Introducing traceability and consistency checking for change impact analysis across engineering tools in an automation solution company: an experience report

Andreas Demuth; Roland Kretschmer; Alexander Egyed; Davy Maes

2016 IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME), 2016

In today's engineering projects, companies continuously have to adapt their systems to changing customer or market requirements. This requires a flexible, iterative development process in which different parts of the system under construction are built and updated concurrently. However, concurrent engineering is quite problematic in domains where different engineering domains and different engineering tools come together. In this paper, we discuss experiences with Van Hoecke Automation, a leading company in the areas of production automation and product processing, in maintaining the consistency between electrical models and the corresponding software controller when both are subject to continuous change. The paper discusses how we let engineers describe the relationships between electrical model and software code in form of links and consistency rules, and how through continuous consistency checking our approach then notified those engineers of the erroneous impact of changes in either electrical model or code.