Advanced systems engineering for control software as a prerequisite for flexible, adaptive cyberphysical production systems

Project Description

  • Control software development in machine and plant construction with Siemens platforms
  • Challenges due to historically grown control software (e.g., lack of clarity and maintainability)
  • Systematic refactoring of control software to improve reusability, maintainability, and quality

Control software in automated production systems - primarily implemented on Siemens platforms as the European market leader - must be maintainable for hundreds to thousands of variants of machines and plants over decades. This can only be realized efficiently with the help of a clean module structure. In reality, however, the implementation of new requirements often leads to uncontrolled software growth. In many cases, the software is not systematically evolved but is enlarged by extensions in the code to implement new requirements as quickly as possible—the result: historically grown, unmanageable legacy software that is difficult to maintain and reuse.
This is exactly the challenge that advacode addresses by developing methods that support the revision of existing code by means of refactoring and thus improving reusability. Software has become the decisive factor for a company's success and the differentiation of its products from those of its competitors.

For this purpose, the following research questions are addressed in advacode:

  1. How can aspects of code quality be evaluated, represented, and made comparable by analyzing complexity, code clones, and indirect dependencies?
  2. Which guidelines can be formulated to increase modularity and reusability of control software through targeted refactoring?
  3. How can targeted development of control software over decades be supported and the quality and development progress of the software quantitatively measured?
  4. How can modularization and creation of control software be supported in early phases by methods of systems engineering and the application of the concept of modular product architectures in a mechatronic environment?


Funded by Bayerische Staatsministerium für Wirtschaft, Landesentwicklung und Energie within the platform Zentrum Digitalisierung Bayern (ZD.B), supported by VDI/VDE/IT within the research program „Informations- und Kommunikationstechnik“