The new framework, Zielpuls Metamodel for Automotive (ZiMA), adresses complex product development through model-based best practices from more than 20.000 relevant project hours. Together with Elisabeth Eichstetter and the Munich University of Applied Sciences, Zielpuls has started to create an automotive-specific MBSE metamodel that brings together the experience from all related Zielpuls projects. Last year we already gave a small foretaste (sneak preview), now the time has come: ZiMA is ready for use.
To keep up with the pace of the automotive market, vehicle manufacturers must continuously respond to new mobility and technology trends. A resulting use case is the development of new cloud-based vehicle architectures. The challenge hereby is to provide new vehicle functionalitites into already existing architectures and not into a green field. This creates a tension between profiting from existing knowledge and the ambition to optimize the realization of new features. In this environment, development teams must work together efficiently and sustainably to create scalable solutions.
The use case illustrates the technical challenges of developing complex automotive products in a highly volatile environment. Their mastering should always be preceded by an alignment of the engineering methodology to the automotive context and the resulting requirements. Automotive development must be performed in a “system of systems” environment. There are several product domains (powertrain, chassis, infotainment, etc.) containing overall approximately 500 mechatronical components. Their interaction and individual design result in complex multi-layered integration processes. Furthermore, car manufacturers face an enormous variant complexity due to functional and technical architectures. Their portfolios are growing and new services as well as product types need to be implemented. On the opposite side of this are huge investment costs for new technologies, long live cycles and product warranties. ZiMA adresses these methodological challenges as it provides a structure to shape heterogenous development environments.
The metamodel offers a straightforward, user-friendly framework that systematically reduces product complexity through Systems Engineering principles.
How ZiMA works
The graphic shows the structure and applied aspects of the systems modeling language (SysML). The framework of ZiMA is a matrix consisting of architecture layers as rows and viewpoints as columns. It can be adjusted to the product complexity by the number of architectural layers and ensures a holistic system assessment through the division into viewpoints. The framework is aligned to SysML and therefore offers a profile for the creation of a lean model repository containing domain-specific model elements and their dependencies. Furthermore, it is supplemented by a SysML compliant concept for interface modelling for logical and physical elements.
Where is ZiMA used and what is the added value?
The framework was constantly validated by relevant project insights at Audi, BMW, Mercedes and VW as well as several Tier-1s. The validation showed that ZiMA can serve as a holistic metamodel in the background of existing individual Systems Engineering solutions of development departments. In this context, ZiMA increases the efficiency of development processes and at the same time facilitates the integration of innovations. Mapping the already existing artifacts to the ZiMA meta elements is one of the quick wins for large organizations by providing them a harmonized backbone for their domain-specific work. During this process, a common language and understanding within the organization is developed and paves the way to harmonized Systems Engineering – or as Zielpuls calls it: “Systems Thinking”.
Application of ZiMA in different industries
The ZiMA, based on general systems engineering principles, supports not only automotive engineering but is a sound basis for product development in other industries. For example, it can be applied to consumer goods, which are facing an increased product complexity including connected services. In this case, the structure of the matrix is retained and only the cells are adapted to consumer goods-specific artifacts. Due to ZiMA’s SysML conformity a consistent system model of the consumer good is assured. This case outlines the capability of ZiMA to adapt to any industry due to its generic framework.
All questions about application possibilities and how ZiMA can help organizations in different industries to utilize Systems Engineering answered by:
Managing Partner and Head of Systems Thinking Competence Center at Zielpuls