Press release - March 9, 2021

Model-based impact analysis of product changes


Today, manufacturers can often only evaluate the functional and financial consequences of product changes with enormous effort. Making design decisions easier in the future is the goal of a new research project. To this end, the consortium will implement an end-to-end system architecture for impact analyses in product development based on the CONTACT Elements platform.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and new methods such as model-based systems engineering (MBSE) offer great potential for optimizing the development process in companies. A consortium led by the Heinz Nixdorf Institute (HNI) at the University of Paderborn wants to take advantage of this. In the project ImPaKT, the research partners are developing an integrated IT solution that will deliver reliable key figures for a more efficient engineering change management via a model-based impact analysis.

One of the initiators of the project is Claas Industrietechnik. Together with its suppliers, the company manufactures products with many variants, such as crawler tracks for agricultural machinery. During development, the various IT systems used internally and by external partners lead to media disruptions and incomplete data. This makes reconciling product changes a time-consuming and error-prone process.

"With ImPaKT, we want to enable companies to evaluate technical changes and their costs more quickly and reliably," says MBSE expert Christian Muggeo, who heads the Engineering Transformation Team at CONTACT Software. "To do this, we look at the entire value chain, including customers and suppliers."

The goal is to build an IT architecture for model-based system development that enables well-founded impact analyses through a shared knowledge base. The consortium also wants to use AI algorithms and introduce standards for integrating the new methods into process management and cross-company collaboration. The primary task of the industry partners will be to validate the project results using three real-world case studies.

ImPaKT was officially launched with a kick-off in January and will run for three years. In addition to Claas Industrietechnik and CONTACT Software, other partners are the Institute for Machine Elements and System Development at RWTH Aachen, Itemis and Prostep, Eisengiesserei Baumgarte, Hadi-Plast Kunststoff-Verarbeitung, Hofmann Mess- und Auswuchttechnik, Knapheide Hydraulik-Systeme and Schaeffler. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Iris Gräßler, holder of the Chair of Product Development at HNI, is heading the project.

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding ImPaKT with 4.2 million euros. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is the project sponsor.  The results will be presented to a broad public in professional organizations such as prostep ivip, International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), Object Management Group (OMG), the associations of German Engineers (VDI) and mechanical engineering industry (VDMA).


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Barbara Scholvin
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