Model-based design of complex software systems.

Model-based design of complex software systems

Initial situation and project objective

Industry 4.0 and digitization have moved companies into an environment that is characterized by constant change and growing complexity. As a result, the demands placed on software and software development continue to grow. In its project with Böllhoff GmbH, Fraunhofer IEM cooperated on creating a software engineering process that enables the fast and simple design of even complex software architectures.

Böllhoff, a family-run company, is the world’s leading manufacturer of fastening, assembly and system technology. Software is a vital factor in the highly complex production systems, where it is no longer just needed for controllers but has instead become an essential component in the overall systems. It is therefore inevitable that the software needs to be of the highest quality, as the necessary development processes are becoming increasingly complex due to the growing demands placed on software functionality. Böllhoff GmbH was determined to face up to these challenges, but at the same time intent on achieving a considerable reduction in software development times. So the task at hand was to bring the software engineering process into the modern age.

Solution and customer benefits

Supported by Fraunhofer IEM, Böllhoff was able to use the project as a stepping stone to optimize its software engineering process through the introduction of model-based technologies. The engineering methodology was built around a special modeling tool that assists with the creation of functional requirements and the design of software structures. Changes remain permanently trackable, which means that the tool creates added transparency as well. The modernized development process can now be used flexibly on a variety of systems and in a broad array of projects. Böllhoff is now able to respond quickly and efficiently to individual customer requirements. Moreover, the considerably shorter time-to-market of Böllhoff products is yet another significant project accomplishment. Sustainable integration of the modernized development process within production routines was another crucial element in the project: Staff training guaranteed successful transfer of the results into product development.