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Systems of complex automation of processing of technical documentation (TDM – Technical Data Management) as means of improvement of quality of activity
System of electronic technical document circulation – one of the major components of automation of process of designing and designing. In industrially developed countries they are used by almost all companies occupied with working out of the design documentation. And interest to such systems grows in Russia.    

The experts who are engaged in a choice of the software, obviously, simple references to foreign experience will not satisfy. And the prepared user has questions why so the specialised software for support of the electronic document circulation is necessary, what functions are carried out by similar systems and in what their advantage.

To understand, why specialised means of support of electronic document circulation are necessary, we will try to depict sources of occurrence of a problem: first, than transition to the electronic documentation is favourable, secondly, for what the control system of documents is necessary and, at last, how introduction of similar system helps an exit of production of the enterprise on the international market.

Let's consider transition to electronic documents.

Transition from paper documents to electronic is a way to receive direct economy of means. Documents as any thing used in the course of designing and manufacture, introduce the share of expenses in operational expenses of the enterprise are expenses on working out, distribution, storage, the press and dispatch of documents. The means leaving for year on processing of paper documents in one only United States, for example, come nearer to billion dollars. So it is quite clear to pass as soon as possible desire of the enterprises to electronic documents.

Let's list the most obvious problems of paper archive disappearing with transition to modern technologies of electronic document circulation:
- Paper drawings take a lot of place, their storage is badly systematised; frequently it is necessary to find in paper storehouse of the big works the necessary information. Electronic drawings do not demand any premises, are found more effectively and faster.
- Paper drawings “grow old” also spoil at storage – electronic images “are eternal” term of their life is almost unlimited.
- Duplicating and dispatch of paper drawings – labour-consuming and not cheap operation: for time necessary for copying of one paper drawing, it is possible to dispatch set of free copies of electronic drawings on a network.
- Paper drawings are lost. By an expert estimation, cannot be used from five to seven percent of technical materials: they are lost or dismantled. Reserve copying of contained electronic archive and introduction of the automated discipline of access to the information relieves of similar troubles.
- The paper limits data presentation possibilities. A drawing, the text – and everything whereas electronic documents can contain 3D-models, hyperlinks on the connected materials (for example to connect the text and graphic documentation), attributes and parametres which can be taken other program, a sound, video, etc.

Transition to the electronic form of storage of documents is combined enough also roads. Nevertheless, decrease in expenses on storage and duplicating of documents, acceleration of search and increase of efficiency of use of the information, and as a result reduction of time of business process (designing, the coordination, negotiating) and improvement of quality of performance of works are so obvious that outweigh all objections. It is no wonder that the share of electronic documents for last three years has grown with 29 to 44 percent. By estimations of the western experts, the parity of paper and electronic documents will make in five years 50 for 50 percent, and through ten – 30 on 70. Now the quantity of electronic documents for a year doubles, and paper – grows only for 7 percent.

Let's consider management of electronic documents.

Modern document circulation of the enterprise when the considerable quantity of documents is developed and stored in a kind of computer files, demands also the special software helping realisation of procedures of storage, working out and documentation distribution.

The traditional management methods paper documents developed for many years and regulated by statutory acts, do not allow to provide passage, the coordination, safety and confidentiality of electronic information streams of the enterprise in a due measure. In particular, because at transition to computer technology of processing of the information of the enterprise face problems which were not and could not be considered existing instructions and positions.

Use of computer technologies essentially increases speed of working out of the documentation that is in many respects connected with possibility of collective work on documents. On the other hand, the risk of unapproved or simultaneous access and, hence, damage, loss, inconsistency or information destruction repeatedly increases. This danger is especially serious in the presence of the local network, giving the chance the distributed storage and access to documents. The second consequence of increase of productivity – especially at introduction scanner technologies of reception of electronic documents – is all an increasing stream of files with the information which are necessary for considering, indexing, bringing in catalogues. To overcome these difficulties it is possible, using management software electronic document circulation.

Let's consider certification under standards ISO 9000.

If the enterprise plans to leave for the world market in addition it should be certificated on conformity to standards of series ISO 9000 defining the requirements to working out, to testing and production support. Only in Europe such certification has passed already about 100 000 companies.

Introduction of systems of automation of technical document circulation and management of the design data considerably simplifies process of certification of the enterprise on conformity to requirements of standards of series ISO 9000. As it is known, this group of standards defines only the general provisions which practical realisation is left to the discretion of the enterprise.

Reduction of a control system by quality at the enterprise with requirements ISO 9000 goes to conformity in following basic directions:
- working out of a set of organizational rules which establish requirements to quality system. This management is supplemented with the auxiliary documents in details describing separate problems;
- development of procedure of introduction of a control system by quality and appointment of responsibles;
- preparation of detailed duty regulations and definition of a circle of the problems demanding the decision;
- documenting of processes of working out of the documentation and manufacture of a product, results of the control.

Modern control systems of document circulation allow to differentiate access to documents and projects. And, hence, to define the actions resolved to these or those user in relation to the concrete document (editing, viewing, copying, removal). These possibilities also meet requirements of standards ISO 9000.

