Highly engineered products are composed of hundreds and sometimes thousands of components that need to work together to satisfy system level objectives. In order to achieve this, engineering product teams decompose subsystem level requirements from system level objectives, and then further decompose component level requirements from those subsystem derivations. This process is commonly called requirements flow-down. These requirements lead to assembly and component designs that are validated through the use of engineering analysis and/or tests.
Tracking which engineering analysis validates a given requirement is a complex systems engineering problem. Companies employ armies of system engineers, program managers, and project engineers using disparate tools to solve this problem. Even when companies do standardize on a given requirements management tool, the association between requirement and engineering analysis is often manually traced and static (i.e. if a requirement changes the downstream effect on other requirements is not evident).
The result is a system that is heavily people dependent, overly structured, and requiring constant communication between systems engineers and engineering analysts. This framework is not only costly, but also ineffective leading to human error, miscommunication that results in late stage redesigns, product release delays, and costly product recalls.
One of proposed novel solutions by PTC to this problem is integrating its requirement management solution (Integrity) with its engineering analysis solution (Mathcad). This integration, which is envisioned in a future release will allow users to:
1. Link a requirement from Integrity to a Mathcad worksheet that validates it
2. Pass the key parameter from that requirement to the Mathcad worksheet
3. Perform the analysis in Mathcad, which not only validates the requirement but also document the assumptions and constraints for which the analysis is valid
4. Link analysis constraints in Mathcad to newly created derived requirements in Integrity
5. Pass the value of analysis results from Mathcad into an Integrity derived requirement.
6. Navigate back and forth between an Integrity requirement and its corresponding Mathcad worksheet(s).
The figure below shows a framework of how this integration would work. The Integrity user would select a requirement parameter needed in an analysis. This parameter would then be linked as “input” into a Mathcad worksheet. Mathcad would then check if the parameter value against the worksheet value and flag the user if the values differ. The user would then have the option of passing this parameter to the worksheet and re-calculate the engineering analysis in the worksheet.
Once the engineering analysis is recalculated, the constraints and results could be labeled as “outputs” and linked to a derived requirement in Integrity. The user would then pass these “output” parameter values to Integrity. This process could be repeated with as many requirements and validation analysis as needed.
Finally, the engineers would be able to navigate between associated Integrity requirement and Mathcad worksheet and be able not only to see the association between engineering analysis and requirements, but also the interdependence between requirements.
In summary the Mathcad-Integrity integration capability will allow product development teams:
1. Bi-directional navigation and traceability between requirements in Integrity and the Mathcad worksheets that either use them or source them
2. Requirements flow-down and verification support for exercises often performed in Mathcad, ensuring current and accurate information
3. Out of sync indication, to be shown clearly in either environment, allowing updates to be “pulled” into the focused context