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Develop new products faster… maintain the existing more effectively

“Giovanni Annunzio has worked for more than ten years with IBM Rational Rhapsody. He perceives the biggest advantages of the tool in the graphic modelling and the automatic code generation: „Thanks to the models we can visualise new functions and dependencies. A picture says more than a 1'000 words and the graphically modelled abstraction makes life much easier for us developers. At the same time, the automatic code generation based on the models takes over a substantial part of our work!"“

Shorter time-to-market thanks to Model Driven Development – Bernina International recounts

Giovanni Annunzio - Systems Architect and Rhapsody Smith
Giovanni Annunzio

Achieving simple administration, a scalable product variety as well as short release cycles… Bernina is mastering these challenges with the help of Model Driven Development support by IBM Rational Rhapsody. Giovanni Annunzio, Junior System Architect at Bernina International AG, explains, why at the same time more re-sources have become free for innovations.

Bernina is a family owned worldwide leader in development and production of high-quality domestic sewing machines and embroidery systems. At its headquarters in Steckborn, Switzerland, Bernina has around 270 employees, 50 of which work in research and development. It started all at the end of he 19th century with precision and a lot of manual work. Bernina connects quality, tradition and innovation. Below you can see the first domestic sewing machine of Bernina, dated 1932 (before this date products were named after the founder of the company – Karl Friedrich Gegauf) and one of the latest ones with state-of-the-art technology for ambitious “leisure” sewers. This BERNINA 880 is one of the most advanced and most mature domestic sewing machines; with touch screen and more than 50 basic functions which are arbitrarily combinable.

Bernina Sowing Machine 1932
Bernina Sowing Machine 1932

Shorter development cycles – increasing product variety

Today’s sewing machines have to fulfill much higher requirements compared to a couple of decades ago. To meet these customer demands and to stay ahead of the fierce competition, Bernina must launch new models in always shorter times – with constantly increasing functionalities and not comprising on high quality. Next to appropriate mechatronics, this involves ever increasing application of software. To meet these challenges, the software developers of Bernina work with IBM Rational Rhapsody since 2002. Important for this decision were, among others, the UML features of Rhapsody and its capability to generate the complete code automatically from state charts.

Abstraction and graphic based modelling

Giovanni Annunzio has worked for more than ten years with IBM Rational Rhapsody. He perceives the biggest advantages of the tool in the graphic modelling and the automatic code generation: „Thanks to the models we can visualise new functions and dependencies. A picture says more than a 1’000 words and the graphically modelled abstraction makes life much easier for us developers. At the same time, the automatic code generation based on the models takes over a substantial part of our work!”

More innovation thanks to re-use

„In earlier days, we launched one new model every year – today several”, Annunzio states further. This increase, demanded by the market, is only viable thanks to the re-use of software and hardware modules, as „… with re-use also the time needed for testing is distinctively lower.” Rhapsody supports platform independent modeling and offers a good interface to configuration management. In addition, it allows an agile and flexible development. „Thanks to our streamlined configuration management, we can easily integrate automatically the latest data for new releases – in the form of existing

Bernina 880 Sowing Machine with Model Driven Development
Bernina 880 Sowing Machine powered by Rhapsody.

Rhapsody packages. If the hardware changes, there is only little we have to adapt in the software. We can simply take over the packages, depending on the desired functionality, however usually up to 90% of the new product software! Thus we can focus on the development on new, innovative functionalities.” For Bernina, this means a scalable and effectively manageable product variety.

Lessons learned

A big challenge introducing Rhapsody was the change from a functional to an object-oriented programming metaphor. „The architecture must be set up in the right way and in conformity with the requirements of model driven development – right from the beginning!” explains Giovanni Annunzio. „I strongly recommend to seek for the support of an external, experienced Rhapsody specialist as for example supplied by EVOCEAN and to model the architecture together.” To develop a correct basis saves oneself a lot of annoyance in the future and increases the productivity substantially.

Reached the targets?

„Yes! Today we have a modern infrastructure with stable interfaces. We improved our efficiency and time-to-market measurably with a high level of quality”, according to Annunzio. The move to a model driven development has been a courageous step which has created room for flexibility, agility and innovation. „Once the initial difficulties are overcome, one is very fast.” … “we don’t want to miss Rhapsody anymore and I would recommend using it at any time!”

A wish for free

If Giovanni Annunzio would have a wish for free? „100% of model would be great; today a part is still code. Also the implementation of the method in the model, perhaps with the help of a Meta model, would be cool!”

Used technologies

Before Project

UML

IBM Rational Rose

IDE

Visual Studio

Target Processor

StrongARM

Language

C++

After Project

UML

IBM Rational Rhapsody

IDE

GreenHills Multi / Rhapsody

Target Processor

ARM 9

Language

C++

Used technologies

Before Project After Project
UML IBM Rational Rose IBM Rational Rhapsody
IDE Visual Studio GreenHills Multi / Rhapsody
Target Processor StrongARM ARM 9
Language C++ C++

Customers about our services

SIX Financial Information Ltd

„The EVOCEAN continuous improvement method stabilized our processes and had a positive influence on the quality and on the satisfaction of the employees. I would recommend to use this approach at any time. Continuous improvement must become a part of everyday work."

Michael K. Steinhöfel-Cordova

Head of Quality Management

Mettler Toledo AG

„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!"

Wolfgang Boos

Head of Software

Hamilton Medical AG – Rhapsody

„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.“

Andreas Anderegg

Senior Software Engineer

Mettler Toledo AG

„I would recommend Rhapsody anytime – by using Rhapsody I can reach a new level of programming and efficiency.“

Wolfgang Boos

Head Software Development

soplar s.a. – Training

„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

SIX Financial Information Ltd

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

Michael K. Steinhöfel-Cordova

Head of Quality Management

Phonak Communication AG

„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."

Rainer Platz

Head of R&D

Mettler Toledo AG

„Development in the embedded area should be platform independent and the used tools should support this!“

Wolfgang Boos

Head Software Development

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

Project Manager

Schmidhauser AG

"A picture is worth a thousand words. Thanks to Rational Rhapsody® models, we can discuss new functionalities much better with our customers – even without knowledge of the code."

Peter Bode

Project Manager Mobile Drives