New and Enhanced Features in BlockSim
With integration into the Synthesis Platform, BlockSim now offers a completely updated user interface that has many new and enhanced features. This page provides a summary of some of the major additions and enhancements.
Synthesis Platform for Multi-User Access and Intelligent Integration
BlockSim analyses are now stored in a centralized database (standard or enterprise) that supports simultaneous access by multiple users and shares relevant reliability information between ReliaSoft’s Synthesis applications.
For multi-user access, you can use basic security groups predefined in the software or customize access permissions to meet the specific needs of your organization.
For BlockSim specifically, the platform integration features enable you to:
- Use models from analyses performed in other Synthesis applications to set the properties for blocks in a BlockSim RBD or fault tree. When the underlying data analyses change, the analysts can choose to automatically update the relevant diagrams, if desired. (Learn more...)
- Build RBDs or fault trees in BlockSim from system configuration and failure mode data in Xfmea/RCM++/RBI, or from failure rate predictions in Lambda Predict.
- Use BlockSim simulation diagrams to generate response data for experiment designs in DOE++.
- Work with BlockSim diagrams and RENO flowcharts together in the same analysis project, and use diagram results in flowcharts if desired. (Requires separate licenses.)
Technical Upgrades and Productivity Enhancements
All Synthesis applications are now available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. 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...]
The Synthesis version 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 universal reliability definition (URD) capabilities in Synthesis 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 other Synthesis applications.
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).
Enhanced Cost Calculations and Other Simulation Enhancements
Now in Version 9, BlockSim offers more control than ever for determining how costs are calculated, and also provides expanded cost-related results. You can:
- Specify what kinds of crew delays are included in cost calculations and what delays should be ignored.
- Specify costs associated with system failure, including cost per incident and downtime rate.
- Specify system uptime revenue and revenue due to throughput so the simulation is able to calculate opportunity costs.
- View new cost-related simulation results, including system-level costs, the contributions of different kinds of wait times to block costs and the contribution (criticality) of a block's cost to the total system costs.
We've also added a new Virtual Age option for maintenance task scheduling. Now the simulation can account for situations in which the scheduled maintenance task will be performed even if the item has failed.
The new Simulation Worksheets feature allows you to vary values that are used in simulating a BlockSim RBD or RENO flowchart. This enables you to investigate the effect of one or more settings on the simulation results. Two of the most useful applications are the ability to:
- Design an experiment in DOE++ —> simulate the experiment in BlockSim or RENO —> then return to DOE++ and analyze the simulated "response" data.
- Perform batch simulation of an RBD, using different input values for each simulation. For example, this tool makes it easy to run a set of simulations that compare a variety of possible scenarios by altering specific inputs (e.g., cost, reliability, etc.) for each simulation.
New Gates and Results for Fault Trees
The fault tree analysis modeling capabilities have been expanded in the Synthesis version. The following gates are now available: 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 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 the latest version, 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 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 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 the Synthesis version, 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 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 the Synthesis version. 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
BlockSim now 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.
Enhanced, Easy-to-Use Interface with Internet Connectivity
All Synthesis applications offer a completely updated user interface with an "Office 2010" look and feel, and many usability enhancements. Some of the most useful include the ability to check-in/check-out portions of the analysis, "restore points" that allow you to restore or roll back to a previous stage in the analysis, and more flexible tools to organize and manage analysis projects.
Whenever possible, the new interface takes advantage of an active Internet connection to deliver the most up-to-date announcements, documentation and theoretical resources. For example:
- The new ReliaSoft Online panel provides up-to-date tips and announcements each time you start the application, and on demand when you need them.
- The context-sensitive Reliability Web Notes panel automatically delivers theoretical background information for the feature you’re currently working with, including links to related examples, articles and other resources.
- The new Help Center provides quick access to a variety of support tools, including the ability to automatically download software updates and generate an e-mail with the details needed for technical support.