Managing Inter-Model Inconsistencies in Model-Based Systems Engineering: Application in Automated Production Systems Engineering
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To cope with the challenge of managing the complexity of automated production systems, model-based approaches are applied increasingly. However, due to the multitude of different disciplines involved in automated production systems engineering, e.g., mechanical, electrical, and software engineering, several modeling languages are used within a project to describe the system from different perspectives. To ensure that the resulting system models are not contradictory, the necessity to continuously diagnose and handle inconsistencies within and in between models arises. This article proposes a comprehensive approach that allows stakeholders to specify, diagnose, and handle inconsistencies in model-based systems engineering. In particular, to explicitly capture the dependencies and consistency rules that must hold between the disparate engineering models, a dedicated graphical modeling language is proposed. By means of this language, stakeholders can specify, diagnose, and handle inconsistencies in the accompanying inconsistency management framework. The approach is implemented based on the Eclipse Modeling Framework (EMF) and evaluated based on a demonstrator project as well as a small user experiment. First findings indicate that the approach is expressive enough to capture typical dependencies and consistency rules in the automated production system domain and that it requires less effort compared to manually developing inter-model inconsistency management solutions.