By Madeleine Neisler

The lifecycle of an engineering design does not simply and solely occur within the space of a single person’s scope of work, rather it is an essential part of both the Product Lifecycle and downstream Supply Chain processes. Throughout the entire process – from inception to production, distribution and consumption – designs generate data including documents and the information they contain which are key elements to manufacturing organizations.

Recently we hosted a two part series specifically showcasing The Digital Paper Factory, Efficiently Engineered a joint webinar with CIDEON partner SEAL Systems. This two part session features our very own Christoph Fischer – Strategic Business Partner, SAP ECTR/PLM, CIDEON America and David Salamanek – Managing Director, SEAL Systems. You can watch the replay at the link above in under 10 minutes.

This session focuses on the concepts behind the Digital Paper Factory including how to successfully design and save drawings, appropriately secure them with corporate regulatory information and signature history, as well as automatically connect and allocate them with all essential SAP business processes including:

  • Create, manage & control engineering design data
  • Store documents and data in SAP DMS
  • Build relevant links (DIR, Material, BOM’s)
  • Watermarks, stamps and signatures • Link to SAP business processes (Maintenance, Purchasing, etc.)
  • Securely distribute automatically to customers and vendors Join us on October 11 for the follow-up presentation showing how to create master data and link it inside SAP for useful workflows and distribution to cutomers and suppliers.

Just imagine if you were, for example, to be able to assemble the chair in the image below without the need for assembly instructions and/or drawings? It could be difficult, and with a more complex product, potentially impossible. The drawing below is a key assembly element containing vital information to properly assemble the chair for safety and longevity as well as within warranty specifications.

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An engineering drawing is technical drawing, used to physically represent requirements by tangibly describing the engineering work, providing communication between the designer and the manufacturer. However, without a viewing strategy, these documents are viewable only with the native CAD software. These designs play a vital role in production, assembly, and beyond.

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Product data is extremely important and is the foundation of the enterprise. It is essential throughout the process – from defining the product, purchasing materials, working with customers and partners on the end result, assessing manufacturability, servicing the product (including in the field), etc.

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So how do we ensure that all information is accurate? Updated in real-time? Accessible to the enterprise?

One component is the CIDEON Conversion Engine, an enterprise solution that runs on SAP in the background based on the engineering design workflow – to automatically convert CAD documents to neutral formats and make them accessible in SAP. See the above diagram.

Within the above diagram you can see that the engineering CAD software produces, as part of the engineering documentation, a drawing. Although it is a standard engineering process, the document is only viewable to those with the CAD software. How do we change this? In order to ensure accessibility and viewable rights across the enterprise (to authorized users) the drawing is picked up automatically by the CIDEON Conversion Engine, converted to a PDF, stamped and watermarked with SAP meta-data and ultimately stored in SAP. Once that happens, purchasing and manufacturing can view the documents. This solution is automated, eliminating room for manual error!

Taking a more in depth look at the drawing, you can see all the detail in the drawing and all the SAP meta-data it contains – which needs to be published on the neutrally created PDF. The meta-data is visible within the titleblock – containing such information as logo, title, SAP material master, drawing number, version or revision number, user information as well as other attributes. Essentially the neutral PDF is equivalent to the chair instructions we saw earlier. This enables automation.

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That was part one of the product development and product lifecycle processes.

Now let us look at the output of these documents using SAP. This is part two – SEAL Output Management.

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This can be either internal within company operations, or external to customers and suppliers. The distribution of this information can sometimes require additional effort and output controls are not always clearly defined. Output Management is essentially the middleware which closes the gap between the application layer and multi-channel output. Ultimately it ensures everything goes to the right place. Document Control is the foundation!

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Ultimately proper Output Management requires…

  • Collecting all facets of information from the starting modules
  • Identifying and bringing in the drawings and attachments
  • Delivering a completed package that is page numbered and stamped to its proper destination

This ensures that the job was done right from start to finish. Tune in soon for the recap of part two. In the meantime, check out the CIDEON America YouTube channel with tons of relevant content, demonstrations, testimonials, and more.