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.
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.
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!”
„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
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.
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.
„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!”
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!”
IBM Rational Rose
IBM Rational Rhapsody
GreenHills Multi / Rhapsody
|Before Project||After Project|
|UML||IBM Rational Rose||IBM Rational Rhapsody|
|IDE||Visual Studio||GreenHills Multi / Rhapsody|
|Target Processor||StrongARM||ARM 9|