At Bosch, hundreds of documents are created each day. Many of these documents have an official nature and need to be made available for use within the global Bosch community. Most of these documents are prepared digitally. So why not keep documents digitally whenever possible or scan existing hardcopies back into systems to allow them to be managed digitally? To enable digital management, documents need to be able to communicate what they are and what they contain. Self-contained, descriptive meta information is a good way of supporting registration processes. Note that the information contained in this document primarily applies to the situation as it is in my own division. Other Bosch divisions have the same – or at least similar – requirements but may have found other solutions. This fact demonstrates the federalistic approach at Bosch that allows each division to optimize individual solutions but forces consistency in general matters or if interfaces are affected. Thus, a CC solution described here may just be one example of several solutions that already exist at Bosch. It will, however, give an idea of the approach we take to meet a requirement.
The Bosch Group
Key Figures (2008)
The total sales revenue of the Bosch Group – with 281,000 associates around the world – is approximately 45 billion euros in total. A considerable 59% of this sum is generated in the field of automotive technology, not that I wish to undermine the value of the other 41% that realized within the non-automotive business sectors (all data is taken from the Annual Report 2008). Importantly, Bosch is where our customers are! 292 manufacturing sites all over the world supply our products.
Products & Sectors (2008)
Bosch offers a very wide range of products in non-automotive sectors:
- Bosch Industrial Technology offers products in the fields of automation and packaging technology.
- The Consumer Goods divisions provide power tools (incl. garden tools) and thermo and household appliances.
- The Building Technology division supports private and public safety by providing various security systems.
However, the major part of our sales revenue is generated in the field of Automotive Technology. With a wide range of automotive-related products, the Bosch Automotive Technology division is organized into several business sectors:
- Automotive Aftermarket
- Automotive Electronics
- Chassis Systems Brakes
- Chassis Systems Control
- Car Multimedia
- Diesel Systems
- Electrical Drives
- Gasoline Systems
- Starter motors and Generators
Automotive Technology Products
Bosch offers a very wide range of products in the automotive sector…
…to help cars speed into the future:
- Starter motors
- Control, injection, and ignition systems for all kinds of propellants (gasoline, diesel, ethanol, gases) and exhaust gas treatment systems
…to support the driver and for the comfort of passengers:
- Steering systems
- Thermal management and air-conditioning systems
- Wiper systems
- Electrical actuators
- Navigation systems and car radios
- Body electronics
…for active safety and deceleration:
- Antilock, traction control, and vehicle stability systems
- Driver assistance systems
- Basic brake equipment
…and – not least – for passive safety:
- Airbag control systems
Documents at Bosch – Data Types (Standard)
Let’s get to the heart of the matter: In order to record the required information with regard to our products, hundreds of documents are generated day by day.
These documents may comprise a wide variety of possible document types (according to the Bosch standard, these types can be: Drawing, parts list, technical data sheet, and more): These documents are of an official nature (e.g. they form the basis for the work of other departments or divisions or even of third parties) and therefore need to be kept, archived, and made available to users within the CC community in the required version and at short notice. A modern way to store such data is to use a digital system.
Source of CC Data – DocMaster
The digital document management system at CC is called DocMaster.
Schematic & Key Data 2008
DocMaster was first introduced in 1992
- Up to now, 586,258 documents have been made available within CC
- DocMaster consists of a database plus a file share for storing the documents
- A DocMaster front end makes it easy for the 2,112 active users to easily find the stored document they need. In 2008, there were 663,070 successful searches!
- Found documents can be displayed using the Bosch standard 2D viewer
- Access management at user, product, and document-type level protects our know-how
- DocMaster registers documents coming from any source system using one common input share. Documents are accepted in neutral format (mainly CALS and PDF).
- DocMaster also offers an output interface that allows documents to be sent to remote DocMaster locations or forwarded to SAP Systems
Advantages of DocMaster Archive
DocMaster (alongside SAP) is the one-and-only source for documents for the CC World that allows the engineering, manufacturing, and other departments to access data quickly and easily. An authorization concept at user level handles access to data.
Several (primary) data formats such as CALS and PDF are supported. A single common import process is used for document registration and documents are derived from several source systems such as CAD, Office, scanners, etc.
The availability time span for registered documents amounts to the product lifecycle + the official archiving period. This results in periods of up to ~35 years but in practice documents are kept without an expiry date.
Similar solutions are used in parallel at Bosch, such as DS-Raster and FUP. These systems have one thing in common with DocMaster: Registered documents need to have a contained metadata set (the paragraphs below explain what a metadata set is).
Bosch Metadata Set
Data (documents) managed in digital systems cannot rely solely on the meta information knowledge of surrounding systems to communicate what they are, what they contain, and where they belong. In particular for the document registration processes in document management systems, it is necessary to employ means that allow the easy identification of data – without a need for manual interpretation.
