Technical drawings, documents and specifications that arise out of product development and engineering processes must remain available over the entire life cycle of the product. These documents are not archived and forgotten; they are used daily as the basis for production, maintenance and procurement activities. Their availability and error-free reproduction must often be guaranteed over many years, as the following example from the aeronautics industry demonstrates: it can take 10 to 20 years between the time that the planning for a large aircraft starts and the actual production begins. Afterwards, it is quite common that such an aircraft will be produced for up to 50 years. Legal regulations require that all documentation be archived and remain available for a further 30 years after production ceases. In order to guarantee this, many questions with respect to long-term archiving must be clarified. A very important question deals with the document format, which must ensure legibility after 100 years. In this case, PDF/A delivers the answer.
More and more industrial customers are recognising this fact and are therefore deciding on PDF/A as their preferred format for long-term archiving. The following questions are being posed to the PDF/A Competence Center: “How can we manage PDF/A in the product life cycle? How can PDF/A be created from CAD? Is PDF/A an accepted format with respect to product liability? How can one ensure that documents provided by suppliers conform to the PDF/A standard? Can one simply convert a supplier’s PDF document into PDF/A format? How do PDF/A and SAP treat each other?”
The following presentations of the “Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction” Track are providing answers to these questions. The article “PDF/A in the Product Life Cycle – Engineering Requirements to PDF/A” by Dr. Uwe Wächter, SEAL Systems provides a general overview about the specific requirements for long-term archiving formats in engineering. It explains why PDF/A, and not just PDF, is required to fulfil these requirements. PDF/A generation in the SAP® PLM environment is taken as an example to demonstrate how PDF/A can be created in the product life cycle and what problems can occur.
The article “PDF/A in Product Life Cycle and Document Management at SAFRAN” describes how PDF/A was introduced for all Office and engineering documents at SAGEM, a company of the SAFRAN group. Mr. Chevalier from SAFRAN Informatique explains why SAGEM decided to replace PDF as an archiving format with PDF/A. Learn more about the processes that SAFRAN Informatique implemented to create PDF/A from the different applications that deliver inputs to the SAP R/3-based document management system. Share the experiences of SAFRAN Informatique with the migration of their document archive from PDF to PDF/A.
Andreas Bergmann from Siemens I IA&DT reports about the step-by-step introduction of PDF/A into the life cycle processes at Siemens. His article “PDF/A in Siemens I IA&DT PLM Environment” explains why Siemens decided to replace TIFF/G4 in some areas with PDF/A, discusses problems that were encountered during the migration process and how they were resolved, and gives an outlook to the future plans with PDF/A in the PLM environment of Siemens I IA&DT.