manufacturing new products that are significantly more complex. These mechatronic products require mechatronic design approaches in which mechanical, electrical, and software engineering disciplines are integrated. To meet the engineering challenge of developing the next generation of smart products, many consumer goods companies and other manufacturers are turning to highly sophisticated, multi-engineering development practices that have been proven in high-tech industry sectors like embedded systems, electronics, aerospace & avionics, and automotive.

In response, product lifecycle management (PLM) solution providers now offer systems engineering design platforms and solutions across multiple domains of the product lifecycle, including production systems. These allow engineers to apply a model-based, systems engineering approach to mechatronic product and process development. Manufacturers of smart products across all industries are adopting systems engineering design solutions to deal with the ever-increasing complexity of multi-discipline engineered products to meet cost, quality, and time-to-market demands. Systems engineering-based design platforms provide product developers and production system engineers with tools to integrate mechatronic systems using a functional design approach that allows for early stage validation. This helps reduce the time and cost of design recycles and late stage integration.

Principles of Systems Engineering and Model-Based Design
As we move to a world of more smart products and systems it will be rare to find mechatronic devices without some kind of embedded intelligence built into the design. Furthermore, the level of firmware intelligence provided by an embedded system will often be the key that differentiates the product from its competitors. However, the benefits of embedded intelligence come at a price. As mechatronic systems take advantage of more powerful microprocessors and the software that runs on them, the interaction between hardware and software becomes more complex. Managing this complexity can prove challenging to hardware and software engineering teams that develop requirements, describe functionality, and test and implement the concepts in a variety of ways. The fact that that most of these systems include closed-loop control methodologies that compensate for electromechanical interactions and other variables adds to the complexity.  

Table of Contents

  • Executive Overview
  • Principles of Systems Engineering and Model-Based Design
  • Single, Open Platform for All Design and Build Domains
  • Conclusions


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