The development of complex mechatronics products (e.g. because of cross-domain functions) require close collaboration between multidisciplinary teams that are involved in the development process. Starting from the stakeholder requirements, the desired functions from a system are described in a top-down fashion. The realisation of a specific system function may require further sub-functions. These sub-functions might be realised by sub-systems (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Top-down approach with the distribution of the required sub-functions to the sub-systems (Husung et al. 2022a)

Sub-systems sometimes already exist (e.g. through previous product generations) and may well be used multiple times in multiple different products (e.g. a sensor is used in different measuring devices). The reuse of sub-systems descriptions containing information about the implementation of sub-functions is important because this reuse can contribute to increasing quality as well as saving time and resources in the development. The reuse of any given sub-system inside any system requires the integration of top-down (system) with the bottom-up (sub-system) descriptions (see Figure 2). A seamless integration of both (top-down and bottom-up) is only ensured by considering the reuse right from the start of descriptions of the sub-systems.

Figure 2: Interactions at the different levels of the system (Husung et al. 2022a) (expanded on the basis of (Pohl 2012))

The description and integration/ reuse of the sub-systems (bottom-up) inside multiple systems (top-down) is investigated in research projects using Model Based System Engineering (MBSE) approaches (Husung et al. 2022b; Zerwas et al. 2022). In MBSE, the information about the system (requirements, solution elements) and development related information (e.g. decisions) are captured in model descriptions with static and dynamic aspects. A main characteristic of these models is that these contain links between modelling elements that are realising different aspects (e.g. requirements view, structure view and solution view) of the model (i.e. representing the system/ a sub-system).

The research questions address the necessary meta-models of the sub-system descriptions as well as the approaches to realise the synchronisation between top-down and bottom-up way of working.
It can be shown that static aspects can be modelled and linked easily. As soon as dynamic behaviour has to be modelled in the sub-system models and linked to the superordinate system, considerable efforts can arise if the modelling did not keep into account the reuse aspects right from the start of modelling. Figure 3 shows as an example the modelling of system elements (SysML ports and value properties) and their linkage with behaviour elements. This modelling and linkage must be tailored appropriately to enable later integration of top-down with the bottom-up descriptions. In this context, a modelling approach was developed and validated based on sub-systems from precision engineering, which enables an appropriate linking of sub-systems along with dynamic behaviour modelling to the higher-level system architecture. Details can be found in this open access paper (Mahboob und Husung 2022) and this PhD thesis (Mahboob 2021).


Figure 3: Modelling approach for facilitating the reuse (Mahboob und Husung 2022)


Husung, S.; Weber, C.; Mahboob, A. (2022a): Integrating Model-Based Design of Mechatronic Systems with Domain-Specific Design Approaches. In: Proc. Des. Soc. 2, S. 1895–1904. DOI: 10.1017/pds.2022.192.

Husung, Stephan; Weber, Christian; Mahboob, Atif (2022b): Model-Based Systems Engineering: A New Way for Function-Driven Product Development. In: Dieter Krause und Emil Heyden (Hg.): Design Methodology for Future Products. Cham: Springer International Publishing, S. 221–241.

Mahboob, A.; Husung, S. (2022): A Modelling Method for Describing and Facilitating the Reuse of Sysml Models During Design Process. In: Proc. Des. Soc. 2, S. 1925–1934. DOI: 10.1017/pds.2022.195.

Mahboob, Atif (2021): Modelling and use of SysML behaviour models for achieving dynamic use cases of technical products in different VR-systems. Dissertation. Technische Universität Ilmenau, Ilmenau. Online verfügbar unter DOI: 10.22032/dbt.47179.

Pohl, Klaus (2012): Model-based engineering of embedded systems. The SPES 2020 methodology. Heidelberg: Springer.

Zerwas, Thilo; Jacobs, Georg; Kowalski, Julia; Husung, Stephan; Gerhard, Detlef; Rumpe, Bernhard et al. (2022): Model Signatures for the Integration of Simulation Models into System Models. In: Systems 10 (6). DOI: 10.3390/systems10060199.



Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Stephan Husung

Technische Universität Ilmenau
Department of
Mechanical Engineering
Product and Systems Engineering Group