Our core business covers complementary and synergetic fields of activities aiming at defining and optimally implementing methods, techniques and engineering processes whose objective is to control the dependability of complex systems and the hazards/risks related to the technical failures exposed to humans and their environment.
Dependability & Risk Management
The high-level performance expected by the user would require operation without failure but the increasing systems complexity generates more and more possible causes of failure. Furthermore, the sample of feedback data on failures is increasingly poorer according to the increasingly short time for operational implementation.
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For catastrophic consequences, these failures are even extremely unlikely to the point that they have never occurred before.
The Dependability is the engineering discipline dedicated to failures. It encompasses a set of fields including Reliability (R), Availability (A), Maintainability (M) and Safety (S) of an entity (system, product, process, organization, etc.) to satisfy one or more required functions under given conditions.
The RAMS approach allows to define the system-level RAMS objectives based on user needs and acceptance criteria, to break down these objectives into RAMS requirements (including integrity levels) allocated to equipment and components, to implement these requirements at the design stage and to demonstrate their satisfaction at the validation stage.
It implements analytical techniques and methods to systematically assess and control the RAMS characteristics (including testability) of a product or system throughout its life cycle phases. RAMS studies are also applied in an optimization approach to reduce the overall system life cycle cost (LCC).
viattech Q&S relies on professional techniques adapted to sector specificities, analysis tools, the main standards and regulations in force to engage with its customers in a process of continuous improvement of the RAMS characteristics of their products, their systems and processes.
Through RAMS consulting services, our team of experts carries out a wide range of high value-added RAMS studies and risk management activities aimed at improving products, systems or processes. The results of these analyses are subject to acceptance by the end customer or by any other stakeholder in the program (infrastructure manager, operator, national safety authority, independent assessment body, etc.).
We also advise our clients at a strategic level on the optimal organization, processes and methods to implement to ensure compliance with regulatory and normative requirements applied to the sector in terms of dependability as well as proven in use best practices in that matter. This approach makes it possible in particular to support the operational teams of our customers in the supply of safety products and solutions which must meet strict objectives in terms of RAMS.
viattech Q&S has its own methodological sheets adapted to the specificities of each sector and based on the main standards such as MIL-STD-1629 (FMECA), MIL-HDBK-472 (maintainability study), NF EN 16271 (functional specifications, functional analysis), IEC 61508 (determination of SIL requirements), MIL-HDBK-217 F and IEC 62380 (reliability prediction calculations), IEC 1025 (fault tree analysis), IEC 1078 (reliability block diagram analysis).
Our engineers trained in these methods are prepared to deploy the various RAMS analyses and probabilistic risk assessments specific to each technology (APR, HazOp, FMECA, Fault Tree, Event Tree, Reliability Block Diagram, Markov diagram, accident sequence analysis, Petri network etc.).
The methods are reviewed on the basis of our experiences gained during previous missions in order to improve their efficiency and to enlarge their spectrum of application.
A product or system performing safety-critical functions or requiring high reliability is developed following a structured engineering process while taking into account the RAMS requirements.
The RAMS management is therefore a key element in any organization whose objective is to meet ambitious requirements in terms of RAMS by ensuring that the technical and managerial measures are put in place and allow the identification and elimination of the systematic error causes that are likely to occur at every step of the engineering process.
To meet this target, viattech Q&S supports its customers by providing various consulting services in the RAMS management built on the basis of a system engineering approach:
- Support of our clients in setting up an effective organization, a culture of safety and a development process in order to achieve the RAMS objectives
- Development of RAMS plan and Verification & Validation plan necessary for the planning of activities to achieve the RAMS objectives
- Verification that the planned design, verification and testing activities allow the elimination of systematic errors (safety failures) and the reduction of residual risks to a tolerable level
- Management of the Hazards Log in which each identified risk is traced, analyzed and mitigated, or even eliminated, before the product is delivered or the system is put into service
- Development of safety cases in order to obtain a certification and/or RAMS approval in accordance with applicable standards (national, European and international)
By offering a full set of services, our approach is to promote continuous improvement of the safety and quality management system of our customers.
Complex Systems Engineering
Most manufacturers in the transport and defense sectors who develop complex systems benefit from the advantages of systems engineering :
- Reduction of costs and development cycle times
- Strengthening the responsiveness degree facing changes in the customer needs
- Effective consideration of normative and regulatory requirements
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Systems engineering is a methodological approach that encompasses all activities aimed at specifying, designing, developing, verifying and validating a system by providing an economical and performing solution that satisfies all stakeholders and the customer’s needs. The complex character arises from the multiple interactions between the constituents which are as important to control as the behavior of each constituent.
