The development, quality assurance, and evolution of automation systems, like industrial automation plants, depend on the knowledge of experts from a wide range of domains, e.g., mechanical and electrical engineering, and application-specific process engineering. This knowledge is embodied in people, standards, terminologies, processes, methods, models, and software. The weak technical and semantic integration of software tools and expert knowledge across domain boundaries hinders flexible engineering process automation and quality management, leading to development delays and risks for system operation. Non-software engineering models represent requirements and design constraints for software engineers. Promising research results on better integrated software engineering for flexible systems have been reported in the area of business software engineering but need to be adapted to and empirically validated in automation systems engineering to become applied in industrial settings more quickly.

The mission of the Christian Doppler Laboratory for Software Engineering Integration for Flexible Automation Systems is the research and development of concepts, methods, and tools for the integration of engineering knowledge, models, systems and tools to enable applications for the system-wide improvement of engineering processes along the product life cycle of flexible industrial automation systems.

Short-term vision is the integration of selected engineering environments and knowledge representations at AS developers as research foundation for partial engineering process automation and quality management, in particular defect detection and data collection/analysis across engineering disciplines.

The novelty of our research lies in extending basic capabilities of service-oriented systems integration approaches for flexible ASE needs, in the identification and semantic mapping of common domain concepts across engineering disciplines for methods that enable access to design-time and run-time knowledge across tools, and in leveraging the novel technical and semantic integration as research platform for improving ASE software products and processes based on empirical evidence.

Partners. The industry partners in the CD laboratory are:

With customers of our industry partners, who develop power plants and steel mills, we work
on the following research scenarios:

  • Version management across engineering models from several engineering disciplines
  • Quality assurance across several engineering models
    • Example: Validation of the connection between a sensor and its software
      representation over multiple models (e.g., electrical plan, configuration,
      software design)
  • Efficient extensibility of the scope of engineering models and software tools
  • Foundation for the effective and efficient automation of project processes, e.g.,
    tasks across engineering disciplines like change management and test automation.