An identification process can easily identify documents if individual descriptive key information is contained therein. Contained descriptive information has to be coded using prescribed coding rules.
This means that even documents found in a different location and out of context can be re-registered.
Descriptive Data: Metadata Set (according to Bosch standard)
Descriptive key information in Bosch documents is integrated in the form of a metadata set in accordance with the Bosch standard. This applies to documents that can be identified by their document part number if the aim is to handle them in a document management system.
The question that must now be answered is as follows: ‘What descriptive key information should be added to each document?’ Bosch decided to include the following descriptive information in documents:
General document info
|- Identification number, specific basic block information- Document type, format, terms, page numbers- Initial release date, user, department|
Current change info
|- Release date, change number, user who made the change|
|- Generating system- Conversion system, department, date- Metadata set version, language|
CALS ASCII Metadata Set (according to Bosch standard)
The next question is: ‘How do we enrich documents with descriptive information?’ Back in 1995, the Bosch central Corporate Research department recommended the use of 3 (ASCII) strings for a CALS-format metadata set, 128 bytes each.
See the example below (test data):
Bosch Metadata Set (‘Bosch ASCII Header’)
Corporate Research recommendations came into existence in the form of a Bosch reference document as follows:
- 1995 Available for CALS Type 1 (versions A and B)
- 1997 Changes made to metadata fields
- 1999 More changes made to metadata fields; it was now obligatory to use it in the Automotive Technology sectors and for data exchange with the Automotive Technology sectors.
The Bosch reference document was adopted as a Bosch standard as follows:
- 2005 For CALS-format documents. The ASCII metadata was expanded for use with PDF-format data.
Systems that Use the Bosch Metadata Set
At Bosch, document routing based on the metadata set is carried out regularly between sending systems such as CAD systems, Office, and even scanner systems for documents coming from the analog world (e.g. documents with signatures) and managing systems such as DocMaster, FUP, and DS-Raster, where ‘new’ documents or document versions are registered. Ultimately, documents are forwarded to SAP.
In addition to DocMaster, similar management systems exist in parallel at Bosch. Below are some key figures to give you an idea of the extent of these systems:
Number of active users (2008)
Total number ofavailable documents
Number of documents transferred to users (p.a.)
|FUP (Bamberg plant)||4,9||~800,000||~1,125,000|
Benefits of Descriptive Data
The advantage of contained descriptive data is that any system – if it knows the coding rules of the metadata set – can identify a document in, for example, registration processes. Prerequisite: The system must know the interpretation rules.
Tools for Deriving and Enriching Documents in Neutral Format
- To convert mCAD documents to neutral data formats (CALS, PDF), Bosch uses gXconvert by GTS-GRAL AG.
- To convert non-CAD documents to PDF, Bosch uses Adobe tools or ConvertWIZ by Seal Systems AG.
- Metadata sets can be written directly into CALS data as an ASCII string.
- To enrich PDF neutral format files with metadata, Bosch uses pdfsetparms by Seal Systems AG.
Latest Development: PDF XMP Header (according to Bosch standard)
The existing Bosch standard for documents in CALS format was used as basis for a new Bosch standard. This new standard was established as follows:
- 2008 As a separate Bosch standard for documents in PDF format where the PDF format is set according to the ISO PDF/A definition and the Bosch PDF metadata set is contained in a PDF XMP schema.
- The schema is realized in accordance with a ‘value pairs’ concept with an enhanced scope (cf. CALS).
- The schema comprises information known from the CALS metadata set but also incorporates nearly all of the information available in the basic document block.
- The Bosch XMP schema contains a description for the used ‘value pairs’.
- Metadata to be processed need to be derived by the mCAD Application Data Management System, for example.
Tools for Deriving and Enriching Documents in PDF/A format with XMP Header
- To convert mCAD documents (for UG data, other CAD systems currently in preparation) to PDF format, Bosch will use UG NX functions + VisConvert by Siemens PLM.
- To convert non-CAD documents to PDF, Bosch still uses Adobe tools and ConvertWIZ by Seal Systems AG.
- To upgrade derived PDF neutral format files to make them compatible with PDF/A, Bosch uses pdfchecker to verify PDF/A compatibility and pdfadjust, both by Seal Systems AG.
- To enrich PDF/A neutral format files with metadata, Bosch uses pdfxmpmeta by Seal Systems AG.
In my opinion, it is now plausible for a metadata set with descriptive key information that is incorporated into a document to enable any routing activity between various applications and/or management systems. In this sense, a metadata set can have an effect like that of a neutral format for meta-information if the coding of the metadata set is stipulated. By simplifying it, the metadata set concept can improve any document routing activity.
In 2009, some divisions of the Bosch Automotive Technology business sector will start implementing the new PDF metadata set (PDF/A format and metadata set according to new Bosch standard). Conversion of mCAD data will start to be switched over from CALS to a modern PDF format.