Success Story in collaboration with TRUMPF Laser, Schramberg
TRUMPF Laser, in Schramberg, guarantees the quality of its software by using Axivion Bauhaus Suite code and architecture verification
TRUMPF is a technology and market leader when it comes to machine tools for flexible sheet metal processing and industrial lasers. When developing the software for the laser systems at its Schramberg site, TRUMPF Laser uses Axivion Bauhaus Suite.
Download TRUMPF Laser Schramberg Success Story in PDF format
THE CHALLENGE ++
At TRUMPF’s Schramberg location, Axivion’s task is to protect the software developed both for embedded and PC software from software erosion. The code, on which the various systems are based, has been continuously refined over a period of years and in ever shorter innovation cycles – for greater functionality and a wider product range. During this process, the overall complexity of the software and its variants has also increased. Keeping all of this manageable represents a continuous challenge for developers.
This is coupled with increasing quality requirements in the industrial sector, which have to be met – right down to code level. Manual reviews cannot be used to guarantee compliance with self-imposed and industry-wide coding/quality standards in an economical and efficient way. Therefore, the aim is to automate the code and architecture verification process as far as possible.
Another reason why this is so important is that the software development teams at TRUMPF Laser in Schramberg are growing ever larger. Software plays a key role in the high level of innovation built into TRUMPF products. However, having a growing workforce does create additional challenges. With an ever-increasing number of programmers, including new colleagues, working together on a common code base and adding a steady stream of new program sections to the software, the challenge is to ensure that the joint coding standards are maintained at all times and, above all, the software architecture is understood and rigorously implemented.
THE SOLUTION ++
At Schramberg, TRUMPF Laser has relied on Axivion Bauhaus Suite for quite some time. TRUMPF’s developers use the tool suite and its automated analysis and reporting features in their regular reviews of both new software components and, via delta analysis, the existing software.
The Axivion Bauhaus Suite seeks out style violations and metric violations in the programming in a targeted way, while also localizing clones and dead code. The affected code locations are marked, and displayed for developers for further systematic processing, both directly in the IDE and through transparent reporting processes.
The Axivion Bauhaus Suite also offers active support with the ongoing creation of product-specific software architecture. Rigorous compliance with this architecture during all stages of software development is guaranteed by the tool suite’s automated architecture verification process. This immediately flags up any failure to meet specifications correctly. In this way, developers are not only able to correct possible violations immediately, but can also benefit from a personal learning effect in terms of correct implementation of the specified software architecture.
The technical integration of Axivion Bauhaus Suite at TRUMPF Laser in Schramberg is conducted by experts from Axivion’s professional services team. As part of this process, they not only install the tool suite and its plugins directly into the developer’s workstation, but also add such things as TRUMPF-specific metrics and coding guidelines to the code and architecture verification tools.
The development teams are provided with personal training, which enables them to incorporate the Axivion Bauhaus Suite into their daily working practices without any great delay.
THE SUCCESS ++
The success of Axivion Bauhaus Suite at TRUMPF Laser is reflected by its increased developer productivity. Automating the code and architecture verification process, which used to be a time-consuming manual task, has permanently reduced the employees’ work load. Another reason for using the tool suite is that it also displays potentially problematic coding, which could never be detected by manual means. For example, the “cycle detection” function homes in on cyclical dependencies across several components in a precisely targeted fashion.
Thanks to its direct analysis, the Axivion Bauhaus Suite also improves developers’ understanding of the architecture models. Swift feedback means that the architecture is clear and easy for individual users to understand, and can be implemented correctly and immediately, with increasing frequency, thanks to the automatic learning process. Moreover, the architecture documentation can be much more precisely formulated and kept up to date without any great effort.
All this greatly benefits new members of the development team: the Axivion Bauhaus Suite’s clear, easy to understand rules and transparent documentation ensure that software developers quickly become familiar with the system. Thanks to the regular automated feedback from the tools, they pick up and internalize the coding standards and architecture models in no time at all, so that they can be relied upon to integrate them into their programming work.
Reducing workload for the TRUMPF development team at Schramberg via the automated code and architecture analysis process frees up capacity and thus allows the personnel to focus once again on the content of their software implementations. The time saved in this way also allows the software architects to concentrate more on conceptual software planning.
All in all, the software developers at TRUMPF Laser regard the Axivion Bauhaus Suite as an additional “safety net”. The regular analyses and reports make the growing code quality visible, which boosts the team’s confidence in its own development work. For TRUMPF Laser, this guarantees long-term development success in an environment marked by high performance and quality requirements over ever shorter innovation and product cycles.
ABOUT TRUMPF ++
The high-technology company TRUMPF offers production solutions in the machine tool and laser sectors. It is driving digital connectivity in manufacturing industry through consulting, platform and software offers. TRUMPF is the world technological and market leader for machine tools used in flexible sheet metal processing, and also for industrial lasers.
In 2016/17, the TRUMPF Group – which has about 12,000 employees – achieved sales of 3.11 billion euros. With over 70 subsidiaries, it is represented in nearly all the countries of Europe, North and South America, and Asia. It has production facilities in Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, the Czech Republic, the USA, Mexico, China and Japan.
For more information about TRUMPF go to www.trumpf.com
Image rights: TRUMPF Laser
Success Story in collaboration with TR-Electronic GmbH
Architecture analysis and MISRA checking for automation technology firmware
TR-Electronic in Trossingen specialises in sensors and actuators for industrial applications in automation technology. Its product portfolio includes rotary encoders, linear encoders, intelligent compact drives, as well as control and measuring modules. The firmware for its automation solutions relies on architecture models that simultaneously provide the foundation for further and new developments within the company’s various Business Units. Now, TR-Electronic is about to ensure that custom requirements are implemented consistently and that demanding security standards are met by introducing a new static code analysis function as part of the Axivion Bauhaus Suite.
THE CHALLENGE ++
TR-Electronic’s measuring and control solutions are employed in many fields, from metal and wood processing to the print and packaging industry, as well as event engineering and wind turbines. The firmware for the company’s high-quality standard products and for its custom solutions meets the requirements for a carefully modelled architecture. In this way, the company ensures that the different firmware variants remain manageable and that secure further development is possible in the long term.
The only way to ensure strict compliance with the models created by the software architects is to adopt a consistent, tool-based approach to architecture analysis. The software tool used for this purpose had to be seamlessly integrated into the development process. As well as checking that the code conforms to the existing architecture models for the firmware, the tool needed to provide feedback on the design so that the architects could use this to further optimise their models.
An additional requirement for the analysis tool concerned safety and security analyses: TR-Electronic’s sensors and actuators are increasingly being deployed in Industry 4.0 applications and for monitoring crucial safety-related machine functions. In these areas, technical safety standards are becoming ever stricter in an effort to protect networked production units from malicious software and unauthorised access. A tool was therefore needed that could also perform analyses to prevent systematic safety and security errors, including automated checks to ensure compliance with relevant programming guidelines such as CERT®. The new suite of tools was also intended to replace, as seamlessly as possible, the previous static code analysis tool that was being used to check compliance with MISRA C:2012 coding guidelines.
