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Concurrent Engineering Knowledge Management Architecture

Schubert, Daniel and Weiss, Andre and Kurowski, Sebbastian and Gurtuna, Ozgur and Prevot, Athur and Savedra-Criado, Gonzalo and Romberg, Oliver (2010) Concurrent Engineering Knowledge Management Architecture. In: IEEE Xplore. 16th International Conference on Concurrent Enterprising - ICE, 21. – 23. Juni 2010, Lugano, Swiss.

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Abstract

The present paper documents the development and application of a Knowledge Management (KM) architecture and tool, customized to the specific needs within the Concurrent Engineering (CE) scenario. The paper gives an overview and update on the recent development work, executed for ESA’s Concurrent Design Facility (CDF). Here, a tailored KM system for the specific needs of the CE design process has been created. The DLR research team within the system analysis department at the Institute for Space Systems in Bremen conducted an in-depth investigation of the KM awareness within the CE-environment and its participants, which marked the beginning of the research. A questionnaire was developed including 21 questions related to the knowledge capitalization effort within the CE environment at ESTEC. Within two distribution campaigns the questionnaire was sent out to over 100 CDF-engineers, experts and scientists, where 51 filled out questionnaires were received. The results of the questionnaire has been analyzed and displayed in the present paper. Furthermore, a detailed analysis of KM architectures of other institutions (e.g. NASA, JAXA) and KM tools (commercial and open source) with respect to the specific use in CE environment has been carried out. Seven different evaluation criteria were established in order to test the KM software tools for a possible CE deployment. Combining the CDF awareness survey with the KM tool/ architecture analysis, the different missing and existing KM capabilities within the CDF environment are derived and explained. So far ten missing KM elements could be identified that are useful for the CDF in order to store the knowledge, generated during CE sessions. The paper also gives an overview of the complete data model and the according taxonomy system to be implemented in the CDF for each study. This was done in order to define different study categories and to establish a meta-data system for the later development of the CDF KM prototype system. The developed KM architecture is divided into four major sections: Capturing, Organization, Distribution and Development of knowledge. Every section has several interface modules that are interacting with each other. The capture section organizes the interface towards the engineer and the procedure to submit knowledge towards the main KM system. Once knowledge is entered to the KM system the different knowledge contents have to be saved and stored, back-uped, and organized so that the various content items are linked in a semantic manner. These tasks are executed within the organize section. The distribution section basically deals with the delivery of knowledge towards the engineer. Search functions are the main features in this section. The development section gives the engineer the possibility to alter the knowledge in the KM system as well as to enhance & add new knowledge aspects to the existing knowledge. Additionally to these four sections, a fifth element is introduced: the Knowledge Unit (KU). The KU is placed in the center of the architecture as it is interacting with each of the elements. The Knowledge Unit is the smallest unit, where data can be stored to. Every knowledge package that is uploaded to the system is stored in a KU. The KU is the major element of the proposed KM system. Instead of developing an artificial intelligence to analyze available documents, the idea behind the KU is to ask the submitter (in our case the engineer) to add information about the knowledge, which he or she is uploading into the KM system. This procedure can refer to as giving information about information (or so-called Metadata). The challenging task to transfer tacit knowledge elements within CE studies (i.e. know-how & experience of skillful experts), which are usually applied and created during Round-Tables or Splinter-Meetings, requires new approaches in soft- and hardware support. The developed Tacit Information Catcher (TIC) module helps to capture tacit information/ knowledge. The TIC module is interlinked with both, a presenter cam and the webcams of each domain client server within the CDF. With this module PowerPoint presentations (e.g. final presentation) of the engineers can be recorded. In addition to it, the different slides are indexed. A special software code combines the PowerPoint slides with the spoken words (and video stream) of the expert. This way the later combined file is searchable through the distribution section. When watching the combined file the user can jump to a certain slide and the video stream also jumps to the point in