Integrating information with a model based approach allows for interoperability of systems during collaboration

07/07/2021
System integration

More than 15 years ago, ISO 10303 AP239 (PLCS) was approved as a means to specify the information required to support a product and its support system throughout the life of a product. Digital Thread and Twin as terms hardly existed then.

PLCS did not start with the issue of integrating different software applications, it was about users defining an information model for through life product/system management. The team, with Eurostep leading, did this based on experience and looking at future needs without being constrained that the world (by some) has been divided into ERP, PLM, MRO, etc. Even though PLCS was driven by needs in aerospace and defence it has turned out to be highly relevant also to automotive, machinery, AEC, and plants and to support the Circular Economy and products-as-a-service business models.

Engineering is transforming and moving from paper-based workflows to data and model-based definitions. As such engineering activities in companies involve an ever-growing variety of systems, which makes the exchange of information between departments, suppliers, and customers more complex, but at the same time more rewarding when successful.

A few years after PLCS was developed, the work on ISO 10303 AP242 started. AP 242 provide a complete and unambiguous product data representation to support CAD/CAE and PDM data exchange. It also includes product manufacturing information such as BOMs, metadata, material specifications and history of engineering change orders.

Using standards like AP 242 and PLCS opens up system silos and facilitates knowledge sharing across value chains. Have a look at the picture below to see a simplified view of where each standard is used throughout a lifecycle. You will also find the standard AP 233 used for the exchange of systems engineering data.  

Source: STEP AP242 Project organization, http://www.ap242.org/other-related-standards

A key factor in interoperability and effective collaboration is the context of data. The collaboration process of complex engineering projects involves teams across different domains and organisations. Decisions and changes made in one domain of a project will have effects on the processes of other domains. Often the context of those decisions or changes does not get passed on and leads to confusion such as;

  • what requirement version should be used for a given simulation?
  • what analysis result should be used for this component?

Recently, following PLCS and AP 242, the new MoSSEC standard has been developed. It aims to meet the needs of the rapidly growing user community of engineers involved with Modelling and Simulation. MoSSEC has been published as ISO10303 AP 243.

MoSSEC is used to capture the model context across domains and break the traceability constraints when moving information from one domain to another in MBE, Model-Based Engineering. MoSSEC stands for Modelling and Simulation in a Collaborative System Engineering Context and enables a collaboration framework across distributed datasets. Its main objective is to capture and transfer the who, what, when, where, and why, whenever modelling and simulation data is shared.

ShareAspace has been configured to support MoSSEC. By designing an application such as ShareAspace on the PLCS and related standards, the Digital Thread’s integrated information model, Multiview Digital Twin capabilities exist by default in the core of ShareAspace.

If you would like to read about how well PLCS supports the Digital Thread and Twin, please check out A Digital Thread is for Life – Not Just Manufacturing. ShareAspace support for standards provides powerful data sharing and exchange capabilities that enables interoperability, making collaboration easy and seamless. It is future-proof, cost smart and might just be what you need to take the next step towards leadership in engineering collaboration.

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