THE SOLUTION ++
The Axivion Bauhaus Suite fitted the bill exactly thanks to its precise analyses and straightforward integration into the existing TR-Electronic toolchain and development workflows. Migrating from the existing static code analysis tool to the Axivion Bauhaus Suite was a quick and smooth process, as was the process of customisation by Axivion’s Professional Services Team.
The tool suite will be used to analyse the code developed using C programming language. The integrated MISRA checker will cover all the MISRA rules from programming standard MISRA C:2012 that can be automatically checked, as well as the CERT® programming rules that are crucial for software security. As part of the architecture verification, the existing Enterprise Architect UML models will be automatically imported and their code checked for compliance. The Axivion Bauhaus Suite will fit seamlessly into TR-Electronic’s nightly build toolchain.
THE SUCCESS ++
TR-Electronic already had test tools in place for automated checking of the external firmware quality, such as functional suitability, efficiency etc. With the introduction of the Axivion Bauhaus Suite, it now also possesses an efficient tool for automatically checking the internal quality of its software as well.
The tool suite will be responsible for automated checking of the firmware code and architecture after every single build. The analyses reliably check for compliance with the metric threshold values, as well as company-specific and general programming rules such as MISRA and CERT®, and indicate any violations of the defined software architecture. The architecture verification ensures that interface requirements are consistently upheld, thereby supporting encapsulation into modules.
The short feedback cycles, particularly in the case of architecture violations during ongoing code development, soon had a positive impact on the programming quality. Not least because the regular and meaningful feedback enables prompt corrections to coding, but also because it facilitated rapid learning for the developers.
Overall, TR-Electronic has significantly reduced the level of human effort required in verifying and validating software architectures and codes. At the same time, the Axivion Bauhaus Suite rounds off the development team’s existing toolchain by ensuring security within firmware development.
ABOUT TR-ELECTRONIC ++
TR-Electronic develops, manufactures and sells sensors and actuators for industrial applications in automation technology. Products in the Rotary Encoders Business Unit with optical or magnetic scanning are required to detect the angular movement of a rotating shaft. Magnetostrictive linear encoders measure the position of a linear movement without contact, for example in a hydraulic cylinder. Intelligent compact drives from the Motion Business Unit are used as actuators or process drives. Customized control and measuring modules in combination with special know-how in pressing and punching processes complete the product portfolio. The Components Business Unit supplies automation components. The development services provided by the Automation Business Unit bring press lines to new levels of performance and enable with smart metering solutions an efficient energy utilization, the remote monitoring of water supply networks or intelligent heating automation.
TR-Electronic’s most important customer is the mechanical and plant engineering industry, which has a strong tradition in Germany. In addition to the primary location of Trossingen, subsidiaries and technical sales partners in Europe, the USA, Canada, Brazil and Asia offer professional advice and project planning and ensure worldwide access to the TR product range.
More information about TR-Electronic at www.tr-electronic.de
Image rights: TR-Electronic GmbH, Trossingen
Success Story in collaboration with HENSOLDT
HENSOLDT Sensors (formerly Airbus DS Electronics and Border Security) has introduced a product-line architecture for its wide range of system variants. With its automatic architecture analysis, the Axivion Bauhaus Suite supports the management of variants and efficient further development of products.
THE CHALLENGE ++
HENSOLDT Sensors GmbH (formerly Airbus DS Electronics and Border Security) is a world leading provider of premium electronics for protection, reconnaissance and surveillance as well as situational awareness.
The Software Engineering – Operational Support Systems department is responsible for software development for operational planning and support systems for airborne weapon systems for all types of helicopters.
The department‘s portfolio of services ranges from modelling to development as well as validation and commissioning of operational support systems and provision of support for delivered systems. Operational support systems allow the customer to prepare for and implement deployments both tactically and technically.
The Operational Support Systems department’s international customers have highly individual requirements for their operational support systems.
These systems are only implemented and supplied as unique customer variants.
This presents a significant challenge for the variant management for the system, as the many individual versions result in a constantly growing number of variants, which must be efficiently managed and further developed by the company.
HENSOLDT has introduced a product-line architecture for variant management. Consistent compliance with this must be ensured. This concerns all product variants and the entire life cycle of each individual product. To this end, HENSOLDT opted for a sustainable approach, supported by a product-line architecture from the outset. To ensure systematic, uniform and correct implementation of the planned structures by the software, compliance with the architecture must be checked – a task which involves significant manual effort.
THE SOLUTION ++
Since 2008, these previously manual checks have been automated with the Axivion Bauhaus Suite. This enables a highly efficient and continuous complete review of the “as-is” architecture. Continuous comparison of the product implementation in the source code with the specified product-line architecture means that deviations are immediately visible to the architects and developers and the relevant responsible persons are kept informed.
Continuous analysis during development ensures that the architecture is implemented consistently and as planned. Whenever the Axivion Bauhaus Suite identifies deviations from the plan, it informs the architects and developers of the cause of the deviations in a targeted manner. This means that troubleshooting can be started immediately and either the developer can modify the code accordingly, or the architect can refine the architecture. Hidden dependencies are completely eliminated from the development process and no longer cause planning and maintenance difficulties in later development phases.
Continual reviews are rid of repetitive ballast, run considerably more efficiently and allow architects and developers to fully concentrate on the main, constructional aspects.
The “living” and continuously current architecture also increases flexibility in terms of development and allows HENSOLDT to respond quickly to change requests from customers. Thanks to architecture monitoring, the development team is now always in a position to make safe plans and can determine the necessary time frame for changes.
THE SUCCESS ++
With its architecture analysis, HENSOLDT has introduced a procedure that has been warmly welcomed by architects and developers. This is in part due to the fact that the architecture specifications and complex UML models are now more comprehensible with regard to their implementation as code: If the Axivion Bauhaus Suite detects a deviation, it issues targeted feedback immediately. This generates a learning effect for all developers in the form of a feedback loop, as all developers now know what the architects’ models mean and how they are to be interpreted. The analysis immediately detects misunderstandings.
Architects experience a similar learning effect: With the aid of the Axivion Bauhaus Suite, the architect gains knowledge and experience of how UML models can be better and more easily understood by the developers. He develops a sense of which modelling depth is reasonable and can precisely estimate impacts during implementation. This means it is possible to achieve an optimum balance between the modelling effort and benefit.
Another great success is the minimisation of the integration risk. During the integration phase, the products are created in the respective customer variants. This is performed at the very end of the process and in the past, this was also used as a safeguard to ensure that the customer variant precisely meets the specified requirements. Today, this safeguarding is already implemented during the architecture review and is therefore much earlier in the development process. This means any deviations can be corrected much more cost-effectively and with less of a risk to the deadline.
