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More Efficiency Without An Isolated Solution

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More Efficiency Without An Isolated Solution
More Efficiency Without An Isolated Solution

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Globalization, cost pressure, time pressure - the requirements for technical documentation are developing just as rapidly as the entire mechanical and plant engineering sector. Ever shorter development times due to the progressive implementation of PLM strategies lead to time pressure in technical writing. Falling sales prices and more competition have a negative impact on the cost structure. The increasing complexity and number of product variants does the rest. And users are also expecting more and more quality and usability. Stricter legal requirements, standardization through EU directives, international standards and product liability laws also do not simplify the development processes. For example, the machinery directive of the European Union requiresthat technical documentation must always be available in the language of the respective country of use. For international companies, this means that the documents must be translated into all 19 EU languages ​​and be available at all times and at all times. Usually, as the last link in the product life cycle before delivery, the technical documentation is subject to a great deal of time pressure.

“In view of the growing pressure in global competition, these requirements can hardly be met without intelligent editorial software. In addition, in the area of ​​technical documentation, there has been a strong change from mainly print editions to digital formats in recent years,”says Jan-Christian Hach, Dipl. Wi.-Inf. (FH), management of KGU-Consulting GmbH.

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New ways in technical editing

KGU-Consulting GmbH is an IT service company with around 60 employees, which primarily supports manufacturing companies in the design and implementation of software-based information and communication systems. The company developed the Techpub Studio solution for the creation of technical documentation. The authoring environment for technical editing offers the convenience of an editing system (CMS). The XML-based system works on the principle of single source publishing: publications are structured and divided into small, independent content modules. These can then be edited independently of one another. Changes then only apply to small content modules.Thanks to the reusability of the content modules in different publications, new publications can be created more quickly and changes in a content module automatically affect all publications. Thanks to the parallelization in the context of the product development process and the reuse of content modules, documentation can be created quickly.

The internal editor for creating text content plays a key role. The editor for creating XML-based documents also serves as an interface for simply linking content from different sources using drag and drop. In connection with the classification, fragments of a text, for example a sentence, can be assigned to one or more features and variants of a document can thus be formed during publication, for example for the creation of order-related product documentation.

Networked documentation

Techpub Studio is an add-on product to the PLM solution Teamcenter from Siemens PLM Software and is based entirely on it. It uses the functions and the data model as provided by Siemens PLM Software with the Teamcenter content management product.

“Techpub Studio offers a direct connection to Siemens Teamcenter. The authoring environment uses its database and functions such as workflows, versioning and rights management. This enables integrated and comfortable work in local, national and global editorial teams,”explains Patrick Wels, Marketing and Editing, KGU-Consulting. Techpub Studio is the only editorial system on the market that is not an isolated solution. “The connection to Teamcenter eliminates the need to purchase, integrate, train and administer an autonomous system or a new database. In line with the principle of Industry 4.0, technical editing is linked to design and product management. The effort for information gathering, content creation and layout, approval processes,Management of translations and publication of different formats is significantly minimized by this approach. “Thanks to the intelligent interfaces, it is possible to link data, metadata and structural information from product development with the documentation. This can be, for example, parts lists, individual components, assemblies, product details or even CAD data.

A common data source makes it more efficient to create user-oriented documentation for complex and varied products. This link not only makes the technical documentation a full part of the product lifecycle, but it can also be easily integrated into existing workflows and digital project management (Schedule Manager). For the technical editor, there is enormous potential for savings, particularly in the information gathering phase, since he can obtain the required information directly from the database.

Advantages of PLM integration

The integration of the editorial system in the PLM therefore has the following advantages:

  • The cooperation between the technical documentation and other departments in the company, such as product development and construction, is optimized. This makes editors part of the development process.
  • Interdisciplinary communication is improved thanks to the integrated product display, which all departments involved can use. For example, all Teamcenter users work in an engineering BOM (Bill of Materials).
  • The holistic environment reduces the risk of inconsistent or outdated technical documentation - the data is taken from item attributes in Teamcenter and read out during publication. Other formats such as JT can be automatically adopted and inserted.
  • By integrating texts as well as 2D and 3D content directly from the source, i.e. from the design, the quality of customer and training information increases - for example, 3D catalogs can be created quickly.
  • By expanding the in-house Teamcenter PLM backbone, the costs and complexity of the IT landscape are reduced. Thanks to Teamcenter Gateway for SAP, the integration can be further deepened.

Additional information on the topic: Webinar on Techpub Studio

KGU-Consulting offers free webinars that show the basics of Techpub Studio. The editorial system is then presented live. The German version of the webinar will be held on the following dates: October 12th. at 11 a.m., 2.11. at 2 p.m., 11/23 at 11 a.m. and on 14.12. at 14 o 'clock. An informal email to [email protected] is sufficient to register.

Current and target group oriented

Today, technical documentation should always be up-to-date, consistent and target group-oriented. "As mobile documentation is becoming more and more popular, we worked with Siemens on a web app. This is, for example, able to combine responsive maintenance instructions, an interactive spare parts catalog and the appropriate web shop link. Depending on their previous knowledge, the service technician can quickly and directly get the information they need,”says Patrick Wels. The order can be triggered directly - conveniently and time-efficiently. Technical communication thus benefits from deep integration in many ways. This also includes traceability. “The creation of the technical documentation should be seen today as part of a PLM strategy. It is an integral part of a product.As such, it must be saved together with the product so that it can still be researched in 30 years which product was delivered in which configuration with which documentation,”emphasizes Jan-Christian Hach.

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