New and Enhanced Features in BlockSim Version 8
With the release of Version 8, BlockSim offers a completely updated user interface that has many new and enhanced features. Some of the major additions and enhancements in Version 8 include:
New Synthesis Platform for Multi-User Access and Intelligent Integration
With the release of Version 8, BlockSim analyses are stored in a centralized database that supports simultaneous access by multiple users and shares relevant reliability information between ReliaSoft’s Synthesis-enabled software tools. To give just a couple examples of the many integration opportunities available in the new Synthesis Platform, you can now:
- Seamlessly integrate Weibull++ and ALTA analyses to set the properties for blocks in a BlockSim RBD or fault tree, then automatically update the diagram if the underlying data analysis changes.
- Work with system configuration and failure mode data from Xfmea or RCM++ analyses as RBDs or fault trees in BlockSim (using the new "Failure Modes and Reliability Analysis" – FMRA).
Interface Improvements, Technical Upgrades and Productivity Enhancements
With the release of Version 8, the application interface has been completely updated with an attractive and user-friendly Office 2010 "look and feel" and many convenient usability improvements.
All Synthesis-enabled applications are now available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. In Version 8, we have added multi-thread support to take full advantage of the processing power on your computer, and also re-engineered/re-optimized much of the code, so you can now run simulations 10 to 50 times faster. [Click here to see if you need the multi-thread version...]
Version 8 also introduces a new Batch Mode feature that improves productivity by allowing you to schedule a series of simulations in advance. For example, you can set the simulations to run overnight and find the results waiting for you when you return to your desk in the morning!
Reuse Reliability/Maintenance Definitions
The new universal reliability definition (URD) capabilities in Version 8 make it easier and more flexible than ever to manage the component reliability and maintenance characteristics required for system analyses. Now you can share the same resources (e.g., failure model, maintenance strategy, availability of repair crew/spare parts, etc.) with all users who have access to the project, and directly link the URD with other analyses performed in Weibull++, ALTA, Xfmea and RCM++.
For many of the inputs (e.g., duration, cost, etc.), you now have the choice to enter a constant value (e.g., $100) or a probabilistic model (e.g., Normal distribution with Mean = $100 and Std = $16.67).
New Gates and Results for Fault Trees
The fault tree analysis modeling capabilities have been expanded in Version 8. The following gates have been added: NOT, NAND, NOR, Priority AND, Sequence Enforcing.
In addition, fault tree diagrams can now be configured to display intermediate results at each individual gate (in addition to the results calculated for the top-level gate).
Model Highly Complex Scenarios: State Change Triggers and Mirrored Blocks and Success/Failure Paths
BlockSim 8 now offers the ability to create state change triggers that activate or deactivate a block under certain conditions during the simulation. This provides increased modeling flexibility for highly complex dependency scenarios, such as standby configurations and other situations when you may need to divert the simulation onto an alternate path when a particular event occurs. The models can trigger actions or respond to a state change (e.g., start, stop, perform maintenance, etc.) from any block and across different diagrams. You can chain and cascade triggers to model even the most complex scenarios.
In Version 8, BlockSim offers increased modeling flexibility by supporting mirrored blocks across different diagrams. These blocks allow you to put the exact same component in more than one location within the diagram, which may be necessary, for example, to simulate bi-directional paths in a communications network.
For years, BlockSim's reliability phase diagrams have enabled users to model systems that go through different phases during the course of their operation. Now in Version 8, we have added success/failure paths, for situations where a system proceeds to one operational phase upon success and a different operational phase upon failure. Node blocks and stop blocks are also now supported.
Enhanced Optimization Tools
New Interface for Optimum Reliability Allocation
BlockSim has always offered a unique capability to utilize feasibility and cost models to calculate the optimum component reliability allocation to meet a system reliability goal. Now in Version 8 we have made it easier than ever to enter and manage the information required for these calculations, and we’ve added support for two new allocation methods (Equal and Weighted). Start at the system level and click your way to the component or failure mode level while the software automatically computes the target reliability for each item/mode and transfers it to the next.
Calculating the Optimum Replacement Time
The ability to calculate the optimum replacement time provides a powerful opportunity to reduce costs while maximizing uptime. In Version 8, BlockSim makes it easy to enter and manage the information required for these calculations. Now you can perform the calculations for any number of blocks with a single click of the mouse, and the software also provides the option to find optimum times for performing maintenance on selected groups of blocks (i.e., for packaging maintenance tasks).
Automatic Conversion for Time Values Entered in Different Units
All Synthesis-enabled applications now allow you to define conversion factors for entering time values in different units. To give just one example, you can now define the component failure models in terms of hours but then use the QCP to calculate the system reliability for a year of operation — the software performs the conversion automatically based on the multipliers specified within the repository.
Redesigned QCP with Log of Results
The Quick Calculation Pad (QCP) has been updated and redesigned in Version 8. The new interface provides a "Calculation Log" that works like a paper roll in an adding machine, allowing you to record the results from a series of different calculations and then copy/paste the information as needed.
New Template-Based Reporting Tools
In Version 8, BlockSim offers two new template-based reporting tools. "Analysis Workbooks" are spreadsheets (similar to Microsoft Excel) that can be used for custom analysis and reporting. "Word Report Templates" have functionality similar to Microsoft Word. Both tools allow you to automatically insert calculated results from selected diagrams, and save templates that can be re-used again and again with different data sources.
Take Advantage of Internet Connectivity
One of the many new enhancements in the Version 8 Synthesis Platform is the ability to take advantage of an active Internet connection to obtain the most up-to-date announcements, documentation and examples. Once you have registered and activated the application on your computer, Internet access is not required — you can still perform all of your analysis activities while working offline — but an Internet connection allows you to take advantage of several useful new features, including: ReliaSoft Online (up-to-date tips and announcements), Reliability Web Notes (context-sensitive access to theoretical background information for the feature you’re currently working with), Help Center (a variety of support tools – including the ability to download software updates and generate an e-mail with the details needed for technical support) and Online Help File (we will always install a static version for the times when you’re working offline, but the Internet version contains all of the latest updates to provide the information users have been looking for).