Beyond architecture analysis, the Axivion Bauhaus Suite is also used to record metrics. In addition, HENSOLDT’s programming guidelines are also monitored with the Axivion Bauhaus Suite, in order to ensure that the software can be maintained, to minimise the probability of errors and to protect the code against further causes of software erosion. The results of the metrics and code tests are also used as KPIs in reviews and reporting. HENSOLDT implemented the Axivion Bauhaus Suite on a large existing code base.
The elimination of violations against specifications follows the strategy that all deviations must be eliminated from new code, and only violations with critical impacts need to be eliminated from existing code. Thus, previously validated system components do not have to undergo complete re-approval. This procedure has been made possible thanks to the differential delta analysis from Axivion, which only displays new deviations in comparison with the baseline.
Overall, HENSOLDT has significantly reduced the absolute overall effort for maintenance of product variants thanks to the introduction of automatic architecture analysis through the Axivion Bauhaus Suite. This is especially remarkable since the team of developers has increased considerably since its introduction and the code volume for the systems has doubled in size.
ABOUT HENSOLDT ++
HENSOLDT is an independent and globally leading supplier of premium sensors for security and surveillance missions. The company is a global player in such areas as missile warning systems and submarine periscopes. Moreover, HENSOLDT is very active in the market for radar systems, optronics and electronic protection systems.
The company comprises the security and defence electronics activities of the Airbus Group, which were spun off from the group in 2017 and have now entered the market as a new sensor house under the brand name of HENSOLDT.
HENSOLDT employs approximately 4,000 employees, generating annual revenues of about € 1 billion.
For further information on HENSOLDT go to www.hensoldt.net
Image rights: HENSOLDT Sensors GmbH
Success Story in collaboration with Leuze electronic
“Clean code” and architecture for Industry 4.0
Intelligent camera systems play a key role in the digitalisation of industry. Specially designed optics and lighting together with cutting-edge sensor technology give the systems their power. However, the special ‘intelligence’ for Industry 4.0 of these modular camera systems is down to their software, which is continuously refined for different variants and enhanced with new features. To ensure a clean architecture and code basis for the software platform of their new camera-based code reader DCR 200i, Leuze electronic has opted for the Axivion Bauhaus Suite.
The DCR 200i by Leuze is a reader for identifying bar, stacked and 2D codes. It provides excellent reading results even at conveyor belt speeds of up to six metres per second. Thanks to its modular design the DCR 200i adapts flexibly to a wide variety of different demands. With the aid of the configuration wizard in integrated webConfig tools it can easily be commissioned, operated and maintained. The camera can even be configured using a smart phone app.
THE CHALLENGE ++
The outstanding performance of the DCR 200i is down to its powerful hardware coupled with state-of-the-art software. The DCR 200i is based on a software platform developed in-house which also forms the foundation for other Leuze product ranges. This framework comprises a complex components system with numerous variants. For the developers at Leuze the challenge now is to check and maintain the software platform codebase, which is being continuously extended during ongoing operational use. The aim is to guarantee the maintainability of the software over long product lifetimes which often exceed ten years.
Because the framework forms the basis for several product lines with varying functional scopes, the code checking process focuses particularly on locating and evaluating dead, unused and duplicate code. In addition to this it was required to check the code for compliance with both generally accepted programming guidelines such as MISRA and also self-defined specifications.
Software metrics, for instance regarding complexity and nesting depth, have to be checked for compliance with thresholds. Both new developments and the extensive codebase at Leuze in C and C++ have to be analysed.
THE SOLUTION ++
After in-depth evaluation of various tools, Leuze Competence Center Software chose the Axivion Bauhaus Suite. Alongside the tool suite’s impressive analysis functionality, the decisive factor was its adaptability: The out-of-the-box version of Axivion Bauhaus Suite was heavily customised for Leuze. In doing so the Axivion professional services team enhanced the standard code and architecture checking tools provided with the tool suite by adding company-specific style checks and integrating them into the automated analysis process.
Particularly in critical end application areas, such as data exchange between the framework’s components, the architecture check plays a key role. To ensure the proven backing up of this data it is vital for the communication to fully meet the architecture’s specifications, and it is here that, in addition to the custom rules, the Axivion Bauhaus Suite’s architecture analysis comes into play. This detects possible deviations from the pre-defined model xand supports software developers and architects in the quality assurance of the codebase for the multi-product software platform.
THE SUCCESS ++
Right from the start the use of the Axivion Bauhaus Suite by the development team was a great success thanks to the rapid results in the daily build. The warnings of potential errors at the early development stage saved the team a great deal of work. If these potential trouble spots in the source code had not been detected until the system test this could have entailed a major additional workload, which can now be avoided from the outset.
A further factor facilitating the daily development process is the automated checking of company-specific metrics and programming guidelines.
This enables Leuze to check not only the fulfilment of normal industry expectations regarding high software quality but also its own even more stringent standards.
Despite these highly individual adaptations, the tool suite and its automated regular reports were integrated seamlessly and rapidly into the development process. In its analyses the Axivion Bauhaus Suite includes not only newly-written code lines but also the software’s codebase via targeted delta analysis. The tool suite detects duplicates reliably using its clone recognition algorithms, it locates potentially problematic code areas, identifies style violations and tracks down cyclical dependencies.
Thanks to this continuous checking of the source code during the daily build Leuze is able to actively counteract creeping software erosion, i. e., the steady loss of software quality.
As part of the Leuze “Clean Code” initiative developers devote themselves to the software platform’s codebase during in-house “Axivion days”. The aim of these sessions is to improve both newly developed code and the old codebase step by step with the aid of Axivion Bauhaus Suite.
This enables Leuze to maintain the high quality of the software used in both its tried-and-tested and newly developed intelligent cameras and sensors for use in Industry 4.0.
ABOUT LEUZE ELECTRONIC ++
Leuze electronic is one of the world’s leading innovators in optoelectronic sensor technology and is internationally renowned as a leading manufacturer and system provider in the field of electrical automation. Its core focuses are on intralogistics and the packaging industry, machine tool construction, the automotive industry and medical technology. The portfolio includes switching and measuring sensors, identification systems, image processing and data transmission systems and also safety at work components and systems. Founded in 1963, the company, which has its headquarters in Owen/Teck, Germany, possesses both specific application know-how and wide-ranging knowledge of the sector.
Over 1,000 employees at 22 locations are active in the fields of development, production, sales and service, supported by more than 40 worldwide sales partners. Innovative product development, custom-built global solutions and a comprehensive range of services all spell Smart Sensor Business 4.0 at Leuze electronic.
Sources of images: Leuze electronic GmbH & Co. KG
Success Story in collaboration with Fresenius Medical Care
Software erosion protection for long-lasting software in the field of medical technology
Fresenius Medical Care products have a very long life cycle. To ensure the ongoing development and maintainability of these products, the company uses the Axivion Bauhaus Suite to carry out automated code and architectural analyses.
THE CHALLENGE ++
Dialysis machines by Fresenius Medical Care (FMC) are used to filter the blood of around 300,000 patients all over the world. The latest product in the field of acute dialysis is the multi-FiltratePRO. This machine’s software is programmed in C/C++ and will be continually updated and developed for many years to come.
