Document Management in Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical and plant engineering like any other industry has to deal with ever-increasing volumes of data and documents. Being able to control them is a critical factor in achieving cost-effectiveness. But document management is more than just tagging documents and archiving them in a common location. It is really about structures that connect these documents and about maintaining a formalized document control process that meets the specific requirements of the industry.

Document management in the file system
Many companies today rely on the Microsoft Windows file system to manage their project documents. They store their documents in folders that were manually organized into trees. This is an error-prone and time-consuming process that makes it extremely difficult to find and retrieve documents, especially when they were filed by someone else. Frequently, these documents are accidentally moved to the wrong folder and, just as frequently, the same documents can be found in multiple locations throughout the folder tree. This makes it impossible to determine if a document has been changed, resulting in change conflicts and activities that are based on obsolete documents.

Document management in conventional DMS solutions
Document management systems or digital archives use tags to accelerate the retrieval of documents. And they are also able to prevent change conflicts and data redundancy.

What these system cannot do, however, is to mirror the structure of a machine in a way that is independent of the document. This proves to be a major disadvantage for engineering teams who are used to working and thinking in project and product structures. When accessing the description of an installed pump, for example, they need to know exactly how many times it has been installed and where. Document characteristics or tags are simply not able to provide this kind of information.

Document management with DMStec-type solutions
DMStec-type DMS solutions are able to reflect the structures of a product, plant, or project in a way that is independent of the documents and to then store the documents in the context of these structures. This is done by means of references. Any changes to a document are applied exclusively at the source, which means they are available everywhere.
The fundamental principle of DMStec provides the basis for the automatic creation of machinery and project files. Since these structures can also hold documents associated with the lifecycle of machines, plants, and projects, the static machine file becomes a dynamic lifecycle file once delivery is complete.

About the image: The DMStec structure component also provides the basis for professional and transparent document control.