Safety-critical products keep commodities, vehicles, and people safe. As such, they must conform to well-defined design and testing standards to ensure they’re up to their designed tasks. Safety-critical products range from fire alarms to life support systems to passenger aircraft.  Every country, region, or territory has strict regulatory requirements that these products must meet before being sold on the market. 

Companies that develop safety-critical products use application lifecycle management (ALM) or product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions for product development. Many of these companies also use MathWorks’ MATLAB or Simulink for designing these products. Requirements Toolbox from MathWorks is a bridge between the ALM/PLM system and MathWorks products.

Requirements Toolbox for MathWorks

Product designers start their safety-critical product designs from a set of well-defined requirements. These requirements are captured in solutions that specialize in requirements management, such as IBM Engineering Requirements Management DOORS and Jama software. Engineers who work with MATLAB or Simulink prefer to manage and monitor requirements inside these products instead of working in a program like Excel. Thanks to Requirements Toolbox from MathWorks, they can do just that. Requirements Toolbox enables engineers to view requirements while inside the MATLAB or Simulink user interface.

This post discusses how Requirement Toolbox aids companies that use Simulink or MATLAB to design, test, and manufacture safety-critical products. The post will cover the importance of a single source of truth, requirements-based testing, traceability, and change management.

Maintaining a Single Source of Truth 

When designing safety-critical products, engineers need to ensure that product requirements are met throughout the design process. But ensuring requirements are met across solutions can be time-consuming and messy. Understandably, users want to maintain all requirements in one solution. When an organization has a single source of truth, everyone can work from the same set of requirements. This single source of truth ensures changes are only made in one location, which leads to traceability and accountability. 

That is where Requirements Toolbox comes in. Requirements Toolbox allows users to view requirements and other related functionalities inside MATLAB and Simulink. It enables users to import requirements from other sources into Simulink or MATLAB. They can also create new requirements in Requirements Toolbox and then export them to another solution that is used to manage requirements. In this way, Requirements Toolbox allows companies to maintain a single source of truth.

Conducting and Monitoring Requirements based Testing

All designers need to confirm that their designs meet product specifications. To meet strict product standards and regulations, manufacturers must conduct and monitor requirements-based testing. MATLAB and Simulink have functionalities that allow designers to perform specific tests against product requirements.

Users can connect MATLAB or Simulink tests to Requirements Toolbox. However, users may also need to run tests on product requirements that are not located in MATLAB or Simulink. To accomplish this, Requirements Toolbox has application programming interfaces (APIs) that support external testing tools, which adds further ease to the process.  

Users can easily see if all product requirements have associated tests within the external testing tools. Once the tests are executed, users can see how the design performed against the requirements. With Requirements Toolbox, designers can track all requirements tests and verification statuses in one location inside MATLAB or Simulink.

Maintaining Traceability 

Maintaining traceability is crucial when designing safety-critical products. Traceability allows companies to quickly identify the origin of any problems that arise in the design process. This prevents them from having to sink time and resources into finding the root cause. Additionally, several standards mandate traceability, such as those set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. With traceability, manufacturers can quickly identify the source of the problem and fix it. Best of all, manufacturers can find permanent solutions to prevent the problem from recurring.

Requirements Toolbox facilitates traceability through its traceability matrix feature. This feature allows engineers to monitor requirements, tests, and validation on one dashboard. Users can get to any specific requirement for a project and see all the activities and dependencies. The traceability matrix makes it easier for manufacturers to identify and solve problems and meet standards.

Facilitating Requirements Change Management

Engineers and designers know that product requirements change all the time, even up to the last moment. And even for safety-critical products. Prevention of these changes is desirable, but not always possible. So engineers must be able to adapt and respond to shifting requirements.

Requirements Toolbox facilitates a quick response to such changes. First, when changes are made in the main requirement authoring tool, engineers will be notified inside MATLAB or Simulink. Then engineers can modify the product in MATLAB or Simulink accordingly. They can validate the products immediately to see how the changes in requirements impacted the design. The connectivity between Requirements Toolbox and the primary requirements management solution ensures that the requirements are always up-to-date and accurate inside MATLAB or Simulink.

Designing Design of Safety-Critical Products inside MATLAB or Simulink

Companies that develop safety-critical products must meet strict standards and regulations. Manufacturers have to maintain consistent product requirements through the design process, keep track of product test results, and maintain requirements traceability—all while remaining poised for last-minute design changes. Requirements Toolbox facilitates all of these, ensuring that manufacturers have the capabilities they need to design better products in MATLAB or Simulink.

With Requirements Toolbox, organizations maintain a single source of truth for all product requirements. Engineers can easily keep track of all tests that validate product requirements. Manufacturers are able to maintain product traceability for problem tracing and to meet government standards. Engineers can easily manage design changes up to the last minute through easy requirements management and quick product validation. Requirements Toolbox enables manufacturers to create safety-critical products that meet all design requirements with more ease than ever before.