It is in view of the product’s long life cycle – in particular – that FMC places such high demands on the quality and maintainability of the software. Various hardware components are bound to be discontinued throughout the long service life of the product, so the software has to be continually adapted to match the new hardware. Consequently, this intensively maintained software enables the company to master the challenges of obsolete components with confidence.
The IEC 62304 requirements for medical device software must also be complied with during the development and maintenance of the software. The standard stipulates that tools for static analysis and coding guidelines must be used to develop systems that are in line with the latest technology, but it allows a certain degree of freedom in terms of how these are implemented.
However, no concessions can be made when it comes to software quality and this is especially true within the medical products sector. For this reason, FMC invests considerable time and effort in ensuring the quality of the overall product. Test stages such as manual testing, code reviews and architectural validation involve a great deal of effort, in turn resulting in costs that gradually build up over the software’s long life cycle as it undergoes testing time and time again.
THE SOLUTION ++
A CASE tool is used to model the architecture of the software for the multiFiltratePRO series machines. When new features are introduced into the product, the team first checks if the architecture needs to be modified and then implements any changes that are required. As in the case of all development results, the architectural model is maintained in the version control system and used to test the architecture.
This is where the Axivion Bauhaus Suite comes in. Working within the context of continuous integration, it checks the source code by carrying out a static code analysis and reconciles the code with the architecture from the CASE tool. The Bauhaus Suite also identifies and locates clones, dead code, metric violations and cyclic dependencies. Medical technology software standards must be complied with, so style violation monitoring is extremely important. To ensure compliance, modified MISRA checks are carried out together with a test for compliance with other FMC-specific rules (e.g. naming conventions with the aid of a specific dictionary). This improves the quality of the software during its development, avoiding errors at an early stage.
The Axivion Bauhaus Suite identifies any new deviations during the daily automated analysis. This temporal differentiation also allows the use of “frozen” legacy code, which – understandably – contains a greater number of deviations, but without actively addressing these for regression reasons. At FMC, the focus is primarily on the prevention of new violations in order to counteract creeping software erosion. The Axivion Bauhaus Suite notifies the developer of the analysis results punctually by e-mail and via an interactive report on a dashboard. This direct feedback gives developers the opportunity to correct their code or to initiate subsequent adaptation of the architecture. FMC believes that the learning effect for developers is also an important factor here, since they gain a better understanding of the architectural model and the remaining valid rules by receiving direct feedback on their newly created code. In turn, this means that they are better able to implement requirements in the long term.
THE SUCCESS ++
Thanks to the Axivion Bauhaus Suite, FMC can now master the numerous challenges facing the software for its dialysis machines – the ongoing, comprehensive testing of the newly created codes prevents any deviations from the architectural model and precludes errors and problematic dependencies in the code, all of which could affect the quality of the product. The Bauhaus Suite also uses relevant code checks to ensure FMC’s compliance with IEC 62304. Thanks to the introduction of automated analysis with the Axivion Bauhaus Suite, FMC has reduced its testing times and costs significantly, without having to make any concessions in terms of software quality assurance. The savings made can be used to further develop the product and promote innovations in the long term. Thanks to the regular feedback, the analysis facilitates the timely processing of problem lines in the code or strategic changes to the architecture model. At the same time, both project and developer benefit from an improved understanding of the architecture and from a positive learning curve for the C/C++ programming.
The high code quality achieved with the help of the automated code analysis also increases the maintainability of products with long life cycles, such as the FMC multiFiltratePRO series dialysis machines. The level of dependence on the hardware is also reduced, because it is easier, faster and less expensive to migrate and re-use the code when hardware is discontinued.
ABOUT FRESENIUS MEDICAL CARE ++
Fresenius Medical Care is the world’s largest provider of products and services for individuals with renal diseases of which more than 2.6 million patients worldwide regularly undergo dialysis treatment.
Through its network of 3,402 dialysis clinics, Fresenius Medical Care provides dialysis treatments for 290,250 patients around the globe. Fresenius Medical Care is also the leading provider of dialysis products such as dialysis machines or dialyzers. Along with the core business, the company focuses on expanding the range of additional medical services in the field of care coordination.
Sources of images: Fresenius Medical Care
Success Story in collaboration with Phoenix Contact
Architecture and code checking for embedded and PC software
Phoenix Contact is the global market leader for components, systems and solutions in the field of electrical engineering, electronics and automation. The company’s products and solutions have a very long life cycle; some have been in use for decades and are continually further developed. To ensure the maintainability and further development of product software based on C, C++ or C#, Phoenix Contact uses the Axivion Bauhaus Suite in an increasing number of areas.
THE CHALLENGE ++
Product cycle times of 10 or 20 years are by no means rare in industrial environments such as railway engineering, the energy sector, or mechanical engineering.
Maintenance of the hardware is a matter of course, but the embedded and PC software for the products must also be regularly maintained and any errors which occur in the code – e. g. due to interaction with other, new components – must be eliminated by means of appropriate updates. At the same time, existing tried-and-tested components and systems must be adapted to new market requirements. Continuous further development with regard to important criteria such as safety, as well as efficiency and operability ensures the success of the products and the company. For developers, this means that the “legacy code” which has been maintained and extended over the years in the C, C++ and C# programming languages must be kept maintainable and at the same time must be usable as a dependable basis for the next product generation. The architecture of the software plays a decisive role in this. Is it comprehensibly defined for all those involved in the project over the course of many product cycles, and is it consistently applied? In the course of this “clean code development”, Phoenix Contact has dedicated itself to the development of maintainable and “clean” C, C++ and C# codes.
The objective is homogeneous architecture descriptions, UML models with uniform semantics and comprehensible documentation. In the code itself, the main objective is to eliminate style violations, which in the long term may be potential sources of malfunctions or failures in the further developed products.
The Axivion Bauhaus Suite combines all of the essential functions for architecture and code analysis, and has therefore become an important instrument for efficient “clean code development”.
THE SOLUTION ++
Initially, the developers at Phoenix Contact concentrated on the use of software architecture checking within the Axivion Bauhaus Suite.
This quickly indicates code violations of the architecture: Test reports mark the “problem areas” in the program and hence create the basis for target-oriented discussions. Together with the software architects in the team, the subsets in the UML models are more precisely defined and according to the context – for example in the case of safety-relevant functions – are modelled down to class level. Component models are generated in projects which are not safety-relevant. This creates consistent and homogeneous UML models, whose conformity is promptly and continually monitored in further architecture checks, in particular for new code.
Use of the Axivion Bauhaus Suite for architecture checks quickly became established at Phoenix Contact. After this, further functions of the suite of tools were integrated into routine development work. The features for checking source code for style violations were of special interest to the developers. For the use of metrics, care was taken to observe a small number of metrics to track down quality outliers, e. g. cyclomatic complexity (McCabe metric). Statistical analysis is also important to developers for the detection of errors. By means of additional analyses such as the identification of cycles, even faults that only occur sporadically and that otherwise would not be detectable can be identified and remedied. The Axivion Bauhaus Suite also efficiently detects clones, i. e. lexical and syntactic duplicates, in C, C++ and C# code.
