Niels van Stijn
The development of technical systems, such as cars, airplanes, and bridges, is becoming increasingly complex. Modern systems consist of a large number of components that have to fulfill many functions and meet stringent requirements. All those components need to function and fit together. Therefore, engineers need to coordinate the design of each component. This task usually requires knowledge of multiple engineering disciplines, for example mechanical, electrical, and software engineering. As a consequence, it is very difficult, if not impossible, for a single person to oversee and understand the design of a whole system. To over come this problem, engineers from different disciplinary backgrounds write extensive design specifications. However, design specifications are often ambiguous, out-dated, and inconsistent. Incorrect and misinterpreted design specifications often result in costly and lengthy design iterations.
Ratio technology enables engineering companies to develop better products in less time and at fewer costs by structuring design specifications, automatically checking its consistency and deriving, visualizing and optimizing the architecture of the (to be developed) system. The software provides a unique and new-to-the-world integrated environment for the structured creation of system specifications using a specifically designed computer readable language, sub- sequent quality checks, visualization, and analysis. Student internship and graduation projects at Rijskwaterstaat, VDL ETG, Phillips Lighting, and Preceyes showed that our technology creates value for engineering companies. Our technology enables engineers to reduce ambiguity in specifications and to automatically obtain compact graphical models. The models provide detailed insight into system architecture. Our technology is particularly useful for ‘Engineer-to-Order’ (EtO) and ‘Adapt-to- Order’ (AtO) industries. These industries are characterized by high development costs and relatively low sales volumes. As a consequence, companies operating within these types of industry are under constant pressure to decrease the development cost and increase the quality of the product to remain competitive.
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