Standards ISO 9000 demand, that all changes in the maintenance and other updatings of documents before coming into force, have been identified, documented, checked up and approved by the authorised employees. The standard assumes also that before use documents and the data should be looked through and checked by them on adequacy.

Thanks to the built in functions of differentiation of access rights and protection of documents, to recording of actions of users, preservation of routes of passage of documents, control systems of document circulation practically in full automatically meet the resulted requirements. In absence of a control system of documents process of certification of the enterprise seriously becomes complicated.

Let's consider three components of complex system of automation of processing of technical documentation.

In a general view the complex system of automation of processing of technical documentation (in the western terminology TDM – Technical Data Management) consists of following basic parts:
- subsystems of management of documents (electronic archive);
- data control subsystems about projects/products (in the western terminology PDM-Product Data Management);
- subsystems of routeing of documents and works (Workflow).

Let's consider more in detail features of three basic subsystems TDM and we will illustrate their appointment to system Search Net example (the Belarus company INTERMEH) which is one of the most widespread systems in Russia technical document circulation.

Search represents the system of corporate level intended for the decision of following problems:
- PDM – Product Data Management;
- PLM – Product Lifecycle Management;
- TDM – Technical Data Management;
- Workflow;
- Project Management.

Let's consider a subsystem of management of documents (electronic archive).

Kernel of any electronic document circulation – a subsystem of management of documents. The electronic archive represents a database in which the system stores documents and a card file with the information necessary for search of documents, – the designation, the name, a format etc. Files of documents are stored on servers that allows to get to them the authorised access from any computer in a network.

Let's consider paper documents.

Except the documents created on the computer in the form of files, in archive the information on the documents executed on paper and other data carriers is brought. Paper documents the same as also file, have cards of parametres and signatures, but as they cannot be kept in electronic form, in archive the text information on a place of storage of the document registers only.

Let's consider multifile documents.

As a rule, the electronic document represents one file which is created and edited by the concrete editor, without demanding the additional information for display and printing. Happens, however, that for full representation of the information containing in the document, it is not enough one file. In this case create multifile documents to which it is possible to carry:
- the hybrid raster-vector drawings received by scanning of paper documents;
- multisheet drawings;
- drawings with an additional file of remarks (redlining);
- drawings with the built in references to other files of drawings etc.

In all these cases it is possible to allocate the main file of the document on which files with the additional information are applied.

Let's consider search of documents in archive.

For fast search in archive of necessary documents Search provides:
- sorting of documents of archive according to various parametres;
- fast search of the document in the several first letters any of its parametres;
- search in structure of the projects which are let out under documents of archive;
- search in presence at documents of digital signatures;
- search of the documents which are at present in archive, and the documents taken on change by any user/users;
- search in various characteristics of files of documents – a template of a name of a file, the filter on dates etc.;
- search in the maintenance of files of documents – search substring in a file of the document, etc.

Found any of the listed ways, and also their combination, it is possible to keep all in archive in the form of sample of documents. It make as manually – of the list of the documents which have been selected arbitrarily, and automatically – by the criteria of selection of documents set by the user. It is possible and the combined variant.

Samples can be the general, that is accessible to all users, and personal – accessible only to their founders. Use samples allows to be guided easily in a considerable quantity of documents of archive, and also to no small degree accelerates work Search.

Samples of documents

Let's consider management of access to documents.

One of the highest priorities at system engineering – safety of documents at their storage in the multiuser network archive. The decision of this problem in electronic archive Search of a steel:
- the special archival storehouse of files excluding access to documents bypassing Search;
- a subsystem of the control of access of users to documents.

The mechanism of differentiation of the rights of users is put in a basis of a subsystem of the control on access to various archives of the enterprise and documents which are stored in them. At the disposal of the manager of archive there are the tools, allowing to allow or forbid various users to make access principal views: to open archive and to look through its card file; to look through, change documents of archive and the maintenance of their cards; to delete, create, move documents.

Let's consider authorisation and access monitoring to archive.

Area of protection of documents of archive concerns and magazine conducted by system where all basic operations (and also attempts of their fulfilment) users with documents register: viewing of a card file of archive, viewing and editing of the document or its card, creation and document removal, its statement, moving from one archive in another... The Information contains all history of work of users in this magazine with the document, and also to the statistican of work with archive of various users.

Let's consider work with mobile users.

Possibility of work with mobile users allows to export a necessary part of archive of system on the separate computer – for example, on the laptop equipped with the copy of archival system, but not connected by a local network with the general archive. The same means give the chance to make return operation – to import contents of mobile archive in the general archival system of the enterprise.

Magazine of registration of events

Let's consider support of networks Intranet/Internet.

The appendices written for work in local networks, cannot work in global networks because of too slow communication lines, therefore still two-three years ago the majority of the western systems of document circulation has got the modules providing access to uniform storehouse of documents of the enterprise from global networks Internet/Intranet. Utility Search Remote Client, allowing to get access to the documents stored in archives Search, directly from a Web-browser:
- gives the chance access to documents from any computer connected to a global network, irrespective of its geographical arrangement;
- uses for work with documents any hardware platform and an operating system;
- publishes the description of products let out at the enterprise directly in Internet;
- does not demand installation on the client computer of anything, except a Web-browser;
- practically does not demand training to work with system if the user is able to work with a Web-browser.

