Automated Generation of Technical Documents (Part 1 of 3)

by Dr. Uwe Wächter

An important part of each client project in plant construction and special machine construction is the creation of complete and specific documentation for the system concerned. Depending on the size and complexity of the product, the documentation includes a few or several hundred folders. Various documentation serves to describe, as well as to operate and service or to maintain and repair the plant. In this three-part series of our blog we explain to you how you automatically create such documentation using SEAL systems solutions.

The creation of technical documentation – the starting point

The individual parts of the overall documentation originate from different sources. Large parts come from an editorial system and are created and maintained by technical editors. Oversized drawings are provided by the companies themselves. These are joined by standard documents, as well as drawings and service documents of purchased parts provided by different suppliers. Due to this heterogeneity, the required documents are also contained in different data formats and are of different quality. In addition, the filing of the various documentation within the company can be organized in many different ways.

The linking of all relevant parts of the documentation with the corresponding positions of the production bill of materials in the PLM system and the filing in the integrated DMS would be the ideal condition for an automated compilation of documents. In practice, the documentation center must, however, occasionally manually revert to copy templates in paper form or data files on a file server.

 

Preparation of documents: painstaking, tedious and prone to error

The compilation of comprehensive system documentation is usually a painstaking and tedious task which is also prone to error. Despite the very monotonous nature of this work, it must be carried out by highly qualified staff, in order to prevent errors. In practice, errors can occur by the use of wrong document versions and must partly be considered as acceptable if the finished version is not yet completed.

In addition, documents are often prepared under time pressure, as they are always the last stage of the production process. Despite this, all amendments must be incorporated right up to the last minute prior to the official delivery. Often, terms of payment for clients are linked to the delivery of the documentation. The sooner the documents are delivered, the earlier the payment is received.

Now and then, preliminary or partial documentation is required for the preparatory work on the part of the client: Foundation and other constructional phases, approval procedures with authorities etc. On most occasions, preliminary results (partial documentation) that have already been produced cannot be used again later or are no longer traceable.

Plant manufacturers also earn from contracts and services for the maintenance, repair and expansion of the systems. Comprehensive, precise system’s documentation are therefore the prerequisite to enable them to provide top quality services. They provide a competitive advantage over other repair firms.

 

This all seems familiar to you? Please read the next part, which explains how the entire provisioning process of the technical documentation can be extensively automated and often even improved in quality by the use of our direct publishing solution in DPF technology!

 

Do you have any questions on the automated generation of technical documentation? – Request further information without obligation!

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