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Systems Thinking for the Design of Complex Products

Systems Thinking for the Design of Complex Products

Led by Mario Felice, Ford Motor Company


It is 2019, and despite decades of software development and application within the automotive industry, simulation continues to mostly exist within organizational silos limited to small number of experts, is highly manual and at times slow to support the faster vehicle development time.

As complexity increases, the engineering challenges in modeling simulation compound and require a system level thinking approach. Automotive manufacturers are beginning to realize that a pervasive culture of systems thinking is required for their siloed engineers to successfully manage the multidisciplinary nature of many of today’s products, while also considering the complex, interacting business and operating environments in which they exist. While this has been common practice in the space satellite arena, automotive companies have only just begun to consider systems approaches. Furthermore, as product complexity and connectivity increase exponentially, intelligent simulation automation is even more essential.

The primary emphasis of simulation point tools is to accurately simulate complex phenomena, requiring multidisciplinary and multi-physics simulation automation and enterprise systems engineering data management.

A requirements-driven, systems-centric unified data model within an open, vendor-neutral, enterprise platform is a foundational building block. Such an approach supports multidisciplinary, multi-fidelity systems modelling and automation, extending the power of simulation to the broader product team which can be empowered to perform exponentially more simulations and depend less in physical testing.

Data modeling approach must be complemented by more effective enterprise-wide Simulation Process and Data Management (SPDM), foundational to achieving closed-loop traceability with requirements, test results, design data and product field data. This is an essential element of the digital thread architecture required to support an engineering culture that is powered by systems thinking.

About the Discussion Host 

Mr. Felice is currently Manager of the Powertrain NVH CAE Department at Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan (USA). He leads a large team of CAE engineers responsible to deliver powertrain NVH refinement with respect to Smoothness, Quietness and Sound Quality. Additionally, Mr. Felice is the Ford global Powertrain NVH CAE Technical Leader responsible for establishing common analytical methods and processes across all the Ford global engineering organizations. Mr. Felice has been employed with Ford Motor Company for 34 years. During this time he's held a number of positions specializing in engine and full powertrains. He holds degrees in Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Fairleigh Dickinson University (New Jersey) and Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan.