Though the project of TID Informatik GmbH and PVA Crystal Growing Systems GmbH is still considered a pilot, CATALOGcreator®, the software for electronic spare parts catalogs and service-information systems has proved highly promising right from the start.
PVA TePla AG in Wettenberg near Gießen has 500 employees worldwide and is extraordinarily successful with branches in Singapore, China and America. Various high-tech companies belong to PVA TePla AG. SPA Software Entwicklungs GmbH joined PVA TePla in 2018. Another example is PVA TePla Crystal Growing Systems GmbH (PVA CGS GmbH). The subsidiary develops machines for complex crystal-growing processes, e.g. the Czochralski (Cz) or the Physical Vapor Transport (PVT) process. The subsidiary operates two assembly sites in Wettenberg and Jena. PVA CGS GmbH has been producing crystal growing systems for 60 years and has distinguished itself as a technology leader in the market. PVA is a high-revenue division within the PVA TePla group.
The high complexity of the machines developed and distributed by PVA CGS GmbH represents a major challenge in the provision of spare-parts and wear-parts packages for end users and services. Since after-sales is an important pillar of PVA CGS GmbH, excellent service and straightforward procurement of spare parts and wear parts are crucial for sales generation.
The promising demo catalog of TID Informatik GmbH aroused interest on the part of PVA CGS GmbH. Sabine Klutkowsky, who manages the introduction of CATALOGcreator® at PVA CGS GmbH, reports on her first points of contact with the standard software for electronic spare part catalogs and service-information systems by TID Informatik GmbH: “When I saw the demo catalog on the homepage, I was immediately on fire. CATALOGcreator® has broken into open doors.” During a sales presentation on-premises, wishes and expectations were specified in more detail. Compared to the previous technical documentation approach, CATALOGcreator® presents all contents in a simple and clear-cut way. “With CATALOGcreator®, we had found a new perfect solution for spare parts catalogs before we even knew it was necessary.”
Due to the complexity of the machines, the effort to provide clearly arranged spare-part lists is extremely high. The largest machine consists of 9,000 parts and weighs several tons. Since the underlying technology is exceptionally complex, part identification by end user has been difficult at times.
Though the introduction of spare parts catalog software had not been one of the company’s top priorities, the plethora of benefits provided by CATALOGcreator® for PVA CGS GmbH quickly became visible upon presentation of the prototype catalog. At this occasion, the value that the software for electronic spare parts catalog and service-information systems would add to the entire PVA TePla group became evident.
Increasing productivity is a key goal, managed by Andreas Wollmann, Team Leader Technical Services. This includes correct and fast, i.e. efficient, identification of spare parts and, as a result, good service and flawless delivery to the end customer.
Following the positive evaluation of the prototype catalog with corporate data, the Proof of Concept (PoC) kick-off took place at the end of 2018. A PoC analyzes data structures and prepares a catalog publication that is as automated as possible. The first milestone on the project agenda was an offline solution for the spare parts catalog. Further steps for online publication on the intranet were taken in close cooperation with Sales, the project teams, and IT.
Thanks to the 3D workflow, the process from the 3D CAD model to the 2D illustration is fully automated. The new and highly compressed layout of the 3D models based on Lattice’s WebGL technology is one of the highlights of the solution, since it makes graphic navigation in CATALOGcreator® extremely easy. “CATALOGcreator® perfectly copes with the challenge to display all information of the complex spare-parts and wear-parts packages,” explains Andreas Wollmann.
Once the web catalog had been implemented, LDAP connectivity was added for company-wide catalog publication on the intranet. Though primarily intended for external use by customers, this makes the functionality and benefits of CATALOGcreator® available to the entire corporation.
Experience and Outlook
Implementation will take place at PVA CGS GmbH with in-depth testing of the functionality. If the results of the pilot project with TID are positive CATALOGcreator® will be rolled out to the remaining subsidiaries of the PVA TePla Group. Andreas Wollmann and Sabine Klutkowsky are convinced that this could soon become a reality.
PVA CGS GmbH thus will be the first subsidiary to use software for electronic spare parts and service portals at PVA TePla. The pilot project clearly shows the potential of CATALOGcreator®.
Sabine Klutkowsky from PVA CGS GmbH is enthusiastic about the ease of operation and the clear-cut user interface. Even if extensive background preparation is required the software allows end users to use it intuitively. CATALOGcreator® easily identifies and arranges the corresponding parts and provides a smooth customer experience.
Andreas Wollmann envisages a common data structure for the near future, including the integration of external machines in CATALOGcreator®. One of the next planning goals is to package and provide custom spare parts for customers. The catalog will be available both to end customers and within the company and will significantly simplify the ordering procedure.
The pilot project will further evaluate the capabilities of the software and how data and parts lists can be used in CATALOGcreator®. Simple operation despite data complexity is crucial. The pilot project will further focus on the feasibility of the modules intended for use in CATALOGcreator® and on the tasks on the joint agenda with TID.
“Our vision is to give our customers a tool that identifies all spare parts and wear parts for their machines fast and with maximum ease of use and orders these parts from us. TID’s competence and expertise demonstrated during the implementation is outstanding and amazing”, Sabine Klutkowsky concludes.
In view of the way, CATALOGcreator® has paved with the pilot project, more subsidiaries of the PVA TePla Group will follow suit very soon.