12. SKA: Transitioning from Paper to Models – Interfaces


Case Study 12
SKA: Transitioning from Paper to Models – Interfaces


Implementation of a model based interface management tool


AEON entered into a contract to migrate legacy engineering documentation into a model based database for the Square Kilometre Array Organisation (SKAO).


The purpose of this contract was to perform the interrogation and organisation of a legacy set of engineering documentation – converting paper interface specifications into a database of over 1000 documents housed in an online repository.

The legacy engineering documentation covered a wide breadth of engineering disciplines (everything from software, RF, mechanics and structures, electrical power and plant) with the major challenge in standardising specifications such that they are manageable by the SKAO systems engineers.

Specifications were generated by project partners who had since completed their works and had dissolved, leaving the documentation mixed and referring to a variety of sub systems.



AEON trusts in Sparx Systems as their go to software provider.

Identifying key specifications across a multitude of detailed documents is challenging for any configuration manager, or systems engineer. By moving to a model based database it allows for standardisation of information, improvements in quality, wide searchability and reporting capabilities. These abilities are critical in engineering mega-projects where significant management is performed by a globally distributed team.

It was necessary to re-format the documentation to refer to discrete products which were interfacing, in addition to the functional exchanges occurring between those two products. By simplifying this information, the specifications are better suited to interpretation by future project partners and commercial contractors.

AEON brought their systems engineering and MBSE expertise into the SKAO and acted as both a resource and a technical partner, advising on appropriate methods of converting and migrating legacy documentation into their required format.

Legacy documentation included both design justifications / rationale in addition to key technical specifications and interface definitions. Typically this information is separated depending on the intended audience. As the SKAO ramps towards construction this data must be as complete, correct and clear as is practically possible to ensure that commercial tenderers are in receipt of documentation at a level of quality that they can easily work with.

Computer software


AEON successfully managed to interrogate and organise a legacy set of engineering documentation – converting paper interface specifications into a database of over 1000 documents housed in an online repository, this has given the SKAO a fully searchable means of navigating and processing the information for tender, with a full audit trail giving traceability, release status and parent & child relationships (also known as affected downstream documents).


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