To carry out innovative and complex projects on shorter and shorter cycle times, viattech Q&S supports its customers by implementing proven in use best practices in system engineering.
Solutions to effectively collaborate multidisciplinary stakeholders (electronics, mechanics, hydraulics, automation etc.) include customer needs analysis, requirements specifications, overall architectural design (including allocation of requirements to sub-assemblies), study of the technical-financial compromise involving a re-use strategy, integration, verification and validation.
The approach adopted by our engineers is based on the classic system engineering method using textual language as well as the one based on MBSE (SADT languages, SysML). The system engineering processes, activities and expected results during the project life cycle are derived from standards applicable to the business (IEEE 1220, EIA 632, ISO 15288).
To obtain the guarantee by means of documentary proof that the complex system or an evolution of it meets its specifications, a requirement traceability process adapted to the needs of the solution is implemented throughout the project life cycle.
The development of complex systems sometimes requires adopting a strategic change to drive a breakthrough in innovation and a digital transformation. To this end, viattech Q&S analyses the existing situation taking into account the customer’s benchmark, proposes an action plan and supports the customer in the technical and organizational implementation of this plan.
To ensure the successful development completion, the work is subject to local planning and management that takes into account multidisciplinary risks. At viattech Q&S we put the best practices of project management at the service of system engineering in order to coordinate the work of the teams, to manage the various stakeholders and thus to carry out the changes desired by the customer while respecting quality – cost – time.
Assistance to Contracting Authority
viattech Q&S assists its clients or partners in charge of the work at all stages of their project execution.
Project ownership assistance
Our engineers draw up project plans and set up the organization, processes, methods and tools necessary for the control of the work in accordance with the requirements of the specifications established by the Client. The roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder are clarified from the start.
The intervention covers the various project life cycle phases, from the development of functional, RAMS and technical specifications to the commissioning of the industrial installation while strictly respecting deadlines and budget.
viattech Q&S can also intervene in specific activities requiring particular technical expertise such as the implementation of RAMS studies necessary to demonstrate the achievement of the RAMS objectives of the specifications.
When the complexity of the installation justifies it, our support services are provided by pragmatically applying system engineering methods and best practices. viattech Q&S also offers to its customers the opportunity to manage the engineering activities and the field work by coordinating multi-disciplinary teams and setting up rigorous progress monitoring indicators.
viattech Q&S assists its customers or partners at all stages of the development of their change projects.
Contracting authority support
Our engineers start by carrying out an inventory of the existing installation in order to capture the elements relevant to the studies of the new system (collection and analysis of plans and technical documents, functional analysis, risk acceptance criteria development, inspections of the installation and its performance, review of operating and maintenance procedures, etc.).
Based on available maintenance data, a Life Cycle Cost (LCC) model is proposed to assess the overall cost of maintaining the existing installation and thus to have a basis for comparison with the solutions considered in the pre-project.
We develop the various options for the installations renewal based on a Business Case which consists of analyzing and defining the best quality, dependability and cost ratio in order to meet the functional requirements of the operation. This technical and economic study results in a proposal of technological choices to be made for the renewal.
Based on the operational master plan, viattech Q&S draws up a functional and architectural concept of the new system as well as a preliminary risk analysis intended to determine the RAMS objectives and the integrity levels of any safety functions of the system to be implemented.
Then, based on the technological choices made beforehand, we conduct a technical feasibility study of the systems to be developed to meet the functional concept and safety integrity levels. At this stage, we have a precise idea of the equipment that will be subject to the specifications, the installation and operating conditions, the constraints related to the maintenance & ILS as well as the overall cost of investment and maintenance.
Once the feasibility study has been validated by our customer, we proceed to the preparation of the specifications documents. This phase includes the preparation of plans giving an indication of the works and supplies to be carried out, the establishment of the functional, RAMS, technical and ILS specifications to be respected, the quantities of works and supplies preparation, the costs estimation and general work planning.
We assist the customer with the market survey, the comparative analysis of the bidders offers and the delivery of a report issuing a reasoned opinion on the successful tenderers designation.
Our engineers help in monitoring the project execution and in the technical and budgetary validation until the complete production and the temporary acceptance of the installation.
During this phase, we carry out a technical inspection of all files, plans, specifications, calculation notes and other documents produced by the company. We participate in the technical and work execution monitoring meetings and we take care of the preparation and distribution of the corresponding meetings reports. This monitoring also includes controlling the schedule, updating the site progress indicators and identifying the need for any significant changes in the scope of the project.
In our mission, viattech Q&S ensures the inspection of the test plans and their implementation by the company in anticipation of the technical acceptances carried out in the presence of the client-side managers in charge of the system acceptance.
