Bühler Druckguss AG: 3D-spare parts catalogues do away with paper

The Bühler Druckguss AG is a leading manufacturer of aluminium pressure die casting machines. The creation of their spare parts catalogues on paper involved an elaborate process. The introduction of a new machine generation, completely developed in 3D CAD, was to revolutionise the creation of spare parts catalogues. As a result, the project had two main objectives: To get rid of paper catalogues and being able to make continuous use of 3D data.

Starting point

So far, the spare parts catalogs were inside a database application containing parts lists and 2D drawings which were constantly updated. As the catalogue could not be enhanced by adding an ordering facility, a new solution had to be found. All spare parts had to be managed in a central database using SAP and published in the catalogue.

Bühler – a technology company leading worldwide

Bühler is a worldwide specialist and technology partner for machines, installations and services processing cereals and food and producing high quality materials. The company is a market leader for flour production, feed processing, pasta and chocolate products and aluminium pres-sure die casting.

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Bühler operates in more than 140 countries and employs 7,500 people worldwide. The global service organisation with 1,500 employees supports the customers anywhere, any time and throughout the installation’s life time.

Requirements

Customers expect from Bühler Druckguss AG spare parts catalogues that are easy and intuitively to handle allowing quick and positive identification of spare parts. It is important that each machine is allocated an individual catalogue representing the asbuilt condition up to 100%.

Continuous use of data by means of automated and integrated processes was to reduce the efforts involved in creating the catalogues to a minimum.

Bühler’s prime interest is always the protection of intelligent property, the 3D models in the catalogues have to be protected against abuse and re-use, and it should not be possible to use them to access constructional know-how.

Solution

The order specific product structure stored in a SAP/iBase is used as a basis for the spare parts catalogue.Via a fully automatic server process coupled with the 3D release, the 3D models are converted in the XVL format of Lattice Technologies Inc. and then checked into the SAP/PLM. As a result, the XVL models are also available to all entitled company personnel for other purposes – even beyond the spare part catalogue.

The enormous compression ratios of the XVL technology from 0.2 up to 0.5 % of the original file size allow perfect use of the 3D models, also in the internet. TID Informatik’s sophisticated security concept prevents the XVL models from being used for more than just identification of spare parts. The Intranet provides worldwide catalogue access by Bühler’s customer service and spare parts department. Customers receive identical catalogues on CD together with the machines.

At Bühler Druckguss AG they were instantly enthusiastic both about CATALOGcreator® and XVL-Technology and that is why they refrained from insisting on a time and costconsuming evaluation.

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Outlook

In future, customers are to have access to the catalogues via a customer portal. In these catalogues, customers should be able to locate dynamic information such as individual prices and availability. The next step involves integration of circuits in the spare parts catalogues.

Conclusion

Bühler Druckguss AG only uses the standard software. No additional programming was required. Using CATALOGcreator® in combination with the XVL-technology resulted in the following:

  • Paper catalogues were no longer required
  • Catalogue creation is virtually completely automatic
  • Direct use of the construction master data significantly improved the quality of the catalogues
  • Identification of spare parts with 3D models has become considerably easier compared to the old 2D catalogues.
  • Both the customer and service technician benefit from the 3D models because, for instance, assembly situations have been visualised

„Using TID Informatik we have found an innovative and reliable partner whose products and co-operation bring us forward. Following data export from SAP, the process chain was completed in a very short time and with little effort. The processes are very stable and easily mastered. I think that the processing speed of CATALOGcreator®, when creating catalogues, is really impressive”, said Sacha Düring, the group’s documentation manager at Bühler.

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