E-WorkBook Case Study: A major European aerospace manufacturer
Designing, developing and producing aircraft engines for both military and civilian use.
Its Engine Management Group (EMG) develops algorithms for the monitoring and control of turbojet engines, and consists of team members from across multiple group companies involved in the engine integration process. The algorithms are managed by the EMG and deployed on the ground in the global maintenance application as well as in embedded systems in the field.
The EMG was looking to replace its legacy Document Management platform, based on Lotus Notes, for managing the algorithm/program development process. It sought a platform that would interact with program datasets, enabling easy handling of related information. At the same time it must ease management of the validation process, including the execution of code modules and capture of output needed to write automatic statistical test reports.
The Group also faced problems managing version control of Matlab modules used in engine management & testing. The platform was also required to maintain a store of Matlab code modules and enable their reuse over the long term.
They wanted greater control of data security and more granular version management, without compromising the ability to share and query information where desired.
Discussions with IDBS revealed that the challenges in the company’s R&D data environment parallel those in IDBS’ established market for
- Data capture over time
- Long-term data retention and re-use
- Controlled data access
- Regulatory oversight
- Pre-signing of protocols
- Instruction sheets
- Standard-compliant secure electronic signatures
- Data sharing, query & reporting
The company recognized that E-WorkBook, with its built-in database-backed multidimensional spreadsheet & charting technology, offered the ideal platform for these data management needs.
With its in-line project-based view of data in multiple formats, E-WorkBook enabled intuitive data management, whilst the sophisticated access control left users and user groups confident in their ability to control what information they shared, and which individuals were permitted to modify each part of the data.
During the implementation phase, IDBS consultants configured E-WorkBook to automate data links with Matlab. Overall, implementation involved defining a data structure and data dictionary, and configuring the interface and workflow templates and external system links.
Leveraging IDBS’ inventory of templates, the solution delivered was 50% off-the-shelf and 50% designed-specifically-for-the project. Compared to custom development projects, E-WorkBook implementation projects are easy to resource, fast and bug-free, and the results are easy to maintain.
The project realized many benefits for the end user and reviewer. Matlab modules, test results and documentation are now held in the same repository for seamless and consistent access.
Version control and security are now effective, enabling full traceability and confidence in the results.
Reporting has been streamlined. All reports are generated in a consistent format, and through fast, efficient queries, breaking the tyranny of cut-and-paste and eliminating associated errors.
Benefits for contributors & reviewers:
- Reports available with a single click
- Structured exchange with module users saves time
Benefits for end users:
- Single repository for all modules
- Reports are updated on a daily basis
- Modules can be run by those unfamiliar with Matlab
- Team communication and project management are simplified
E-WorkBook’s event-by-event audit trail of all data additions and edits has given users on both sides the security of knowing that they will always be able to definitively confirm the provenance of all source data, commentary and analysis.
Because E-WorkBook stores externally generated files (for example Word & Excel) in native format, the company knows that not only can it refer to past information, but also that it will have the original source material available as a basis for further development.
The company has benefitted from a whole new level of functionality in E-WorkBook’s full-text and annotation searching capability, where previously they only had the use of restricted, labour-intensive keyword searching.
With information captured as it is generated, and generated in accordance with workflows designed to exactly fit the business’s needs, reports that formerly involved days-long compilation of data from disparate sources are now available at the touch of a button.
Building on the initial roll-out in R&D, the customer is now expanding the use of E-WorkBook to its Quality, Testing and Maintenance operations, and looking to leverage new communications technologies to enable the collection of engine performance data from the field in real time.