When the need justifies it, our mission also covers the follow-up of the regulatory inspection and the certification of the new installation with a view to commissioning.
Verification & Validation, Tests, Certification and Qualification
viattech Q&S supports the Verification and Validation (V&V) activities on behalf of industrial customers. Our V&V service offer is intended for safety critical systems, software and application data.
We intervene at all stages of the software development cycle (planning, requirements, design, testing, integration, validation) in order to verify that the deliverables produced at the end of each phase comply with the requirements of the applicable standards and meet applicable techniques and methods.
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viattech Q&S conducts validation activities which ensure that the developed software meets the specified requirements and more specifically the safety requirements.
To meet our cutting-edge and innovative customer needs, the viattech Q&S team is involved in the integration and functional testing phases as well as in the certification process of the safety critical systems. Our engineers participate in commissioning tests.
We help the customer who plans to have his equipment certified and qualified by coordinating the organization of the tests with the operator and the infrastructure manager. Our engineers are responsible for developing test specifications, obtaining the necessary authorizations for carrying out on-site test runs, preparing test benches in a simulated or real environment, carrying out tests, writing test reports and issuing a technical opinion.
Maintenance Engineering & ILS
viattech Q&S supports its customers in defining and taking into account the maintenance requirements of an equipment or an industrial installation in all phases of its life cycle from the concept study to its disposal.
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A maintenance policy tailored to the customer needs is developed based on the RCM (reliability centered maintenance) methodology combined with a systematic dysfunctional FMECA-type study. This study starts from the design phase and a continuous improvement process inspired by quality standards is put in place to optimize the maintenance plan and the logistics support system. The criticality analysis makes it possible to consolidate the preventive maintenance program (periodic checks).
At the organizational level, our engineers establish an inventory of the existing maintenance organization and assist the customer in defining or optimizing the maintenance process, the related tools and the logistics support system.
A process is in place to monitor the RAMS performance of the operating facility. We prepare and analyze the decommissioning installations. We help the customer to define and implement a corrective and preventive action plan in order to strengthen the equipment availability rate.
In case of maintenance outsourcing, viattech Q&S helps the client in defining the scope of the sub-contractor intervention, developing specifications and setting up structures and performance indicators.
viattech Q&S supports its customers in developing the Integrated Logistics Support system (ILS) to correctly use the main system and keep it in an operational condition. The ILS system includes products or services such as maintainers training, spare parts, consumables, technical documentation, tools, etc.
To accomplish its mission for a given time and under given economic conditions, the installation study must integrate this one in its ILS system. The ILS purpose is to achieve optimized technical and economic solutions that take into account their support system performance.
viattech Q&S is involved in all ILS phases by deploying best practices used in the defense sector (MIL-STD-1388 1A / 2B, DEF-STAN-00 60, MIL-PRF-49506, MIL-HDBK-502, MIL-STD-470 B, MIL-STD-2173, MIL-STD-1390):
- The ILS and LSA (Logistics Support Analysis) plans describing the ILS management tasks, the ILS study (objectives of the overall ownership cost study, FMECA, maintenance and support needs formulation, RAM objectives and testability determination …).
- The LSA study and the associated database (logistics tree, overall ownership cost evaluation, MBF, LORA repair levels, maintainability study, support system definition, tools and test means, support database development …).
- The ILS production (LSA creation and the associated database, maintenance plan, support elements development such as technical documentation, training, spare parts, tools, test equipment …).
A maintenance policy adapted to customer needs is developed based on the RCM methodology (reliability centered maintenance) combined with a systematic dysfunctional FMEA-type study. This study starts from the design phase and a continuous improvement process inspired by quality standards is put in place to optimize the maintenance plan and the logistical support system.
Project Management & Quality Assurance
viattech Q&S provides to its customers (project owner, technology suppliers, infrastructure manager, general contractors) project management from the concept and feasibility study phase to the delivery and commissioning of the installation to the operator.
Facing the technical, economic, environmental, RAMS and ILS requirements, viattech Q&S helps its customers to set up multidisciplinary teams as well as best practices in project management and quality assurance monitoring.
Drawing from its experience in the development of innovative and safety-critical products and systems, viattech Q&S implements the tools and systems engineering processes in order to control the projects complexity and carry them through while satisfying the quality, cost and lead time constraints.
As part of project management assistance or contracting authority support, viattech Q&S provides its clients with advice and services in project management (PMO, risk management, configuration management, contract management, site supervision, test campaign and commissioning).
The justification of the RAMS objectives achievement also requires the implementation of a rigorous methodology and best practices rules in terms of operational quality assurance management during the various project phases. These rules are based on the quality management system implemented within the customer organization (ISO 9001, ISO 14001, 6 SIGMA, LEAN …).
