Opus Suite 2023
Systecon’s constant effort and dedication in providing world leading tools for analysis-driven Life Cycle Management relies on decades of field experience as well as continuous development and support of Opus Suite. The outcome are regular releases with brand new features and possibilities, as well as improvements to existing functionalities. Below follows the main news from the last year of research and development – all available in version 2023 of Opus Suite.
SIMLOX has now the possibility of presenting fine-grained results for tasks completed during the simulation. These results offer a whole new level of insight into the workload on the support organization, giving additional understanding and analytical capabilities. It also facilitates the understanding and verification of the input model.
Task results are available per combination of task, event, material and time interval. New reports are added and can be configured to provide details, or aggregated results, across all these dimensions.
Task results are obtained per default, but if desired, it is possible to switch off the collection of these results to reduce the need of memory and decrease the size of the output file.
- Downtime contributors
With SIMLOX it is possible to analyze combinations of failures that have contributed to a system going down. This is especially interesting for systems that include redundancies, i.e. models with a Functional Breakdown. The new results are presented in the report, both as values over time and as totals over the entire simulation.
- Operational mode degradation contributors
The prioritized order in which a system degrades in terms of operational modes is described as an input to the simulation in SIMLOX. Now, results are available showing to what extent certain failures contributes to this degradation. These new results are provided in the report, both as values over time and as totals over the entire simulation.
- Maintenance without replacements
With Opus Suite it is now possible to associate failures, or PM, to any level of the product breakdown. This means that you can connect events directly to a subsystem or a breakdown element even if it is not realized by an item. A typical example is a test procedure on a subsystem. Such an event will affect the system readiness and may require maintenance resources and/or facilities, but it does not require any subitem replacement.
- Usage per subsystem or component
You can now model separate utilization for specific breakdown elements. This feature makes it easy to handle situations where components or subsystems are operated differently depending on what system it is installed in, or where in a system the component is installed. The enhancement is another step in our ambition to support models of composite systems, as it means that Opus Suite now allows detailed descriptions of the operations for each subsystem. This functionality builds on the ability to set a usage rate per component, which is used to scale the occurrences of all events for the specified subsystem or breakdown element. In the simulation tool SIMLOX it is also possible to detail the usage per operational mode without the need of combining this with a functional breakdown (FBD). This makes the functionality more flexible and applicable in additional modeling scenarios.
- Resupply during mission for onboard stations
In SIMLOX it is now possible to model scenarios where onboard stations can be resupplied while the system is still on mission. As an example this functionality makes it possible to model scenarios where systems are not fully shut down when they reside at their home base. In other words, even if the system is not “out” operating, some of its subsystem might still be powered on and possibly generate failures.
- Parallel replacement tasks
Within OPUS10 it is now possible to select whether replacements of multiple items due to a single maintenance event are performed in parallel (simultaneously) or in series (sequentially). The choice is made simply by setting an input control parameter to Yes or No. This option is added to reflect reality in a better way and further aligns the model assumptions between OPUS10 and SIMLOX.
- New results for number of maintenance events per subsystem
In Opus Suite, subsystems are modeled as a specific type of breakdown element. This makes the usage of subsystems in a model both compact and more resourceful. Within OPUS10 and SIMLOX, new reports are now available to display results on the number of repairs and preventive maintenance events for each such subsystem. In addition, SIMLOX also has the possibility to present the number of damages per subsystem and in OPUS10 the results are available in the interactive result table as well.
- Enhanced default profiles for self-supported systems
It is possible to create simple operational profiles in SIMLOX in a very quick and easy way. This feature has been improved even further by the additional functionality of creating randomly distributed missions for systems with onboard capabilities. The perhaps biggest consequence of this feature is that the results from an OPUS10 model with self-supported systems can be simulated and studied in more detail using SIMLOX with minimal effort.
Generalized functional breakdown modeling
The functional breakdown (FBD) capabilities have undergone some major improvements. The main enhancement is the possibility to construct functional breakdowns that do not strictly follow the product breakdown. First, this makes the modeling more straight-forward and compact since you only need to consider the parts that are included in the FBD. Second, you may now construct functional relations between elements from different branches of the product breakdown – something that has not been possible before.
