Engineering drawings, data and document control systems

A good product, well-documented, is better than an excellent product that's poorly documented. Why? Because product profitability relies on efficient replication of the original design.

Engineering drawings and engineering data

While most engineers enjoy the process of getting to the first working model, few employers view that as sufficient. Instead, engineers' efforts are useful only when the design has been captured in engineering drawings and supporting engineering data because:

  • Engineering drawings describe how to consistently reproduce the design. Consistent reproduction is essential, since it forms the basis for product improvements and production efficiency.
  • Engineering data proves that the product conforms to the original design goals. Proof of conformance is important to both internal stakeholders (marketing, accounting, production) and external groups (distributors, customers, service providers, regulatory agencies).

But simply creating engineering drawings and recording engineering data is insufficient. To be useful, engineering drawings and engineering data must be stored, reviewed and approved, published and maintained. In other words, engineering drawings and data require engineering document control.

Document control for engineering drawings

Document control for engineering drawings is comprised of both document attributes and a defined control process.

Engineering drawings, including technical documents such as specifications, procedures, will usually have these attributes:

  • Owning organization, which is ultimately responsible for the document content.
  • Document identification through the use of a document numbering system
  • Title or description
  • Document revision or other indication of a specific design iteration
  • Author(s), reviewer(s) and/or others who created the information
  • And, of course, the appropriate technical information necessary to fulfill their purpose

A document control process consists of a set of procedures for creating and maintaining the attributes of engineering drawings. Engineering drawing management processes include business rules that define:

  • Which engineering drawing types are supported, and the contents and format of each type
  • How engineering drawings are identified (e.g., owner, number, revision, title)
  • Who is responsible for creating, reviewing and approving engineering drawings
  • When engineering drawings may be released to interested parties
  • The conditions under which existing engineering drawings are revised, replaced or canceled
  • How obsolete engineering drawings are controlled, recalled or destroyed

Engineering drawings that reflect a consistent set of attributes, and are controlled using a documented set of procedures, significantly reduce product costs by simplifying design, sourcing, production, customer adoption and field service. PDXpert PLM software offers these precise advantages.

Engineering data management policies

In addition to managing the formal engineering drawings, a complete engineering document control system will manage the "background" information that is the basis for the engineering drawings. This engineering data may include a wide variety of electronic files which are saved in a file library (or "vault"):

  • Product capabilities & functional requirements
  • Budget estimates, production volume assumptions, and development schedules
  • Suppliers' component datasheets
  • Product performance tests and qualification results
  • Alternative design data
  • Notes, calculations and other written communications

A complete engineering drawing management environment encourages archiving as much "organizational knowledge" as possible. The ideal system captures all the data that would allow performance analysis, field diagnostics, and incremental design improvements over the entire product life cycle.

Engineering document control using PDXpert PLM software

Engineering drawing management capabilities should include efficient methods for creating design document and part data records, managing assembly structures, storing electronic file attachments, and processing engineering change forms.

PLM software review

PDXpert PLM software provides a comprehensive set of engineering document control capabilities that in-house solutions can't match. From revision-based electronic file management in a centralized data library to change workflow that encourages detailed design reviews, PDXpert PLM software solves many of the document control challenges that face growing companies.

PDXpert PLM software provides these engineering document control capabilities:

  • pre-defined, extensible part and drawing types with default attributes
  • fast, attribute-driven engineering drawing and part record searches
  • content searches of common file types such as Word, Excel, and PDF
  • rules-based item number assignment, which support simple sequential assignments, intelligent part numbers, and tabulated drawing schemes
  • flexible item revision rules, including optional pre- and post-production formats
  • drag-and-drop object construction for quickly defining document relationships and building part assemblies
  • engineering drawing, part, BOM and design file release management with change approval workflow

These functions translate directly into real benefits including increased sales revenue through faster engineering drawing releases; lower product costs by instantly displaying the most current engineering drawings and parts; and lower administrative overhead by allowing users to attach important supporting engineering data directly to document records.

PDXpert PLM software: Controlling more than engineering drawings & data

As engineering departments' requirements have expanded, engineering drawing management solutions have become more sophisticated. Product lifecycle management software is the evolutionary descendant of simple "engineering drawing control" software.

PDXpert PLM software provides the necessary engineering drawing management capabilities and, equally important, automates and enforces the many processes necessary for good engineering data management. And, PDXpert PLM software goes beyond just engineering document control by including the functions essential for managing the complete product design life cycle, such as part records, bills of materials, engineering changes, and materials composition.

And it's all done within a simple and flexible software application.

Learn how PDXpert PLM manages your engineering drawings & data

PDXpert PLM software has been specifically designed for growing companies making the transition from inefficient and costly manual document control processes to a modern engineering data management tool.

Discover how PDXpert PLM can handle your engineering drawings and engineering data. We invite you to:

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