Based on the project objectives and the regulatory and normative context analysis, we develop the Quality Plan and the Project Management Plan. The activities foreseen in the plans are carried out in order to monitor project performance and to ensure that quality requirements are met. Documentary evidence of quality records (design reviews, end-of-phase reviews or gate reviews, audit, skills management, supplier audit, etc.) are included in the Safety Case.
viattech Q&S carries out consulting missions in the creation, deployment support and quality management system optimization. We work on certifiable standards (ISO 9001, IS0 14001) or specific to sectors (railway, nuclear, aeronautics, etc.).
These missions cover the various aspects of quality management systems: process modeling, quality policy development, policy breakdown into quality objectives, quality manual development, definition and implementation of continuous improvement processes, system/process/projects audits.
Safety Audit, Inspection & Independent Assessment
In many industrial sectors, the independent assessment and certification of safety-critical products or systems are required under a regulatory framework or by customers wishing to have their products or systems assessed, on a voluntary basis, towards the dependability requirements.
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In the railway sector, viattech Q&S has accumulated a long experience and recognized expertise in the assessment and inspection of the dependability of control-command and signaling sub-systems according to Cenelec EN50126, EN50128 and EN50129 standards, the European standard on the Common Safety Method or other recognized standards in this area (inspection mission, Independent Safety Assessment or Independent Assessment).
viattech Q&S is accredited by the Belgian ministerial authority as a type A inspection body in accordance with the criteria of ISO / IEC 17020: 2012 (accreditation certificate Nr 571-INSP). The company has the skills to perform regulatory assessments and inspections as an AsBo (Assessment Body) in the various areas of the railway system :
- Command-Command & Signaling (Trackside and Onboard)
- Rolling stock
- Traffic operation and management
- Telematics applications
- Fire and smoke protection system in tunnels
- Overall consistency of risk management and safety integration of the assessed system within the railway system as a whole
The approach of our inspectors is to assess the entire development process and its effective application. By not being limited to an exclusively documentary review, this approach allows the identification of potential risks in a proactive manner through audits.
The pragmatic approach adopted at viattech Q&S is not limited to verifying compliance with national, European or international safety standards. Indeed, we aim to understand and review the actual process followed by the development team and its justification.
This approach is similar to the guidance and best practice rules recommended by the standards. In the event of non-compliance, we provide a high added value judgment in which we explain to what extent the approach followed could make it possible to achieve or not the safety objectives set by the project.
Our professional independent assessment activities are structured as follows :
- Safety Audits to assess the extent to which safety plans and procedures are applied, their compliance with applicable standards or with best practice rules. These audits consist of the plans analysis and the holding of interviews with the development team key players at each project phase.
- Safety Assessments to determine to what extent the hazard risks associated with the product or system developed are reduced to an acceptable level, and to provide the necessary recommendations for possible corrective actions. The assessment activities consist of the in-depth technical examination of key project documents, dependability analyzes (RAMS), the risk management process (Hazard Log) as well as the safety case.
The results of these activities are documented in audit reports, an observation log and a detailed safety assessment report. At the end of this process, an assessment certificate is issued to the customer.
Training & Technology Survey
viattech Q&S offers to its customers training sessions in the areas of dependability (RAMS), complex systems engineering, integrated logistics support (ILS) and industrial risk management. Training is conducted in our premises or in our customers offices.
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Two types of training sessions are offered :
- Inter-company training: the trainee follows the training session in the viattech Q&S premises in the presence of participants from other companies. The conditions are listed in our catalogue.
- Intra-company training: the trainee follows the training session with a group of colleagues from the same company at viattech Q&S headquarters or at the customer’s premises. This type of training is subject to a service offer with specific conditions.
The program includes several modules of which the non-exhaustive list is provided hereunder:
- Introduction to dependability in railway projects
- Safety risks management during the life cycle of railway projects
- RAMS Methods and Techniques
- Development of safety critical software according to EN50128
- Development of safety critical product or system according to EN50129
- Safety assessment and certification process for a product, system or process
- Introduction to the principles of complex systems engineering
- Consideration of environmental conditions according to EN50125
- Consideration of the EMC compatibility conditions according to EN50121
The objective description and the program of each training module is available by consulting our catalogue or the e-learning page.
viattech Q&S can also provide specific training tailored to specific issues. Don’t hesitate to contact us for further information.
We also support our clients in their technology maintenance approach by establishing a state of the art on a product, process, technology or normative/regulatory context. The evolution of its scientific, technical, industrial or commercial environment is analyzed and the results are made available to managers in order to enable them to anticipate changes and facilitate innovation.