The graphical support in the FBD-view has also been improved. The view is now able to graphically depict serial redundancies that are implicitly created. With this update, it is possible to see the complete functional breakdown, and not just the explicitly modeled functional blocks.
Last, but not least, the FBD-view is now available in OPUS10 as well.
To learn more about the functional breakdown model, we recommend going through the new tutorials available with the latest installation package. See the user documentation (help-file), section “Modeling Examples”.
- Enhanced model for robbing
Robbing is an alternative way of trying to reduce system down time in case of item shortage. A missing item can be robbed (taken) from another system that is inoperable due to waiting for other replacement items. Robbing is only considered if it speeds up the process of getting the robber system ready while simultaneously not delaying the victim.
In the default setting, robbing is not allowed. To enable robbing, the potential victims are given specific tasks used for the robbing replacement. The robbing activities are now modeled as separate tasks which gives a lot of flexibility since they then may have different duration and resource requirements compared to the standard replacement task.
- Initial state for systems and items
The concept of initial state has now been introduced in SIMLOX. With this feature it is possible to define a state in terms of age for systems and items at the start of the simulation. The initial state can be defined for both items installed in a system and items in stock. It is also possible to define initial states for systems and items that are added at a later point in the simulation through a transfer into the scenario. The initial state functionality is, at the moment, primarily used to determine the time until next scheduled event (PM).
- Graphical support for maintenance strategy per item
Opus Suite now has a smart graphical representation of the maintenance strategy per item. This is achieved through a new color scheme for the item-nodes in the product breakdown structure trees of OPUS10 and SIMLOX.
This new feature is more than just a representation of an item type since it takes all aspects of the maintenance strategy into consideration. For an item that is always rectified, the previous, yellow, color is still used. If the item is discarded, a blue color is applied and if the item is sometimes rectified and sometimes discarded, the item node turns green. Items without any maintenance strategy defined is represented with a white color which often indicates that some data is missing for this item.
- Additional time dependent input data
In previous versions of SIMLOX it has been possible to define points in times when the failure rates for specific components change. This feature has now been extended, and generalized, to include multiple additional modeling parameters. Parameters like task durations, lead times, reorder sizes and time until functional loss can now be altered during the simulation scenario. With this feature it is easy to reflect situations where, for example, the maintenance organization is expected to be modified at a certain point in time..
- Aligning the concept of "criticality" - introducing “functional loss”
Previous versions of SIMLOX made use of the concept "critical" events. To sort out some ambiguities, this has now been replaced by the concept of “functional loss”. This functionality is used to describe to what extent the operation and maintenance of the system is influenced by a certain event. Think of a warning lamp in your car. Even though it is lit, you are often still able to drive the car and you probably will not have to take it to the workshop right away. With this improvement, it is not only possible to model for how long you can expect to continue the operations after a failre, but also to define whether the failing component continues to generate failures or not. Another new ability is a setting that controls whether maintenance is required before the next mission can be started.
In OPUS10 the “criticality factor” has been replaced with something called “probability for system effectiveness impact”. The interpretation is however the same as in previous versions, and the factor is still used as the probability that an event actually influences the operation of the systems.
- Additional user guidance and tutorials
As you probably know, the installation of the Opus Suite comes with an extensive user documentation that can be interactively invoked from any part of the tools. This user guide, or “help”, does not only contain descriptions of all input and output but also includes content like scenario descriptions and explanations of calculation/simulation procedures. Another important, and appreciated, part of the documentation is the section with “Modeling Examples”. The purpose of these examples is to introduce certain parts of the model by compact tutorials with user guidance through text and illustrations, as well as complementary input files. These input files are available on your computer upon installation in the folder \Public Documents\Systecon. Look for the current version of the tool and go to the sub-folder \Demo\Modeling Examples.
Now, a whole new set of new tutorials for SIMLOX are available. In particular:
- Operational mode priorities
- Shifts, including “Night maintenance”
- Subsystem results (available also for OPUS10)
- Improved control of automatic conversion
Significant improvements have been done to manage the migration of input files from older versions of the Opus Suite. As always, existing files can be opened and automatically converted to the latest version. However, a new feature is the ability to control this procedure in detail when going from a file that is created in a version with the old data model, i.e. versions prior to 2020. All settings are available from a dedicated dialog and the functionality is described in detail in the user documentation.