Let's consider control facilities the data about projects/products (PDM).

Systems PDM serve for management of the information on a product and the design data throughout all life cycle of a product. They deal basically with the attributive information on objects.

These means allow to connect documents with structure of a product and to supervise process of designing of a product (object). They give the chance to display visually structure of a product and the documents connected with objects, and also to build various reports (specifications, sheets of purchased details, etc.) according to requirements of the Russian and international standards.

In system Search 5.0 in parallel with archive of documents the database of products/projects created at the enterprise is conducted.

The information gets to this database from specifications stored in archive and drawings. Having read the specification, Search writes down the list of elements used in it and remembers their applicability. Simultaneously with it Search makes in enterprise archive (more precisely, in all available archives) search of documents on products used in the specification, automatically connecting the found documents with records of the specification and the products brought in a database, assemblages, details, complete sets etc.

At creation by users of new documents, and also at entering in archive already available, Search it is verified with a database of projects/products and if finds in it corresponding record, automatically connects the project with the document placed in archive.

Let's consider project structure.

Except the list of all projects developed at the enterprise, Search allows to receive the information on structure of let out products with possibility “disclosings” structure of the project and drawing up of the full list of documents entering into the project. The information on project structure can be printed in the form of the report.

Let's consider a visual analyzer of structure of the project.

To receive full representation about the project graphic visualisation of structure will help: the scheme of communications of a product with projects/documents at the enterprise.

Working with the scheme of communications of the project, the user can look through also cards entering into it, to make navigation under the chosen projects/documents in other windows Search, to increase or reduce image scale...

Visualization of structure of the project

Let's consider a subsystem of routeing of documents and works.

This module provides possibility of group work on the project – delivery of working tasks and the control of their execution, transfer of documents and working inquiries one user to another, dispatch of messages and notices.

At work with engineering specifications the question of support of the documentation throughout all life cycle of products let out by the enterprise is very important. Change of design and technological documents is strictly regulated by standards, demands release of special documents (notices on changes), strict procedures of the coordination of all changes and frequently working out and release of the documentation occupies more time, than. The subsystem of routeing of documents and works incurs automation of this party of process of designing.

The basic functions of document circulation are carried out by the special module of routeing of documents – an integral part of electronic archive. The module allows to describe basic routes of passage of documents operating at the enterprise and to start them in work. For the task of logic of document circulation in Search special language of a router which consists of a set of commands in Russian is used and does not demand from users of any special knowledge.

Having supplied a route with comments, having established control terms of performance and having attached to a route necessary documents, the user starts it.

Let's consider graphic annotation and viewing of documents.

In the course of the coordination of documents the router allows to bring in them remarks and comments, to return documents to the sender for completion or correction of errors. There is an additional possibility for the drawings created in system AutoCAD: entering of remarks “a red pencil” directly in the field of the drawing, and the file of the drawing remains without changes. This possibility is provided a part Search with the program of fast viewing of drawings.

The control of execution of the task

Let's consider the control of execution of tasks.

For the control over passage of documents on routes, and also behind execution of tasks, in Search the system of priorities of tasks and installation of control terms of their performance is used. Possibility of tracking course of execution is provided, behind movement of documents in the course of routeing – who from users has at present a task, whether it is read etc.

Let's consider typical routes of documents.

Considering that more often users use the same routes of documents, the manager of system can create the list of most often used routes. In this case usual users should not study router language at all – to choose a necessary route from the list enough.

Let's consider benefits from introduction of software of management by electronic document circulation.

Benefits from introduction of software of management by electronic document circulation can even move economy from decrease in operational expenses on processing of the paper documentation as such means promote putting in order in the course of designing, conduct to improvement of quality of performance of construction work and consequently, and to increase of competitiveness of the enterprise that allows to increase output, to receive new orders and to earn money.

With system of electronic document circulation you receive:
- reliable storage of documents – considerably decreases probability of loss of the document or access to it of the persons who do not have on it the right;
- fast search of documents – it is not necessary spend for it any more not that that hours, but even minutes;
- increase of a degree of service of customers at the expense of decrease in time of performance of work and reduction of quantity of errors;
- the automated control of creation and safety of new versions of the documents, excluding errors in their identification;
- approach to standards ISO 9000 at the expense of possibility of introduction of the automated and standardised procedures of management of documents;
- possibility to receive the actual information on the project status (a condition of working out, loading and activity of employees);
- planning of loading of employees by work;
- automation of typical procedures (parallel working out of a product, carrying out of changes, construction of various reports under the project, etc.).

1. Lebedev I. Systems of electronic technical document circulation: three sources, three components and weight of benefits//CADmaster, #3, 2000 []
2. Intermech Search []

The author: Челябэнергопроект
Date: 07/22/2009

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