Advanced systems engineering

Value creation in transition with advanced systems engineering

Digitalization has been the driving force behind technological development in industrial value creation for years now. Increasingly intelligent and digitally networked products, services and production systems are emerging that can link their resources and capabilities in a higher-level system network known as a system of systems (SoS). This entails a high degree of complexity and networking for the technologies, systems and components used, and poses new challenges when it comes to engineering the “market services of tomorrow (advanced systems)” in particular.

The key challenge is undoubtedly the requisite collaboration between individual disciplines such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science. In this connection, systems engineering (SE) is a new way of thinking and acting that places interdisciplinary work on the system at the center of all engineering activities. Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE), which deals with the description, planning and analysis of systems using formal models, is growing in importance. Alongside systems engineering, novel approaches to advanced engineering are in continuous development, significantly influencing both working methods (e.g. agility) and IT tools (e.g. AI algorithms in 3D CAD).

The interaction and interdependencies between the fields of systems engineering and advanced engineering are making it necessary for companies to rethink the way they work. In addition to people-oriented aspects (e.g. co-design), the continuous willingness to change with respect to engineering processes, organization or even methods and IT tools is of particular importance. ASE has the objective of integrating the various aspects of systems engineering and advanced engineering. It is aimed at companies in all sectors that want to safeguard or increase their competitiveness through innovative technologies, systems and business models against the backdrop of changes in value creation.

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Graphic showing the Advanced Systems Engineering topic in three phases.
© Fraunhofer IEM
Fields of activity of Advanced Systems Engineering

What we are researching and working on

It is our job to think and act in an interdisciplinary manner. We contribute our expertise to various industrial and research projects conducted by nationwide initiatives. The central issue we cover in this regard is: How can we develop complex systems in an efficient manner and carry out the associated engineering work successfully? We research and test methods, aids and tools for the various phases of engineering. We concern ourselves with the work of developers in industrial practice and investigate, among other things, the use of model-based systems engineering (MBSE), the digital representation of products in the form of a “digital twin” and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms in engineering tools. We also develop sustainable and efficient approaches to solving problems, which we trial in our SE Live Lab and the AR/VR Lab and test for corporate use.

In addition, we support companies in introducing new ways of working or approaches to solutions. For example, we offer transformation strategies for establishing systems engineering with a view to achieving an interdisciplinary and digital development process. When working with new technologies, we provide the companies with the corresponding expertise, for example, the ability to conduct customer reviews as early as the development stage using augmented reality (AR). Employee training is a central concern in all the change activities we carry out at companies. In this way, we create the necessary basis for understanding and applying novel approaches such as systems engineering, AI-supported engineering and AR design reviews, and successfully integrating them into engineering.