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Automated System Level Configuration

Features and Options Level Configuration?

In basic configuration, more accurately referred to as features and options configuration, the rules are simply inclusion and exclusion rules.   If I have option A, I need to have either B or C, for example.  These rules serve to filter out options until a final configuration is reached.  This type of configuration works only for simple situations where there are no complex relationships between the parameters and features, and engineering is not required.  All the options are pre-engineered, and all the valid combinations are defined.  

Engineer-to-Order Configuration?

In engineer-to-order configuration, there are configuration, geometric, and engineering rules that can be complex mathematical relationships, logical relationships, geometric relationships and so on.  In this case engineering is essentially done on the fly and generates a newly designed product with potentially stock and new fabricated components.

System Level Configuration?

System Level Configuration goes further and enables the configuration (or design) of a system of independent components, each of which might by engineer-to-order configuration or features and options configuration.  

Characteristics of System Level Configuration

  • The system is performing a function that is enabled, not by a single component, but by the combination of components.  For example, a substation must perform the function of transforming and dividing the electrical power for distribution, but it is made up of components, such as switches, capacitors, and transforms.  A hydraulic pressure reducer is made of a combination of valves, metering equipment, check-valves, by-passes, etc.   

  • System level configuration is often related to a process of some kind involving discrete objects, a gas, a liquid, or electricity.  Examples include processing a product in manufacturing or material handling ‘system’; processing a liquid to transform it from one state to another; or ‘processing’ electricity in an electrical ‘system’.  In a substation, for example the ‘process’ transforms electricity and prepares it for distribution.  In a fluid process, the system may purify or transform the fluid from one state to another. 

  • Because the solution is comprised of independent components connected into a system, the nature of how they are connected is especially important.   The connections between independent components represent a topology.   This is often represented as a schematic diagram, such as process flow diagram.   For a substation, this would be represented as and electrical 1-line drawing.

  • 3D geometric layout is also important, but often happens later in the design stage.   Placing components geometrically generally happens after the topology is defined and the individual components are designed.   In this step, the relationship between the components is considered. Examples include spacing for thermal or electrical reasons, accessibility, weight distribution, available space, etc.   All these factors could bear on a substation design, for example.  

kBridge is Well-suited to Manage System Level Configuration

  • kBridge is based on declarative rules that translate functional requirements into calculated and generated engineering parts and their properties  

  • kBridge can model and configure functional elements using engineer-to-order configuration.  For many examples see our website.  

  • Because kBridge is not based on a master model, it has the flexibility and power to generatively configure components that are networked together in new and unique ways each time.  

  • And as part of this, it represents the topological relationships between the components and enables traversing the network to implement system-level rules

  • kBridge can represent each of the components as 2D elements as well as the connections.  This can be a 1-line diagram, a process flow diagram, or other schematic representation.

  • kBridge can also represent the 3D as-configured components and implement rules about the placement, layout, and spacing of the 3D elements for clearance, safety, or maintenance, etc.  

  • kBridge’s unique visual configuration capability enables the user to rearrange components easily, whether in 2D schematic mode, or in 3D space

  • Finally, kBridge enables any number of drawing sheets and document outputs, important for capturing as-built designs for future maintenance (especially important in regulated industries and building and construction), as well as for system documentation and renderings for visualization or sales requirements.  

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