Systems

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Our systems cover a vast range of applications and industries. We have delivered 750 projects over the past 19 years, at least half of which were systems.

They are usually low volume, often one-offs, that are managed as projects rather than product design, where route-to-market is the important criteria. Our systems are built to order, for specific applications, for individual clients.

Covering this broad range may sound difficult, and it is. However, the underlying principles remain the same across all industries; it is surprising how similar the technology can be in, what appears to be, totally different applications.
 

Project ManagementProcess_1

There are a number of approaches to project management, such as CMMI, Prince2 and Earned Value, which we are familar with, and which we generally follow.

The process offers all aspects from initial talks about requirements and expectations, through to acceptance and sign-off.

We have distilled these concepts and focused on simplicity of process by evolving a comprehensive internal Project Manual Manual.

With our extensive experience at managing projects, both in-house and on-site, we offer this as a service for clients.
 

Requirements Analsysis

Requirements Analysis is the process of documenting what the customer wants or, to put it another way, their expectations. Together with the Verification process, they form an integral part of our project management process, regardless of project size.

We use a number of techniques for this:

  • Feasibility Studies
  • Use Cases
  • Operational Concept

There are a number of tools that can be used:

  • A simple list accepted by everyone
  • Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM)
  • DOORS: often mandated in Defence but usually found to be too cumbersome

 

 

 

Requirements and Verification go together. We determine what is essential from what is a wish. Essential requirements will need verification. Items on a wishlist may be tested and recorded … but they do not need to pass, for verification of the system.
 

Design

We have a very strong design capability in software, electronics, optics and mechanical. To ensure this is targetted at our client’s expectations we use peer reviews and formal client reviews.

We do not try to re-invent the wheel, but use off-the-shelf equipment for our systems where possible. However we design and build custom items that would be difficult, or impossible, to put together from off-the-shelf parts.

The interfaces in test systems provide an example of this. When put together from off-the-shelf parts they are often complex, bulky, cumbersome, difficult to support and expensive. This is because they are designed for a wide range of use and so provide a lot of features that are not needed for the application.

We design these interfaces with only the required features, so they are smaller and cheaper – even for oneoffs – and a better fit, both technically and physically, for the application.
 

System Integration

The process we follow is:

  • Select and choose the appropriate equipment/instrumentation
  • Develop the software
  • Design and build the electronics needed
  • Design and manufacture mechanical jigs/frames/handlers where needed
  • Integrate these into a fully functional system
  • Document the results

 
The big advantage of having all the design capabilities in-house means that integration is seamless. All of these disciplines are managed by CPE so there is no debate over whose responsibility it is. Having it all under the one umbrella means it just gets done.
 

Verification & Sign-offv_model1

Verification is the process of providing objective evidence that the delivered system meets requirements.

We use the V model, illustrated on the right, which defines the stages and establishes the link between the requirements and verification. (Click on the diagram to expand)

This is supported with a full range of templates for Reviews Testing and Acceptance.
 

Support

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