By Anthony J. Lockwood
Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
So back in the early ’80s, I had a broken leg and a broken arm. I decide to wire the TV, VCR, and some spare speakers into my stereo, thus creating a media mecca. It was awesome for two minutes. See, my plastered limbs precluded stringing wires properly, so I crisscrossed them across the floor where they snagged my crutches. Despite my exertions, I muffed the complexity of wires interacting with my mobility and built an inherently fragile system. In today’s world of massively complex systems and processes, companies often lament that their hard work produced a design wrought with expensive, difficult to find fragilities. This conundrum is why I believe that today’s Pick of the Week write-up is important.
Ontonix — the outfit out of Italy that develops the OntoSpace system for measuring and managing complexity — has launched the Design for Resilience (D4R) engineering portal. It seems inexpensive. It looks and sounds impressive. It could even open up new avenues of design philosophy.
Now, the basic idea with D4R is simple: Make complexity a design attribute similar to things like stress or frequency. Two, make complexity analysis and mitigation an early and often tool in your design cycle. It seems like what Ontonix is talking about here is complexity-based CAD extending simulation-based design to make products, processes, and systems more robust. That’s exciting.
D4R operates on the premise that the more complex your design, the more variables it has. And the more design variables you have, the more their interactions impact your design’s functionality and resilience. Robustness is your design goal, so what do you today? You run Monte Carlos, DOEs, parametric/sensitivity studies, time-domain simulations. But those add another batch of complexity with their own hassle sets to your job. So what do you do? You start mining your data and hope you find the trouble areas.
D4R uses a “complexity computation engine” to help you explore that study data, making the discovery of excessive complexity or, worse, hidden trouble areas in your systems, processes, and designs feasible. And discovery leads to better control, management, and mitigation of vulnerabilities in your products, leading to more robust products.
How D4R works floors me. You feed it a spreadsheet of arrayed numerical data from your design studies. D4R analyses your raw data and produces a PDF report breaking down your system’s total complexity. It shows graphically how variables such as tolerances affect complexity, and scaled rankings help you understand what should be addressed to increase system robustness. Ontonix says the report takes about a minute to generate and costs a single Euro for a small data set.
A link at the end of today’s Pick of the Week write-up takes you to a complimentary trial of D4R. Give it a whirl. Download the white paper too. Since it won’t cost you an arm and a leg, you have nothing to lose and potentially a lot to gain. It’s that simple.
Thanks, pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering
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