High value added products is the only segment of the electronics sector in which the
UK is likely to remain competitive and where manufacturing will be retained within
this country. Even though UK companies have a competitive advantage in this market,
they also face a range of new challenges including demanding customer requirements,
constantly changes conditions and highly complex products and technologies.
Consequently, effective product and process (re-) design that encourages continuous
improvement and innovation to satisfy highly demanding customers has become vital.
Additionally, support to undertake design in an agile manner while managing
complexity at the same time is required.
The research described in this thesis addresses this problem by developing a
software tool (i.e. INMOST – INtegrated MOdelling and Simulation Tool) that support
agile design. This support is provided through modelling, simulation and root cause
analysis (i.e. the functional modules within the tool. The functionality of the software is
enabled through two novel concepts proposed. The first one is an integrated modelling
framework that combines different modelling techniques in a single structure to enable
more complete and realistic models. The second is a Hierarchical Object Oriented
Simulation Structure (HOOSS) that unifies generalisation and customisation ideas to
facilitate the utilisation of INMOST in an industrial context.
The functionality of INMOST was tested wit three case studies. The case studies
proves the capability of the software to be easily adopted in an industrial context, to
provide predictive feedback to identify potential problems, and to complete the design
cycle by providing decision support to solve identified problems. In this way, the
compliance of the software with the domain requirements and needs is demonstrated.
The research is completed by providing recommendations for the adoption of INMOST
in industry and clear establishing clear directions for future work.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.