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The hidden cost of mismanaging calculations [engineering calculations engineering computing]

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Engineering calculations programmed into custom software may execute efficiently, but tend to be hard to use. Thus, they are virtually useless for managing engineering information. Spreadsheets are a big part of the problem. They are more about crunching numbers than documenting context, so they can be a risky tool for managing calculations. Spreadsheets show answers but omit context and are error prone. They are unsuited to the task of modelling, analysing and documenting engineering designs. An electronic calculation 'worksheet' is a good solution for effectively documenting design and engineering processes. Unlike spreadsheets, they employ real mathematical notation and capture - in human-readable text - the assumptions, methods and critical data behind every calculation. They may also include illustrative graphs, annotations and sketches - in essence, knowledge captured in a shareable form. Organisations can build on the value of these worksheets by organising, tracking, and controlling and sharing them in a Web-based repository. Calculations can be retrieved any time for reuse, validation, refinement, reporting and publishing - all in their proper context.

Published in:

Manufacturing Engineer  (Volume:85 ,  Issue: 2 )