The clone management system not only helps the Phoenix Contact teams to avoid source code duplicates, but also to eliminate potential errors in the legacy code, if necessary at several points at the same time.
THE SUCCESS ++
The rapid and obvious successes provide motivation for the Phoenix Contact developers. On the basis of analyses with the Axivion Bauhaus Suite, they understand and appreciate the value of architecture as a tool and now document their programming even more consistently. With the development of consistent and homogeneous UML models they ensure the long-term and manageable further development of safety-relevant as well as non safety-critical products.
The Axivion Bauhaus Suite analyses also help with routine reflection for the improvement of the code quality of individual developers. Thanks to the positive error culture at Phoenix Contact and design reviews that can easily be integrated in the workflow, all employees have the ambition to develop “clean” code and to jointly improve software quality. A work group with “Axivion Key Users” regularly cooperates and informs the teams. In the event of any support or other questions, developers are assisted by Axivion contact partners.
Phoenix Contact has been using the Axivion Bauhaus Suite since 2013. The suite of tools was extensively tested both in the embedded environment with C and C++ as well as in a PC software project with C#. The results of this were positive, so that Phoenix Contact is now successively rolling out its use in more and more areas – entirely in line with the company’s “clean code” initiative.
ABOUT THE PHOENIX CONTACT GROUP ++
PHOENIX CONTACT is the global market leader for components, systems and solutions in the field of electrical engineering, electronics and automation. The family business now employs about 14,500 people worldwide and had a turnover of 1.91 billion euros in 2015. The company headquarters is in Blomberg in Westphalia, Germany.
The Phoenix Contact Group consists of twelve companies in Germany and more than 50 sales companies throughout the world. This international presence is reinforced by 30 agencies in Europe and overseas.
Sources of images: PHOENIX CONTACT
Success Story in collaboration with Elektrobit
Erosion protection for navigation software in the fast-moving automotive industry
The software solution EB street director by Elektrobit (EB) is used for multifunctional navigation applications in the innovation-hungry automotive sector. For the developers at EB, this means having to implement new software features in ever shorter cycles, while simultaneously satisfying the automobile industry’s exacting performance and quality requirements. Axivion Bauhaus Suite has made a vital contribution to their successful development.
THE CHALLENGE ++
EB street director by Elektrobit is used in the automobile sector and in consumer electronics for both mobile navigation devices and permanently installed systems. Regardless of the field of application or end device, modern navigation systems are becoming ever more complex and multifunctional. EB street director is therefore modular in design, with a navigation core that can be used for a variety of different end applications. This modularity allows the software to be integrated into new development projects in the automotive sector and makes it possible to build more convenient functionalities into the solution for the driver. Especially in the premium segment, with automobile manufacturers such as Audi, Porsche and Mercedes Benz, as well as Volkswagen, this places extremely high demands on the performance of the overall solution.
For developers in the highly dynamic automotive industry this means having to integrate many new features and often within a very short time frame. This is in addition to fundamental technical innovations, which must be integrated, such as connectivity for on-board systems with external devices and cloud-based services for the common use of data. At the same time, care has to be taken throughout all development phases to ensure that the system architecture remains sustainable, consistent and easy to maintain. This is the only way to implement new requirements rapidly and cost-effectively in the long-term – and meet the high quality requirements of the automotive sector. Additional challenges are presented by EB itself as designing these complex software solutions calls for more than just a handful of developers working at a single location. The trend is towards larger development teams, with projects often being executed by over 100 personnel at various locations around the world. The challenge is to ensure that all those involved in the project are kept informed and remain at the same level of technical knowledge. When new personnel join the development teams, they must be brought up to speed as quickly as possible and involved in the productive process.
THE SOLUTION ++
When it comes to dayto-day development work at EB, the Axivion Bauhaus Suite meets two central requirements right from the start: At regular intervals, the software tool automatically checks the conformity of the high-level architecture, which is modelled on UML-based tools, and the detailed design, with the code. At the same time, the Bauhaus Suite continuously checks that the detailed design meets the high-level architecture requirements. Information on architecture violations flows into regular reporting which will be made available either to individual team managers or the entire development team by email, depending on the deployment scenario, as a dashboard message or within the normal integrated development environment. Decisions concerning counter-measures, such as code corrections or architecture tracking, can then be made on a case-by-case basis. In this context, it is vital that the information is transparent and available, at all times, to everyone involved in the project. This enables the team to make informed decisions about whether rapid and successful development should be given higher priority in some situations and routine system maintenance should be considered less important. In this case, they may decide not to make an adjustment immediately. However, it is essential that information concerning the violation is retained and can be reprioritised at a later date.
In order to ensure that Axivion Bauhaus Suite rapidly becomes part of EB’s everyday development work, Axivion has accompanied every stage of the new tool’s introduction as the solution provider. From the technical integration of the Bauhaus Suite into the development environment and setting up the required analyses and reports to training developers and architects – Axivion offers every service from a single source.
THE SUCCESS ++
After introducing the Axivion Bauhaus Suite, EB soon achieved its first successes at developer level: Transparent reporting provides programmers with an overview of their code. As they learn something every day, they can improve their development work and gain a better understanding of the architecture of their software. At the same time, integrating new personnel at the various locations has become considerably easier and faster.
The continuous improvement of its development work has now enabled EB to implement new features into the modules of EB street director faster than ever before. When the architects modify their models in line with the requirements of the new feature, these architecture modifications are now visible and transparent for all those involved in the project, which facilitates consistent further development – a key requirement for agile software development.
Moreover, new experience gained from the development, testing and debugging processes enables project managers to prepare cost estimates for new projects more easily and rapidly, while impact analyses can also be conducted significantly more efficiently.
All in all, the continuous architecture optimisation process, with clear interfaces and modules, ensures better testability. In this way, EB can ensure that the overall system is easy to maintain in the long term, as well as the quality of the navigation software solution, which is subject to particularly stringent requirements and standards in the automotive sector.
ABOUT ELEKTROBIT ++
Elektrobit (EB) is a multiple award-winning and visionary global supplier of embedded software solutions, cloud computing and services for the automotive industry. As a leading automotive software company, with over 25 years of industry experience, EB offers flexible, innovative software solutions for connected car infrastructures, human machine interface (HMI) technologies, navigation & driver assistance systems, electronic control units (ECUs), and software engineering services. EB’s products power over 70 million vehicles worldwide. EB is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Continental AG.
For further information, please visit: www.elektrobit.com
Sources of images: Elektrobit
Success Story in collaboration with TRW
Software erosion protection for automotive embedded software
TRW uses the Axivion Bauhaus Suite to protect the UML-based architecture of its electric parking brake (EPB) – and the applications based on it – against erosion. This enables consistently fast development speeds to be achieved in the field of safety-critical control devices with consistently high levels of quality.
