The FRAM Sandbox Facility

Extending the capabilities of the FMV

There is an increasing interest in utilising the FRAM approach for the analysis of what exactly is going on in complex sociotechnical systems in practical high hazard environments. There are, for example, a number of ongoing projects at the moment in aviation, self-driving vehicles and, of course, on the challenges of the COVID 19 pandemic for healthcare responses. But as well as these practical applications there is an increasing interest from the academic community, in extending and developing further, the underpinning concepts, as shown in the recent review (below)

These groups are thus interested in taking the modelling power of the FRAM approach to the next level. Their interests include exploring in more detail how interactions occur and how the effects of variability can be addressed and predicted more formally, as well as enabling dynamic visualisation of processes and the quantification of expected outcomes.

What makes this now more attractive, has been the development of a rigorous model checking methodology, the FRAM Model Interpreter, FMI (Hollnagel, E,) ( )

To support these developments the FRAM Model Visualiser has also been given extra facilities, which now include an option to use, what is essentially a laboratory sand box to provide research laboratory experimental facilities for different groups to utilise.

From time to time, it is planned to add additional features that are still under development and not officially released as part of the FMV Pro version, but may be made available to groups for the purposes of experimentation and feedback from the users.


Building on the FMI functionality, the metadata feature in the FMV, now provides the ability to calculate metadata values as Functions are activated during the FMI cycles.

The manual details these here

The calculations are expressed as user defined equations that can reference other metadata keys, standard variables, standard mathematical functions, logic conditions, and mathematical operators. One or two resulting metadata values can then be expressed as a coloured visualisation within each function. The colours and value ranges can be customised by the user.

When you Ctrl-Click a Function, or select and press Ctrl-M, the metadata section will appear above the model in the visualiser window and display the extended features.

Key/Value pairs

The first two text boxes are for entering metadata as a list of key/value pairs, as is already available in the standard FMV Pro versions. A Key is entered in the first box shaded grey, but it will not be saved for the selected Function until a Value or an Equation is also entered for that Key. The corresponding Value is entered in the second text box.

When a Key is saved for a Function, It will be shown along with all saved Key names when any other Function is selected. As such, the Key names become common across all Functions. However, the corresponding Values are unique to each individual Function.

Key names can be used as Variable names and referenced in Equations if they start with a capital letter (this is to differentiate between Variables and mathematical functions).


To calculate the Value of a Key for a Function (when it is activated by the FMI) click the ‘=’ button and another text input box will appear for entering an equation.

Equations can contain Key names to reference other Values that appear above them in the same Function, or Standard Variables can be used to reference Values from upstream Functions, connected by couplings that are activated during the FMI cycles. This is explained in further sections.

To turn the equation off, click the ‘=’ button again (this is a toggle button) and the equation will disappear, it is still saved but will not be used to calculate the Value.

Functions/Variables List

The next section is a list of available mathematical functions and variables available for use in Equations. You can switch between these two types by using the Functions/Variables toggle buttons above the list. The Variables list is initially empty but will be populated as you create Keys and make selections within the model.

Display Results

The top colour range is used to display results in the inside top of each function, the bottom range in the inside bottom of each function. Click on any of the three main colour circles to change the colour. The intermediate colours are blended from the three main colours.

The number boxes below the colour ranges are used to convert the Values to the colour range for dsiplay.

The last two text boxes on the right labeled ‘Key 1’ and ‘Key 2’ are for selecting which of the Keys provide values for displaying the results, Key 1 for the top range and Key 2 for the bottom range.

The 12th FRAMily meeting/workshop,June 11th - 13th 2018

Cardiff University , Wales

12th Workshop on the

Functional Resonance Analysis Method (FRAM)


(If the Author(s) is (are) not highlighted, they have not yet provided a copy for the record)

1. D. McNab et al. - Participatory design of a complex improvement intervention for the primary care   management of Sepsis using the Functional Resonance Analysis Method


2. Nippin Anand, David Slater - Writing Better Procedures using FRAM 

3. Yasutaka Michiura - FRAM analysis on two spacecraft accidents

4. Axel Ros, Erik Hollnagel - The use of FRAM in a government investigation in health care in Sweden.

5. Jeanette Hounsgaard - Understanding and using the ETTO principle in modelling with FRAM

6. Nikki Damen - Preoperative anticoagulation management in everyday clinical practice

7. Toshinori Omura et al. - FRAM model for driving a car

8. Josue Franca et al. - A Resilience Engineering Approach for Sustainable Safety in Green Construction

9. Takayuki Hirose, Tetsuo Sawaragi, Yukio Hiroguchi - Numerical Safety Analysis of Complex Supply-Chain Systems Integrating Functional Resonance Analysis Method and Cellular Automaton

10. Doug Smith - A method for visualizing functional dynamics and operational scenarios

11. Jan Magott, Jacek Skorupski - Quantification of FRAM models using Coloured Petri Nets

12. Yuranan Kitrungrotsakul - Weight Function Model for Quantitative Analysis of Functional Resonance Analysis Method

13. Yoshinari Toda - FRAM/STPA: A hazard analysis method for FRAM mode

14. Keita Sakemi et al. - Clarification of Design Philosophy for Railway Crossing System Based on FRAM

15. Tenna Bloch Olesen - Using FRAM to get insight in the medication reconciliation workflow for patients being when discharged

16. María del Carmen Pardo-Ferreira, Juan Carlos Rubio-Romero - Applying FRAM to the construction of concrete structures

17. Sira Skibsholt - Using FRAM to identify possible interventions for improving patient safety

18. Liz Buikstra - Using FRAM to analyse Medication Administration Incidents

19. Al Ross - Trade-offs in connecting people to FRAM

20. Mikkel Ussing, Bettina Ravnborg Thude - Systematic training programme in the use of FRAM

21. Hideki Nomoto, David Slater - Decision making under Uncertainty – It’s all in the Functions of the Mind!

22. Shigeru Kusakabe - Analysing Resonance of Motivation in Software Development Process Training by Using FRAM

23. Riccardo Patriarca - `myFRAM: An Open Tool Support for the FRAM

Group Photo

And the next meeting FRAMily 2019


We are looking forward to seeing the results of using this new facility and seeing the range and scope of applications and studies significantly extended. Perhaps we will see some examples at the next FRAMily Workshop in Kyoto next year, COVID willing.

© Copyright Erik Hollnagel 2016. All Rights Reserved.