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Networking information defined by the standard is automatically entered into the design. (image: Mentor)

Mentor design tool simplifies J1939 development

The explosion of electronic functions on commercial vehicles is driving an expansion of vehicle networks, making network design and configuration an important factor in electronic architectures. Mentor has unveiled a model-based design tool that it says can improve network design efficiency by as much as 90%.

The Capital Systems Networks tool simplifies the creation of Controller Area Network (CAN) networks based on SAE J1939. The tool automatically handles all the standard’s addresses and commands, such as parameter group numbers (PGNs) and suspect parameter numbers (SPNs), freeing engineers from the time-consuming task of entering information manually. It also routes signals, trimming design time by up to 90%. Digitizing tasks and using digital models also lets engineers try different layouts for component and functions.

The tool augments Mentor’s Capital design software, which addresses electrical system and wiring harnesses. Wiring and network complexity have ballooned in recent years and are expected to grow as vehicles evolve to provide autonomous driving.

“Wiring harnesses are one of the most expensive systems on vehicles,” said Martin O’Brien, vice president and general manager of Mentor’s Integrated Electrical Systems Division. “To get autonomy, you need to add sensors, which can add about 40% to the wiring harness. There’s a huge weight and space problem with that much wiring.”

Digitizing networking information lets engineers try out a range of configurations, determining whether it’s more efficient to consolidate processors or partition processing power in sensors and other modules. Capital Systems Networks provides a generative design process for the electric and electronic architecture that lets engineers see how changes in one area impact other aspects of the design.

The tools can accept input from a range of sources including SysML and UML descriptions. Generated functional designs can be supplemented with J1939 signals stored in the library. These designs can be used to generate the electrical systems logic design, network and software architecture.

“Performance needs to be balanced against multiple costs,” O’Brien said. “Implementations need to be verified, electrical engineering content needs to be consolidated and the EE integration needs to be validated. You’re talking about hundreds of features and thousands of functions.”

Mentor was acquired by Siemens last year as part of a multi-billion-dollar expansion of its software business. Continue reading »