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June 7, 2021

How to Design a Complex System With Model-Based Systems Engineering


The benefits of using simulation early and often in the product development process are clear. You can verify requirements and begin studying and exploring design alternatives before prototyping and investing time in designs that ultimately won’t meet requirements. What may not be clear is how to integrate all the simulation tools that different engineering teams use during the product development process.

Without that integration, you can’t verify requirements and fully evaluate trade-offs among performance, cost and risk. How do you know the larger ramifications of making each design change? Manual code execution and the use of ad-hoc scripts is slow and error prone. Using manual processes is asking for trouble, especially for more complex products where one bad decision could be the difference between success and failure.

Open Models Shut Down Inefficiency

To help address such challenges, Ansys has acquired Phoenix Integration, Inc., the developer of ModelCenter, the premier software for enabling model-based engineering (MBE) and model-based systems engineering (MBSE).

MBE is a holistic approach to product development that relies on digital models to drive all engineering activities – it begins with the definition of system requirements and continues throughout the product life cycle. It enables engineers to understand interactions and synergies between engineering subsystems and how design decisions for one part or assembly affect the behavior of the complete system.

MBSE uses a systems architecture model to manage complexity and to act as the single source of truth for describing an ever-evolving system design. ModelCenter allows users to link the systems model with multi-disciplinary analysis workflows to verify requirements and optimize the system design.

System MOdel (SySML) - ModelCenter MBSE Bridges the Gap System engineers and domain engineers don’t always speak the same language. ModelCenter and Ansys Minerva bridge the gap.


The ModelCenter software suite is a vendor-neutral software platform for creating and automating multi-tool workflows, optimizing product designs and enabling MBSE. ModelCenter combined with Ansys Minerva makes MBE possible by giving engineers the ability to:

  • Create and maintain a library of analysis models and engineering workflows
  • Connect these workflows and analysis models with requirements and descriptive system models
  • Automatically execute the workflows across different computers and operating systems
  • Perform multi-run trade studies and ask “what-if” questions
  • Visualize the design space and find the best designs
  • Archive, manage and share the resulting data and metadata.
  • Ensure traceability, interoperability and enterprise deployment

With the ModelCenter software suite and Ansys Minerva, engineering teams can capture, organize and share processes, models, input data, and the results and conclusions generated during the engineering design and analysis process. That information not only saves time and direct costs, it also allows engineers to gain valuable insights at a system level that can help organizations avoid liability exposure, product failures and recalls.

Tie Tools Together With MBSE

Engineering teams use many different tools during the product design and development process, spanning different domains and disciplines. Not all of those tools were designed with an open platform methodology. ModelCenter connects those tools from different vendors into a workflow that provides visibility across the process, enabling organizations to reduce development costs, improve engineering efficiency, stimulate innovation and design more competitive products.

“Companies across industries are benefitting from process integration and MBSE through improved communications, increased product quality and heightened productivity across their engineering teams,” said Shane Emswiler, senior vice president of Ansys, via a press release. “Acquiring market leader Phoenix Integration will complement our acquisition of Dynardo in the process integration and design optimization space, and expand our capabilities in providing customers with strong MBE and MBSE offerings to further our pervasive engineering strategy. I am excited for Phoenix Integration to join the Ansys team.”

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