time, when the presenter is explaining this particular slide. With this module often applied and critical decision-making processes can be captured by e.g. recording the discussions of trade-off tables. Another highlight of the KM system is the Domain Advancement Diagram (DAD) module, which allows documenting the design iterations during studies. The Graphical User Interface (GUI) of the DAD module is centred around the different versions of the Integrated Design Model (IDM) that are generated during different study sessions. The IDM inhabits all necessary information of the mission concept, including all technical parameters. A graphical timeline gives an overview of the changes, the IDM had to run through (for the selected study). Every parameter change is detected automatically by DAD and each expert can note reasons for the change. The DAD interface also depicts the changes and presents different notes, documents as well as trade-offs interlinked with the specific IDM version. Utilizing special ‘Active Linking’ algorithms, every CE session-step can be associated with corresponding Knowledge Units (KUs). In this context corresponding KUs means knowledge packages that were responsible to the changes that led to the IDM update (e.g. Trade-off, notes from splinter meetings). This way the different decision processes can be captured from one design iteration to another. The Graphical User Interface (GUI) is a key asset of the KM system, because it provides fast access to knowledge. During a CE-session most experts do not have the possibility to review extensive report-libraries regarding their relevant subsystem. Thus, accessing knowledge needs to be straightforward. Therefore, the implementation of innovations like tag-clouds, search widgets, active linkage and the so-called ‘Amazon-list’ form essential elements within the developed architecture. The described methods, comprised in the overall architecture, require a minimum of time effort and are therefore optimal to improve the already well established Concurrent Engineering process. The implementation plan of the developed architecture is a result of literature review and analysis of the questionnaire results administered to the Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) participants. It is designed as a practical set of suggestions covering the implementation related issues of the Knowledge Management (KM) architecture. Furthermore, as will be discussed in detail in the paper, supporting the IT implementation with a number of managerial innovations is also essential. In other words, the implementation plan is not just an IT solution, integrating hardware and software: the paper suggests developing new initiatives to increase the interaction between CDF participants and create a social environment, which can facilitate the cross fertilization and transfer of ideas. The paper emphasizes that KM is first and foremost a matter of interacting people. Technology should not be an end in itself, but an enabler, a facilitator to bringing people together. This way the intention is not to implement the whole architecture, but rather, start with a simple, but useful configuration and collect feedback from the users on a continuous basis to improve the usability, content and the overall evolution of the KM system. Decision making- and trade-off processes are the two most commonly identified areas where there seems to be a significant gap between the existing KM practices and the needs of the CDF participants. It is essential that the proposed KM system becomes a priority of the leadership of the CDF. The role of CE-Team Leaders is particularly important and their task is highly ambitious. They have to lead by example and convince their teams that contributing to and using a KM system are worthwhile efforts.

Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:Concurrent Engineering Knowledge Management Architecture
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Schubert, DanielDLR
Weiss, AndreDLR
Kurowski, SebbastianDLR
Gurtuna, OzgurTurquoise
Prevot, AthurTurquoise
Savedra-Criado, GonzaloESA
Romberg, OliverDLR
Date:2010
Journal or Publication Title:IEEE Xplore
Refereed publication:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:No
Status:Published
Keywords:Knowledge Management, Concurrent Design Process, Reusing Knowledge, Spacecraft, Concurrent Engineering Facility
Event Title:16th International Conference on Concurrent Enterprising - ICE
Event Location:Lugano, Swiss
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:21. – 23. Juni 2010
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W SY - Technik für Raumfahrtsysteme
DLR - Research area:Space
DLR - Program:W SY - Technik für Raumfahrtsysteme
DLR - Research theme (Project):W - Raumfahrzeugsysteme - Konzepte und Entwurf (old)
Location: Bremen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Space Systems > Systemanalyse Raumsegmente
Deposited By: Daniel Schubert
Deposited On:29 Nov 2010 07:08
Last Modified:29 Nov 2010 07:08

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