Thorough As-Built Documentation is a Guarantee of the Manufacturer’s Competence
Producing as-built documentation, or as-built drawings, should be part of every skilled manufacturer’s toolbox. After reading this article, you will know exactly: a) what they mean and b) why it is in the interest of both the machine manufacturer and the customer to have manage over as-built documentation as well as they can?
In general, documenting all work related to a special purpose machine being built or any other industrial production solution is of paramount importance. Long after the machine has been completed, the documents will accurately and quickly show how the solution has been designed and implemented down to the last detail.
Without exaggeration, as-built drawings ensure good lifecycle management of the machine until the end of its life cycle. Modifying drawings is also known colloquially as “red-line drawings”, but as the picture shows, the important thing is not the colour of the ink, but recording and carrying forward the changes.
As-built documentation in practice
As-built documents record the changes made to the machine solution after the design phase during the construction phase.
Particularly with the first version of a machine, errors and areas requiring product development are almost invariably found at the manufacturing stage. In series production, errors should of course no longer be found at the manufacturing stage.
In practice, during the manufacturing phase of the machine, the installer identifies the need for modifications, and the installer and the designer hold a joint inspection. On the basis of this review, it is either decided to implement the modifications or not to implement them at all. The changes made are written by hand on the original design drawing and implemented immediately to ensure the most technically successful result.
Handwritten prints are always saved either as scans or in another digital format in the project folder, after which new drawings are made. At the time of any repair, modernisation or other upgrading of the machine tool, even years from now, the correct as-built documentation will speed up processes considerably.
The importance of the as-built phase
Accurate documentation during construction is not wasted; on the contrary, it radically reduces the work that needs to be done later.
During the construction phase of a machine, all the changes are clear in your mind, but to put it in a nutshell; for example, memorising the exact dimensions of parts is impossible after a week at the latest. If the changes made are not recorded, only the original drawings and fragmentary memories will be available if and when the machine needs modifications later.
Purchasing spare parts on the basis of incorrect measurements only leads to wasted time and unnecessary extra costs, not to mention the amount of work required to dismantle the machine to measure the part. Proper as-built drawings also ensure that any skilled manufacturer can comprehend the modifications and complete the necessary modifications.
Benefits for the customer
Good as-built documents offer the customer benefits in terms of economy, quality and image.
- Speed up the procurement of spare parts
- Ensure compatibility of spare parts
- Ensures the reliability of the repair
- Enables the lowest repair costs.
For a manufacturing company, there is an image advantage in being able to communicate to its end customers the accurate documentation of its production machines. This also allows the end customer to be more relaxed about the continuity of production without fear of interruptions.
As-built documentation in Metecno’s production process
At Metecno, documentation is seen in the big picture as critical product development work, but especially as an important means of fostering customer relationships.
In short, accurate and reliable documentation allows us as a service provider to meet the customer’s service needs for the machine in the shortest possible response time.