XLDyn™ comes as two additional tabs (XLSE and XL1D) in the Microsoft® Ribbon. The two tabs contain various tools for creating requirements blocks, requirements verifying blocks, and other elements used in Model-Based System Engineering. You can insert links to mathematical models and click them to simulate systems behavior. If you need to verify requirements with tools outside of Microsoft® Excel environment, e.g. by running tests, you can electronically send out work requests, and XLDyn™ can help you track those work orders. XLDyn™ will even update the SysML diagrams with the latest results.
XLSE currently supports block definition (bdd), parametric (par), requirement (req), package (pkg), and internal block (ibd) diagrams. Verification blocks automatically assign parameters to cell locations, which can in turn invoke cell equations and user-defined macros. Verification blocks can also reference 1D multi-physics (XL1D) dynamic models, worksheets and third party simulation models that have been integrated with XLSE. These internal verifiers can be executed directly from the SysML diagram. External verifiers, i.e. blocks that cannot use math models in the workbook to calculate MoE, can automatically generate work request emails to assigned parties. External verifiers include third party simulations and test data. Responses containing results can automatically update status in the system requirements table.
XLSE provides a number of tools to help you create and manage SysML diagrams and modeling elements. For example, Dialog boxes and utility functions simplify the modeling process, and make tasks intuitive, simple, and easy to do. As Excel objects, diagrams can be moved and copied/pasted anyplace in the workbook. The touchup tool can be used to adjust shape size and alignment with one click. In addition XLSE supports the use of templates for configuring systems and subsystems, this means you don't have to start from blank model each time. Templates can be edited and tailored, for example, for specific instances of a product line. XLSE also provides tools such as FMEA, DOE, and domain mapping that are commonly used in systems engineering
A full-function dynamic systems modeling environment, XL1D supports components in mechanical, heat transfer, electrical analog, controls/signal processing, and reliability domains. Like other dynamic systems modeling environment, you can create a system model by using pre-defined components, perform simulation, and create attractive, presentation-ready charts all within the workbook environment. What sets us apart is that component properties can be linked to Microsoft® Excel cells. With this unique feature, you can, for example, dynamically change a component property using a worksheet formula. You can query a product database for component properties and write the results into a cell. And best of all, XL1D models can be used as a SysML verifier block in your total system model. Another feature that's unique to XL1D is the ability to use a performance model, i.e., one created with signal and physical components, to calculate system reliability. There is no need to create a reliability block diagram or a fault tree.
XLDyn In An Enterprise Environment
There are several methods available to access cloud stored data and files:
- Microsoft® SharePoint® - Using this technology you would create a master workbook for a team project. The workbook is saved to a SharePoint® server and someone will decide who has access to workbook. Certain team members can use their desktop Excel to simultaneously work on the team workbook, typically over an intranet connection. Web parts can be defined and created for other team members who only need to view portions of the team workbook. Those web parts can be accessed by using the Office Online. Note: Office Online does not support macros, but is ideal for managers who only need to view the project or program status.
- SharePoint® supports check-in/check-out of a file. Click here for details. The SharePoint check-in/check-out applies to the whole workbook, which is different from the XLSE's worksheet level check-in/check-out capability
- Excel Data Connector - Excel provides connectivity to commonly used data sources. As shown in the figure, in addition to Access, Web, and Text, Excel can also connect to SQL server and other services. Data connection are enterprise and content specific, so configuration of data connector is organization dependent. Keep in mind, however, that data needed are often in the form of tables or arrays, so they can be easily mapped to Excel ranges. XLDyn, LLC can help create a company specific data connection for you.
XLDyn can be used in the development of virtually any product. A development project typically starts with a handful of people breaking down a product's requirements. These can range from performance, financial, and physical to non-functional requirements such as governmental and manufacturing. Even a simple product can generate hundreds of requirements. To use XLDyn effectively, those requirements should be decomposed and documented in a Microsoft® Word document. The Word document needs to be prepared with a certain format, as shown in picture to the right. If you have your requirements in another system such as IBM DOORS® the Word document can be exported. XLDyn will parse the Word document to automatically create the System Requirements Table (SRT) which is a snapshot summary of the overall project status. After the requirements hierarchy is loaded into XLDyn, you can easily create the complete SysML requirements model in very little time. The SRT will be updated automatically when design parameters are changed. We try to make XLDyn as general as possible so it can be used out of the box. However, if you need specific features, or simply need someone to guide you through the implementation process, please contact us using the contact form on the FAQ/Contact Us page.
Third Party Simulation Programs
For measure of effectiveness (MoE) that can be calculated with a lumped-parameter dynamic model the user has a choice of using XL1D, the 1D simulation program that's part of XLDyn, or Altair's solidThinking Activate. To use the latter a separate license from Altair is required. solidThinking Activate is similar to XL1D in basic functionality, but it's also able to import models from other popular lumped-parameter simulation programs in the market. Click here for more information about solidThinking Activate. Other third-party applications such as Simulink can also be easily integrated into the XLDyn environment.