Using an extended er-model based data dictionary to automatically generate product modeling systems
The complexity of industrial artifacts such as power plants, aircrafts etc., is continuously growing. Typically for such advanced products is that they are hybrids of various technologies and contain several types of engineering models that are related in a complex fashion. For power plant design, there are functional models, mechanical models, electrical models etc.
A product modeling system (PMS) is a computer integrated development environment for a specific class of advanced products. A well integrated PMS consists of a central product model database which is interfaced with CAD-applications that support graphical design of various engineering models.
This paper describes a successful approach to manage the development of a product modeling system for power plant design. The key idea is to store a high-level PMS design specification in the form of an extended entity relationship model in a data dictionary. Most of the source code for the PMS implementation is then generated automatically, using SQL-based code generators which are easy to develop. Our PMS-development system generates product model database schemas and user interfaces. It also generates high-level database schema related interface modules in the native application development language of a CAD-system. Through these, a CAD application developer has a high-level access to the object structures in the product model database.
Using the described approach, we have developed a power plant PMS which has been in production at the turbine manufacturer ABB STAL and the power plant engineering company ABB Carbon for more than half a year now. The PMS database is based on the Sybase SQL Server. AutoCAD is used for design of power plant schematics. Form based user interfaces and report generators are implemented in UNIFACE and Microsoft Access.
The data dictionary design and SQL-based code generation technique seems to be generally applicable and has been used for generating source code implementations in C++, LISP, SQL, and various textual form description languages.
The architecture of our PMS-development system is described together with the data dictionary schema and examples of generated source code.
We estimate that this software engineering approach reduces systems development costs about 5–10 times.
KeywordsSource Code Engineering Model Entity Department Object Identifier Data Dictionary
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