A model formulation approach for system support engineering

Al-Saidi, M 2014, A model formulation approach for system support engineering, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title A model formulation approach for system support engineering
Author(s) Al-Saidi, M
Year 2014
Abstract Organizations today face intense competitive pressure to do things better, faster and cheaper. This pushes organizations to improve their performance over time, while meeting (or catching up with) increased customer demands and competitor pressure. Classical techniques in asset management involve performance monitoring, process control and fault diagnosis techniques that aim to determine the limit of the asset’s service life. Theoretically, replacements should be made at the time when the asset is about to fail so that the full service value of the replaced components can be utilized. However, this is not possible as modern machine systems are of increasing complexity and sophistication. Many other factors govern the operation of the asset. Decisions such as asset replacement, upgrade or system overhaul are in many respects equivalent to a major investment, which is risk sensitive. A high value engineering complex system is expected to be in service for years. Therefore, in order to meet functional demand by the end users, the capability and efficiency of the system should keep increasing. In general, the more complex the systems become, better solutions in both technical and management domains is required.

Literature suggests that there is a need to develop a tool or a set of techniques that practitioners in the industry can apply to design support system for operating assets in order to maintain long term optimized performance and best return on investment. This tool should integrate industry domain knowledge to create and deliver a specific support solution for in-service assets, as the circumstance requires. At the moment, there is no generic framework or architecture available for practitioners to use. This leads to the following research question “Can industrial practitioners have generic architecture to simplify the development of such a system”? If the answer is yes; then how possible is it?”

This research proposes a validated answer for this important question and discusses the development of the system support engineering (SSE) generic architecture as a fundamental structure for providing a systematic modelling approach that enables industrial practitioners to design, implement and measure a support system performance. The development of such a structure is the result of combining both literature analysis and empirical work.

As a result of the above activities, a conclusion is reached that the architecture consists of three elements (product, process and people) in a business environment structured in three levels (Execution, Management and Enterprise). This model is called multi-level 3PE model.

The system support engineering approach aims to develop support systems that can sustain constant high performance. The essence of this approach is its ability to capture strategic planning and operation issues by:

•  Adapting a whole of systems approach to identify the support system’s requirements.

•  Providing a hierarchical structure of three management levels linking support system requirements in one level to requirements in other levels such that the system design can be traceable in the whole system.

As a result, operational and commercial issues are integrated in a seamless fashion in the support system.

Furthermore, the thesis presents a methodology which industrial practitioners can easily use to evaluate and calculate the performance of a support system. The methodology captures all system support factors in three basic elements, i.e. product process and people in a unified performance scoring process that can be analysed by simple mathematical equation to demonstrate the operational performance of the support system.

As main contribution of this research, a generic architecture has been created with the following characteristics:

•  Clearly identified requirements.

•  An overview of the behaviour vector of the model and clearly drawn relations between elements.

•  Captures the strategic decisions, inventions and engineering trade‚Äźoffs.

•  All activities associated with various phases of the effort at the level of elements in the system breakdown structure. 

•  Technical and commercial issues that are linkable from the maintenance and development (expansion) point of view.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
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Created: Wed, 07 Jan 2015, 10:02:00 EST by Keely Chapman
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