Appropriate production and design methodologies have been developed and extended continuously, also there is advancement in the virtual development of products. The new approaches are focusing on the integration of challenging innovation of smart products into design methodology and product development.
The integration of engineering approaches of systems into the design methodology enabling cross-discipline product development and design is the main progress. Smart products are aiming at embedded intelligence, enabling products that react autonomously due to their communication with other smart products in a production environment.
To enable the production for the development of smart products an advanced approach for engineering is required. This approach is called Smart Engineering its goal is to engineer, design, and describe smart products. The main requirements consist of advanced engineering education, awareness of human acceptance, and advanced methods for the multidisciplinary development of the product. A vital task in Smart Engineering is the quantified and precise definition of behavior, states, and functionality of products. Smart Engineering requires a great knowledge of control logic, sensor technologies, actuator technologies, and communication protocols. Smart Engineering is based on the product’s state specification to obtain the description of the functional behavior execution of working procedures due to the received messages. After being triggered by both external and internal events, the received messages are sent.
Smart Engineering even expands system engineering by enlarging system borders to the production environment where the smart products operate and communicate. It is a fundamentally new challenge and feature for engineering to communicate between the smart products and their situative operation. To meet this challenge a great understanding of the products is necessary which needs appropriate sensors, actuator, and communication protocols. It is firmly required to understand the states of smart products as states dedicated to single products and corresponding states of multiple products in a production environment.
For example, a smart engineering scenario has been developed with LEGO Mindstorms. The scenario consists of two smart products which are a bottle and a robot. The robot will open the bottle. The bottle provides a display at the bottle top which shows the states and gathers information about the robot’s state. The robot is actively searched by the bottle to open its bottle top. The robot can navigate independently, but self-controlled by detection of objects and calculation of an appropriate path to a destination. This Smart Engineering task is an integration of a smart product that can process complex events and a smart product that is only able to process elementary events.
The approach of smart engineering introduces a method to dimension, design, and describe smart products based on a specification of states of products that are embedded in the functional phase of the process of product development. There is far advancement in design methodology and allows both a systematic approach to developing new products as well as appropriate methods to support development tasks in specific development phases. The new approach for the smart product’s description introduces states specification to obtain the description of functional behavior as well as the execution of working procedures. To enable appropriate product states, there is a basic systematic analysis of both sensors for communication and internet-based communication protocols.