THE CHALLENGE ++
The electric parking brake (EPB) from TRW has proved very successful in the market and is being used in more and more vehicle models. Today, the specific customer requirements and the necessary flexibility are mainly achieved and ensured by software. The growing customer base and the ever-increasing number of customer- and model-specific variants is therefore a major challenge for software development. For the OEM, perceptions of quality and flexibility are influenced directly by software development at TRW. Development speeds and adherence to deadlines for new variants are critical for TRW’s success.
Software development based on ISO 26262 also places high demands on the components and associated documentation from the perspective of quality, which has to be consistently high. These include, in addition to requirements for the software architecture and its documentation, the establishment of and compliance with coding guidelines such as MISRA-C.
TRW-EPB systematically relies on the implementation of a UML-based architecture when developing its electric parking brake (EPB). The major challenge here lies in keeping the UML models and the implementation continuously synchronised. Manual checking is not an option because of the large number of projects and variants.
THE SOLUTION ++
The existing tool chain was extended to include the Axivion Bauhaus Suite, whose XMI interface is tailored to the popular CASE tools. The architecture of the UML models is now checked during the development phase itself. As a result, specific change requests for improving the quality are automatically triggered on an ongoing basis.
As soon as the implemented components differ from the models, the software developers receive warning messages. In most cases, developers can quickly resolve the discrepancy themselves. Because the solution was easy to integrate into daily business and the individual developers could be included, it has made the architects’ job easier, as they only have to intervene when changes to the architecture are actually required.
In a further step, the coding guidelines were revised with the assistance of Axivion and these are now likewise automatically checked during the development phase using the Axivion Bauhaus Suite.
THE SUCCESS ++
The constant checking of the architecture specifications and modelling rules has made the entire development team more aware of architectural issues. The importance of the architecture and the architects in the project has grown and been generally accepted. Collaboration between architects and developers has been greatly improved and has become much smoother. Day-today tasks involve resolving discrepancies, sometimes in the implementation and sometimes in the architecture. Work is concentrated on finding the optimal solution in each individual case. As a result, not only are the requirements met in full, but lessons can also be learnt in the area of architectural design, thereby allowing overall architectures to be improved more and more.
Hence it has been possible to establish new architectures so that – for example – parts of the software are easier to integrate into third-party control units, as is increasingly being stipulated by OEMs. The perfect interaction and intermeshing of the UML models and the component implementations also enhanced the ability to reuse certain sub-components in several variants. The automated checking of the coding guidelines in the background reduces the manual workload, increases acceptance
among the developers and is more conducive to learning, since there is immediate feedback.
The software erosion problems of the past were successfully eliminated right from the start of the EPB project at TRW by using the Axivion Bauhaus Suite. The resulting overall increase in efficiency in development has made it possible to mitigate, to some extent, the impact of the much-quoted lack of skilled professionals and the associated shortage of personnel capacity.
ABOUT TRW ++
With a turnover of 16.2 billion US dollars in 2011, TRW Automotive is one of the world’s leading suppliers to the automotive industry. The company, with its headquarters in Livonia (Michigan, USA), has a global presence through its subsidiaries in 26 countries and employs approximately 60,000 people worldwide.
TRW Automotive’s product portfolio includes integrated vehicle control and driver assist systems, braking systems, steering systems, suspension systems, occupant safety systems (seat belts and airbags), electronics, engine components, fastening systems and aftermarket replacement parts and services.
Sources of images: TRW Automotive
Success Story in collaboration with Dentsply Sirona
Rule-compliant code and uniform architecture for dentistry technology
Every day around 600,000 dentists and dental technicians use products from Dentsply Sirona. The enterprise is the world’s largest and most diversified manufacturer of dental products. In the fields of CAD/CAM, Imaging Systems and Treatment Units, Dentsply Sirona’s software developers use the Axivion Bauhaus Suite for code and architecture verification in order to ensure that they design software which is rule-compliant, state-of-the-art and maintainable in the long term.
THE CHALLENGE ++
As the market leader in dental appliances, Dentsply Sirona has the industry’s largest R&D department where it develops innovative end-toend clinical solutions designed to improve patient care. Large numbers of in-house and external developers work at various locations, both in teams and entirely independently, on the software for CAD/CAM solutions for dental laboratories and dentists’ practices, imaging systems such as 2D and 3D x-ray machines and treatment units featuring a comprehensively equipped patient’s chair plus dentist’s interface. Driven by the ever-increasing complexity of the systems involved, the need has arisen, particularly in these product areas, to maintain the inherent quality of the products using predefined coding rules and uniform software architecture. Another criterion for the software development process was to cater for the human factor. For instance, in the event of unforeseen personnel shortages, the projects needed to be easier to carry forward and it had to be possible to integrate new team members more rapidly and seamlessly into the development processes. To boost the efficiency of time-consuming manual code reviews by key individual personnel, a further requirement was the establishment of a joint, tool-based process for code and architecture verification and dealing with the ensuing results.
The requirements for the tool by different departments were diverse. For instance, it had to be usable together with different development environments and compilers. Due to the sheer size of some of the projects, the tool also needed to be scalable for the analysis of large volumes of code and also, when using IBM Rational Rhapsody® and automated code generation, capable of distinguishing between machine- and manually-generated code. In the process, it had to be able to deal with the existing code base appropriately in order to safeguard its integrity so that newly-written code could be developed which did not deviate from that base.
A further requirement was for the tool to generate automated reports whereby developers could record their working progress and the quality of their work.
THE SOLUTION ++
After assessing various options, Dentsply Sirona’s decision makers opted for the Axivion Bauhaus Suite. The tool suite’s functions meet every central requirement for automated architecture and code analysis. Another factor that won Dentsply Sirona over was the suite’s handling of clones: The Axivion Bauhaus Suite’s user-friendly clone management allows it to distinguish between potentially problematic code duplications and deliberately implemented clones, thus treating them differently in the reports. Furthermore, during the other checks, Axivion’s delta analysis allows it to screen out the checking of legacy code and focus exclusively on analysing new parts of the program. On top of this, the tool suite distinguishes reliably between handwritten code and parts of the software generated automatically, for instance using IBM Rational Rhapsody®. For the performance of these tasks, the Axivion Bauhaus Suite is completely scalable both in terms of the introduction of checks, which can be rolled out step by step in order to keep developers’ motivation high, and in terms of project sizes. Thus, it can analyse anything from embedded projects to major C++ and C# projects. A final key factor for Dentsply Sirona was the ease with which the tool could be integrated into their existing development process. Without any great effort on the individual developers’ parts, the Axivion Bauhaus Suite could be incorporated into the company-specific process and deployed rapidly to productive effect, with maximum acceptance by all those involved.
