Strategic Variation Management
The Knorr-Bremse corporation is the leading manufacturer worldwide of braking systems for rail and commercial vehicles. As a technological pacesetter, the company has been a key agent in driving the development, production, sales, and service of modern braking systems for over a hundred years. Knorr-Bremse Systeme für Schienenfahrzeuge GmbH produces innovative pneumatic braking systems for rail vehicles in its business area, and is very successful in this area on the market. Due to different usage scenarios, customer wishes, and regulatory requirements, the braking systems are customized individually to each rail vehicle.
Knorr-Bremse recognized the impending challenges posed by rising complexity and increasing certification requirements early on and collaborated with Fraunhofer IESE in developing a more sustainable reuse approach. In terms of content, the approach offers reusable function components that can be selected according to a specific project and can be efficiently integrated into coherent overall solutions in accordance with predefined instructions for composition.
In the first step, characteristic features were identified in the existing system landscape. They were structured and evaluated and assigned to current as well as future products in a productfeature matrix. This enabled rapid identification of commonalities and differences and thus allowed determining the reuse potential for individual domains and components.
The functions of a braking system are strongly interconnected and at the same time realized in various disciplines. A generic system model was therefore developed in SysML/UML, which describes the functions down to the level of the technical realizations. The system model helps the project members use the available function components efficiently and effectively. A feature model is used to accurately describe adaptation possibilities in the system model. It allows automatic adaptation of requirements, design, implementation, and quality assurance artifacts throughout the model. Once the sustainability of the approach has been demonstrated based on the first function components, the approach will be rolled out broadly to further functions in the next step.