Managing Integrated Engineering
An Example in Modern Aircraft Manufacturer
This use case shows how BOXARR users are able to address the issues of engineering change for software systems in the latest generation of Integrated Aircraft.
The increasing use of Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) software modules has led to an increase in complexity, making it much more difficult to understand the implications of a change in one software module and the interdependencies of that change on other modules within an integrated design.
While focused on this particular application, the BOXARR advantages illustrated can be transferred to many manufacturing domains where products involve complex integrations of structure, energy, information, and material flow systems.
With previous generations of aircraft, the engineering change process was well understood and relatively straightforward.
The challenge with the new generation of integrated aircraft is that virtually all the systems are now controlled by software.
So when a change is necessary a significant problem of change cascade emerges.
Today’s IMA systems comprise a distributed architecture where avionics functions are divided into a large number of centrally computed software applications and the remotely located end systems, which are connected by a high-bandwidth network backbone.
While there are many advantages to this design approach, it does add complexity.
It allows avionics/aircraft systems engineering tasks to be more easily distributed among several different departments, design groups or subcontractors each developing software modules for a shared, third-party airborne computer system.
It is this increasing separation of functions that makes it more difficult to understand how it all works together, and precisely what the impact of any change might be.
Of course, within each design group, whether internal or external, the engineers and managers know the dependencies of their particular part of the software and will have a spreadsheet or database containing this data.
The big challenge is to get a complete and clear picture quickly and efficiently of the full impact of any software or other engineering change.
By using this data BOXARR enables people to see a complete and crystal-clear overall picture building DigitalTwins of systems and organisations.