Cutting-edge computing platforms and model-based design tools are transforming how engineers design complex systems.
Engineers are facing a range of new challenges from emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous algorithms, and intricate multidomain modelling that are increasing the complexity of most projects.
As engineering teams develop systems that integrate these cutting-edge technologies, they tend to use various tools to design these components, which can mask a clear picture of overall system performance.
Moreover, engineering teams use different tools for each part of the system development lifecycle, making it challenging to trace requirements through to design, implementation, testing, and operations. This is where a digital thread can help.
“Advances in digital engineering are changing nearly every industry, from automotive and manufacturing to mining,” said Ruth-Anne Marchant, Senior Team Lead at computing software developer MathWorks.
“A digital thread provides traceability throughout a product’s entire development lifecycle, allowing teams to respond much more quickly to new or changed requirements than they otherwise could.”
A collaborative development environment also enhances transparency and communication between teams, which in turn reduces errors and simplifies workflows.
MathWorks offers powerful mathematical computing software that helps solve such issues. MATLAB® is a programming environment for data analytics, algorithm development, visualisation and numeric computation.
It works with Simulink®, a block diagram environment for simulation and model-based design of multidomain and embedded engineering systems.
“Engineers using MATLAB and Simulink can quickly evaluate a range of design ideas in one simulation environment,” Marchant explained. “They can use them both through their development lifecycle to maintain continuity, from requirements and system architecture to detailed component design, implementation and testing.
“They enhance collaboration and innovation across any industry where engineers design systems that include advanced technologies.”
Helping multiple industries
MATLAB and Simulink are used across various sectors including mining, automotive, and aerospace. They’ve also helped many new enterprises through the MathWorks Startup Program, which offers early-stage companies ongoing training and technical support as they find market traction.
One such organisation is Adelaide-based Southern Launch, which provides a range of ground services for space missions. A crucial element of any rocket launch is calculating what areas might be impacted should something go wrong.
“Southern Launch used our tools to map potential debris fields, predicting where parts of the craft may land in several scenarios,” Marchant said.
Auckland-based manufacturing company Danone also successfully utilised MathWorks AI tools to improve its manufacturing plant. By implementing an automated system driven by an AI algorithm, it can now accurately identify bags based on their artwork and compare them to the applied labels. This ensures that only the correct ones are loaded and used in production.
It also plays an important role in quality control by verifying that incoming bags match the expected specifications. If a discrepancy is detected, the production line automatically halts, guaranteeing that the correct recipe is followed and wastage is minimised.
Over the next few weeks, MathWorks Australia engineers are embarking on a road trip to four Australian states and New Zealand.
The company will host half-day interactive events in Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and Brisbane that will focus on digital engineering workflows.
There will also be practical masterclasses in optimising collaborative workflows and creating low-code artificial intelligence algorithms that can be deployed in industry settings.
“We’ll be talking to people who already benefit from our products and discussing ways we can help them achieve greater efficiencies and productivity,” Marchant said.
“We can’t wait to get going, as it’s wonderful to see how we’re helping so many brilliant scientists and engineers.”