Platform Engineering Approach to the Electrical Systems Architecture Development Process 2011-01-2580
Until recently, the electrical systems architecture that connects hardware devices and their accompanying control components were not separately a part of formal certification mandates. This changed with the advent of the FAR Part25 Subpart H EWISi (Electrical Wire Interconnection Systems) mandate. Interestingly this mandate, like certain others, does not impose specific solution. Instead it provides a structure that outlines what must be accomplished from a variety of perspectives - safety, signal separation, part selection, etc. The designer has some flexibility on which decisions to make, but those decisions can have significant cross-domain impact, which in turn, have influence on the intended product performance.
What is needed is a method to design, verify and build virtually the entire electrical architecture with confidence that the best architecture is defined within the program constraints. In order to accomplish optimum results, design tradeoffs must be made in the context of the entire platform. The requirements for electrical platform engineering (EPE) COTS solutions are extensive and would seem to favor custom-built in-house software for electrical platform design and development. But increasingly, leading aerospace firms are turning to ground-breaking new solutions from COTS tool vendors, and discovering that these software products adapt readily to proprietary needs.
This paper explains how some of the challenges of the past are giving way to new solutions that capitalize on data-centricity and apply automated methods using design rules, constraints, and diagram generation. The paper advocates for a systematic “platform engineering” approach as a forward-looking solution for electrical systems architecture development.