THE SUCCESS ++
This high degree of acceptance resulted from the tangible success of the structured, automated code and architecture verification process at Dentsply Sirona, which became apparent soon after the introduction of the Axivion Bauhaus Suite. Alongside the outstanding clone management, personnel greatly appreciate the added value offered by the architectural verification, while developers are particularly keen on the interfaces with IBM Rational Rhapsody® and Enterprise Architect®. Thanks to the seamless integration of the tool, the UML models can not only be used for code generation, they can also be specified as the target architecture for the entire product. Furthermore, on projects where Axivion’s architecture modeller is being used, developers also now rapidly receive information on any deviations from the architecture’s actual implementation which means that architects and developers can take prompt countermeasures. This not only directly safeguards and enhances the code quality but also augments the developers’ long-term know-how. Moreover, the Axivion Bauhaus Suite provides project leaders with a tool which enables them to ensure that the architectures are reliably implemented by external programmers and suppliers. The process of training new personnel is made considerably easier. The continuous checking of the joint coding rules supports the developers and is also of direct benefit for their own work. Software architects and developers who refine the existing code feel particularly motivated by the fact that targeted analysis requiring a manageable amount of work enables them to detect potential weaknesses in new code at an early stage, something which had previously been highly labour-intensive when dealing with legacy software. The Axivion Bauhaus Suite has therefore greatly enhanced the efficiency of Dentsply Sirona’s software development processes. Its use directly supports every single employee in their quality-aware development work, thus providing a strong base for making productive progress on the projects as a whole. The outcome is high-quality software of proven compliance with standards which lays the foundation for products built on future-proof code which can be readily maintained and updated.
ABOUT DENTSPLY SIRONA ++
Dentsply Sirona is the world’s largest manufacturer of dental products and technologies. The company supports dentists and
dental technicians in providing better, faster and safer dental care. As The Dental Solutions Company™, Dentsply Sirona offers dentists a comprehensive range of end-to-end solutions. The company’s range includes many of the best-known and most well established brands on the market. Dentsply Sirona employs some 15,000 dedicated personnel in over 40 countries all round the world.
Sources of images: Dentsply Sirona
Success Story in collaboration with Bender
Software erosion protection for safety-critical embedded software according to IEC 61508 in measuring technology
ATiCS, the world‘s safest and most compact all-in-one changeover and monitoring device for safety-related and medical applications, is protected against software erosion with the Axivion Bauhaus Suite.
THE CHALLENGE ++
Power supplies for medical applications have to meet stringent requirements with respect to reliability based on the IEC 60364-7-710 and DIN VDE 0100-710 standards.
The new, integrated changeover and monitoring devices of the ATiCS710 series from Bender are the ideal solution for this task. For the first time, it has been possible to accommodate both the switching elements and the electronics in an extremely flat, compact enclosure.
The modules feature a new safety concept and are SIL2-rated (functional safety according to IEC 61508). Consequently, the software of the ATiCS710 series has to meet very high quality requirements that impose various demands, including approval from the TÜV German Technical Inspection Agency.
The specifications of IEC 61508 include a variety of requirements relating to the internal software quality. Among other things, it is imperative from the outset to create a well-structured software architecture and to check its conformity again and again during the development phase. Due to the complexity of the requirements, it would not be practical to rely on continuous manual checking as part of the usual code reviews for reasons of time and cost.
THE SOLUTION ++
Mandatory coding guidelines were created based on the various quality requirements. The software architecture was created and documented as early as the prototyping phase with the aid of tools. During implementation, the Axivion Bauhaus Suite performed in-process checks to ensure conformity to the coding guidelines and the architecture throughout the entire time. As part of its services, Axivion extended the Axivion Bauhaus Suite to include the coding guidelines from Bender.
Axivion Bauhaus Suite’s erosion protection has since become an integral part of the development process in the ATiCS project.
The reports generated can be used as part of the documentation submitted to the TÜV German Technical Inspection Agency as evidence of the systematic design of the software.
THE SUCCESS ++
Now they are automated, the checks are fast and cost-effective, and the quality of the results is consistently high. At the same time, far less effort is required to update the architectural documentation, meaning that documentation reflecting the current development status is readily available at all times. As a result, architectural violations are corrected promptly, thereby eliminating hidden dependencies and minimising risk factors.
The notifications generated by the Axivion Bauhaus Suite early on during the development phase drastically reduce the duration of potential error sources, such as architecture violations, dead functions or unused variables.
It is no longer necessary to undertake any extra work at the end of the project to achieve the quality objectives. Instead, the Axivion Bauhaus Suite monitors the achievement of these objectives throughout the entire development process and makes sure they are met.
The reports generated with the Axivion Bauhaus Suite make it easier to create the documentation required for product certification by the TÜV German Technical Inspection Agency.
ABOUT BENDER ++
For over 60 years, Bender has been committed to making electricity safer. With a wide range of innovative measuring, protection and monitoring systems, the company provides devices and systems for controlling safety in electrical energy applications in machinery and equipment and for reporting critical operating states before they can cause expensive material damage, business interruption or danger to persons.
Their products are used in a wide variety of applications, from building services engineering, all kinds of industrial sectors, and power generation and distribution right through to traffic technology and healthcare services. Coupled with an extensive range of services, the main business objective is to work closely with customers to devise, develop and produce solutions that meet the requirements of today and tomorrow. Solutions that consistently provide customers with high productivity, optimum efficiency and a high degree of electrical safety.
With its headquarters in Grünberg and over 500 employees and 56 branches worldwide, Bender is a market leader in electrical safety monitoring systems.
Sources of images: Bender GmbH
Success Story in collaboration with B. Braun
Software erosion protection for embedded software in medical devices
B. Braun uses the Axivion Bauhaus Suite as a quality gate for internally and externally developed components. Assuring the internal quality and maintainability of infusion device software gives B. Braun a crucial competitive advantage.
THE CHALLENGE ++
Device-based infusion technology at B. Braun has a long, rich history, which has been shaped considerably by its invention of the first syringe pump in 1951. Since then, all subsequent developments have prioritised high standards of quality in conjunction with innovative solutions that simplify daily tasks – resulting in a strong track record spanning more than half a century. Infusion pumps from B. Braun support a wide variety of therapies and can be specifically tailored to the particular conditions of use. This core competence is one of B. Braun’s USPs, but at the same time, it presents a daily challenge in terms of developing the hardware and, even more so, the software due to the resultant number of different versions. One of the key strategic requirements is that B. Braun has to have in-house expertise in the core competencies of the therapies concerned.
At very busy times, however, the internal development teams have to be supplemented with external collaborators in order to process large projects quickly and flexibly.
The first challenge here is to guarantee seamless communication with a view to achieving flexible collaboration with multiple partners. The second is to meet the extremely high requirements demanded by medical technology. This calls for strict quality controls, especially with respect to externally developed components.
THE SOLUTION ++
When developing new infusion pumps, B. Braun relies on a product line with a uniform architecture. This architecture was designed by B. Braun itself and implemented by external partners. To allow flexible collaboration with multiple partners, conformity to the architectures and the specifications for the internal software quality is absolutely essential.
