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Bringing Innovations faster and more cost-effective to market

“Hamilton Medical AG, headquartered in Bonaduz, Switzerland, is a leading provider of high quality ventilation solutions for intensive therapy and patient transportation. The technologically advanced products are developed in Switzerland by approximately 30 employees. To meet the increasing market demands, Hamilton Medical decided in 2003 to introduce a platform strategy, standardizing the development environment and – at the same – to employ the Model Driven Development approach with Rhapsody® from IBM.“

Hamilton Medical relies on Model Driven Development (MDD) with IBM Rhapsody® for developing their intelligent ventilation solutions. Thanks to the direct coupling of design and code, the constantly growing challenges in software development are addressed more effectively and development productivity as well as agility have been increased.

Model Driven Development with IBM Rhapsody – at the example of Hamilton Medical AG

The requirements for the software development at Hamilton Medical AG have increased markedly over the past years. The growing market demand for innovations and additional functionalities, the high-quality requirements for the devices, increasing cost pressure, faster time-to-market cycles and restrictive regulatory standards within the industry have massively risen the complexity of product development. At the same time, the role of software has grown ever more important.

Hamilton Medical AG, headquartered in Bonaduz, Switzerland, is a leading provider of high quality ventilation solutions for intensive therapy and patient transportation. The technologically advanced products are developed in Switzerland by approximately 30 employees. To meet the increasing market demands, Hamilton Medical decided in 2003 to introduce a platform strategy, standardizing the development environment and – at the same – to employ the Model Driven Development approach with Rhapsody® from IBM.

Variant management & networked communication

The need for increasing product variety reinforces this trend, says Gion Durisch, Head of Software Development with Hamilton Medical: “Today’s range of ventilators includes numerous devices that are optimized for use in intensive care units, for the transport in vehicles, airplanes or helicopters, or can work in special environments, e.g. near MRIs. The life span of these devices is unchanged from 10-15 years; over this period of time they must be maintained regularly and provided with software updates. In addition, the inter-connectedness of devices and, as a result, the number of interfaces is increasing. They interact with other monitoring or information systems in the hospital or are integrated in third-party systems for specific therapies. With regards to the software development this means that we must provide a significantly broader software scope for a much larger number of different devices.”

Bringing the functionalities faster to the devices

Given this increasing complexity, the platform strategy and standardization of the development environment turns out to be highly valuable. “On the one hand, the platform architecture leads to an acceleration in the development, which is an important competitive factor for an innovative leader such as Hamilton Medical. Thanks to the reusability of know-how, components and modules, we need to develop a new feature just once. Then we can deploy it to different ventilators. Thus innovations can be implemented and brought to the markets more cost-effectively… even in a regulatory environment”, says Gion Durisch.

Improved overview thanks to coupling of design and code

On the other hand, the benefits of the platform strategy can be exploited even better thanks to the object-oriented approach and MDD with Rhapsody®. MDD ensures the coupling of design and code. New functionalities can be developed based on models and subsequently the code is generated from these models. As a result, design and code are always in sync. For Hamilton Medical, MDD and Rhapsody® have thus become essential factors for the consistency and quality of the generated code. They enable them to keep the increasing complexity under control and keeping track of things, even though an increasing number of developers are involved in the projects. “In doing so, we also protect the internal know-how and optimize our knowledge transfer. Likewise, the introduction of new employees has become much easier thanks to MDD and Rhapsody®,” adds Andreas Anderegg, Senior Software Engineer R&D.

Systematically exploiting efficiency potentials

New releases or updates of the development tools used to result in substantial expenditures since the generated code for safety-relevant products must be tested with each change. Considering this, Hamilton Medical’s development strategy proved to be of special value: Thanks to re-use of software, testing costs have been reduced distinctly. “Especially for further development of existing products and maintenance work we benefit from our platform strategy and MDD in a quick and focused manner,” says Gion Durisch. “However, we still have to close the gap between our development with MDD and model-based testing. Until now, the high migration efforts have prevented us from doing so.” According to Gion Durisch the variant management is another important subject to be addressed. “At present, this issue is solved by means of our own approach and by using Rhapsody® as much as possible. In view of the increasing diversity of products and versions it is our future goal to develop new functionalities – whenever reasonable – via MDD … in fact for our entire product range.”

The importance of training

Hamilton Medical’s development teams generally enjoy introductory trainings, including refresher courses in object-oriented development, tool training with Rhapsody® or in-depth courses in UML. On a regular basis they also attend Rhapsody® User Group Days organized by EVOCEAN. “The impact of such events on our employees’ efficiency and motivation may not be underestimated,” says Durisch. “In order to have this executed professionally and efficiently, we are pleased to rely on EVOCEAN for their support.”

Used technologies

Before Project

UML Tool

none

After Project

UML Tool

Rhapsody

Used technologies

Before Project After Project
UML Tool none Rhapsody

Customers about our services

Schindler Elevator Ltd.

„Seamless integration of the development environment is one of our critical success criteria. Model Driven Development with Rational Rhapsody®allows us to generate the code for the target platform direct from the UML model. Integrating the debugger saves us enormous amounts of time in developing complex, embedded real-time applications. Thanks to EVOCEAN's support, today we can use this tool efficiently."

Juan Carlos Abad

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„Even if the change to Rhapsody required at first additional investment and effort – we have never regretted our decision. The fully automatic code generation from the model makes our life easier!“

Andreas Dubach

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„Thanks to the fully automatic code generation with Rhapsody® we could accelerate the software development.“

Thomas Nyffenegger

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„Employing our platform strategy and Model Driven Development with IBM Rhapsody® enables us to bring our innovations rapidly to numerous ventilation solutions.“

Gion Durisch

Head of Software Development

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„Model Driven Development with Rational Rhapsody® was a critical success factor for developing inspiro within the required schedule and market needs. Thanks to EVOCEAN's support, we were able to implement the tool quickly and apply the methodology effectively."

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„Now the advantages of our solid foundation work will have a large impact. A model is easy to adapt and maintain and new functions can be integrated very fast. In combination with the automatic code generation and testing we now will be strikingly faster… with a consistent high quality. Today we save time and money – not least thanks to IBM Rational Rhapsody!"

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„We would repeat our decision to choose Rhapsody® at any time. The strikingly improved efficiency, higher quality, and flexibility plus reusability of models make any adverse details negligible. Today we develop more machines with fewer resources in less time."

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Head of Product Development

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„The direct coupling of design and code with Rhapsody helps us managing the complexity of our products more easily, as design and code remain consistent in the long term.“

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Senior Software Engineer

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“Our vision was to know at all times in which process phase a change is.”

Michael K. Steinhöfel-Cordova

Head of Quality Management

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„Starting to use Rational Rhapsody®without coaching or training is not recommended. Understanding the why behind certain processes is essential to working effectively. Training with EVOCEAN was very valuable for me in this regard."

Vitali Mozgovoi

Software Developer