For this reason, the Axivion Bauhaus Suite is used during the development phase to check conformity to the architectural specifications, as well as other guidelines covering the internal quality and maintainability of the infusion device software. As part of the acceptance procedure for externally developed components, the Axivion Bauhaus Suite also functions as a quality gate, ensuring that internal and external development both meet the same architectural specifications and quality guidelines.
Due to the generic and open nature of the Axivion Bauhaus Suite, the automated analyses of the software erosion protection could be tailored perfectly to the technologies used by B. Braun.
THE SUCCESS ++
By analysing and checking internally and externally developed software in this way, the subsystems of different development strands can be perfectly dovetailed. Deviations from the uniform product line architecture and the specified quality benchmarks are detected immediately so that appropriate measures can be taken promptly. New development partners of B. Braun quickly find their way around the architecture, enabling them to become productive in next to no time. Plans can be executed based on the architecture without the need for extensive training. Hidden dependencies and the resulting side effects are eliminated for good.
The product line architecture is actually implemented in practice and does not just exist on paper. The multitude of different versions is now easier to manage, freeing up more resources for development and for improving the actual therapies.
B. Braun is thoroughly fit for the future in the highly competitive environment of infusion device manufacturers. By using the Axivion Bauhaus Suite to check the maintainability and internal quality of its software, B. Braun will be able to retain this competitive advantage over the long term.
ABOUT B. BRAUN ++
B. Braun supplies the global healthcare market with products for anaesthesia, intensive medicine, cardiology, extracorporeal blood treatment and surgery, as well as services for hospitals, general practitioners and the homecare sector.
Through dialogue with those who are using B. Braun‘s products on a daily basis, the company is continually gaining new knowledge which it incorporates into its product development. In this way, the company creates innovative products and services that help to optimise working procedures in hospitals and medical practices all over the world and help to improve safety – for patients, doctors and nursing staff.
With some 44,000 employees in over 50 countries, B. Braun achieved a turnover of 4.6 billion euros in 2011.
Sources of images: B. Braun
Success Story in collaboration with SMA
Software erosion protection for embedded software in photovoltaic inverters
SMA Solar Technology AG successfully tackles software erosion with the Axivion Bauhaus Suite. The improved ability to maintain and modify the device software gives SMA an important competitive advantage.
THE CHALLENGE ++
As a market leader in photovoltaic inverters, SMA can supply the right inverter for any module type and performance class anywhere in the world: for small residential systems or largescale solar farms, for grid-connected installations as well as stand-alone and backup systems.
To efficiently manage the software for its wide variety of products, SMA uses a product line approach. The challenge here lies in retaining the ability to maintain and modify the product line. Due to the long product life cycles of the device software, being able to respond flexibly to changing framework conditions is crucial in order to remain competitive – especially when new standards necessitate changes across the entire product range (e.g. the VDE-AR-N 4105 application guide for generators on the low-voltage network).
THE SOLUTION ++
Integrated software quality assurance has always been a huge priority for SMA. In this respect, not only does SMA focus on external software quality (functionality, reliability, usability and efficiency), but also on internal software quality (maintainability, transferability).
So that it can react flexibly to changing requirements within the context of its product line approach, SMA is careful to ensure that the software architecture and its core assets offer a high degree of modularisation and encapsulation right from the design phase. The automated in-process architecture checking which forms part of the software erosion protection of the Axivion Bauhaus Suite ensures consistent conformity to the architectural concepts used.
In addition, other structures that could jeopardise maintainability (such as cycles and style violations) are also detected during the development phase and can thus be immediately removed by the respective developer.
The clone management system which is part of Axivion’s solution also ensures that all similar parts of the software are adjusted consistently when changes are applied. It is also possible to check the generated code for redundancies automatically in order to save valuable memory on the target system.
THE SUCCESS ++
The objective of protecting the PV inverter product line from software erosion was met in next to no time. The Axivion Bauhaus Suite has significantly improved the ability to maintain and modify the software systems of the inverters.
As a result, the requirements of the current VDE-AR-N 4105 application guide for generators on the low-voltage network could be met with ease.
By consistently checking conformity to the architectural concepts, the planning effort required for changes and adjustments has been reduced. Many of the reviewer’s tasks are now performed automatically by the Axivion Bauhaus Suite, which leaves more time for content checking. This has improved the quality of the reviews overall.
Additional efficiency gains are achieved by using the clone management system, which detects redundant code automatically so that storage space can be saved on the target system. Automating this once manual activity saves several weeks’ development time for every storage-critical change request.
As expected, the improvements in the internal software quality have had a positive effect on the external software quality. Consequently, SMA can continue assuring the same high level of PV inverter quality in the future.
ABOUT SMA ++
The SMA Group with anticipated sales of about EUR 1 billion in 2015 is the global market leader for solar inverters, a key component of all PV plants, and offers innovative key technologies for future power supply structures. It is headquartered in Niestetal, near Kassel, Germany, and is represented in 20 countries. The Group employs more than 3,500 people worldwide. SMA has an extensive range of products, which offers the right inverters for all module types and plant sizes; for small residential systems as well as large-scale plants, grid-connected photovoltaic systems as well as off-grid and hybrid systems. Moreover, SMA offers system technology for various battery technologies and system sizes and collaborates with renowned battery manufacturers and companies from the automotive industry. The SMA technology is protected by about 700 patents and utility models worldwide.
Sources of images: SMA
Thomas Stahl, Director Software Engineering, Fresenius Medical Care
Rainer Thieringer, Head of Software Development Department, TRUMPF Laser
Daniel Zimmermann, Head of OSS Software, HENSOLDT Sensors GmbH
Thomas Kremer, Teamleader Integration & Configuration EPB Software System Development, TRW Automotive GmbH
Hartmut Kerger, Software Developer for ATiCS Software, Dipl.-lng. W. Bender GmbH & Co. KG
Dr. Tobias Frank, Head of Safety & Configuration, PHOENIX CONTACT Software GmbH
Jakob Schmidt, Software Architect at Elektrobit
Peter Schade, Head of Software Development Team Frameworks, SMA Solar Technology AG
Michael Dalpiaz, Head of Embedded Software, Dentsply Sirona
Heiko Stehli, Software Architect, HENSOLDT Sensors GmbH
Christoph Kuner, M.Sc., FS Director, TR-Electronic GmbH
Kai Siegwart, Competence Center Software, Software Quality Assurance, Leuze electronic GmbH & Co. KG
Detlev Kuschke, Executive Vice President, PHOENIX CONTACT Software GmbH
Stephan Drozniak, Software Development Manager for Infusion Systems, B. Braun Melsungen AG
Dr. Stefan Staudt, Software Quality Manager, TRUMPF
Robert Dominicus-Schleutermann, Project Manager responsible for implementing the Axivion Bauhaus Suite, SMA Solar Technology AG
Gundolf Schmidt, Chief Engineer EPB Software System Development, TRW Automotive GmbH
Jens Siebert, Software Architect, Software Development for Infusion Systems, B. Braun Melsungen AG
Christian Küster, Commercial Manager, Haas Schleifmaschinen GmbH
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