GEA Westfalia Separator Group GmbH
Spare parts catalogues automated from SAP
GEA Westfalia Separator Group GmbH is the world's leading company in mechanical separation technology. Founded in 1893, the company's product range includes separators, decanters and process lines for more than 3000 processes and procedures used in the efficient treatment of liquids and liquid mixtures. GEA Westfalia Separator offers solutions for the food industry, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, energy, shipping and environmental technology. In addition to the main plant in Oelde, production sites in Niederahr (D), Château-Thierry (F), WuQing (CN) and Bengaluru (IN) have state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. GEA Westfalia Separator Group's international network comprises more than 50 sales and service companies as well as over 20 authorised workshops. GEA Westfalia Separator has been operating a spare parts catalogue system based on PARTS-PUBLISHER from Docware since 1999, with which machine-specific catalogues are made available on CD, on paper and on the Internet. The data required for catalogue production is stored in SAP ERP. To generate the spare parts catalogues with PARTS-PUBLISHER, all data required for catalogue production is exported from SAP and imported into the PARTS-PUBLISHER Workbench. Previously, a solution developed by GEA was used for this purpose, which required a certain amount of manual work and post-processing steps.
The challenge "Spare parts catalogues automated from SAP".
The existing GEA in-house development for the preparation and transfer of SAP data into the spare parts catalogue system was to be replaced by a fully integrated SAP / spare parts catalogue solution with a standardised interface. The aim was the automated generation of order-related spare parts catalogues, which - triggerable in SAP on demand - should run without manual work steps.
The "PPSAP Connector" solution
To achieve the desired solution, PPSAP Connector was implemented. PPSAP Connector is a standard interface developed by the partner companies SEAL Systems and Docware, which integrates PARTS-PUBLISHER into SAP ERP and enables the fully automated generation of spare parts catalogues directly from SAP. The interface has a number of standard functions that are necessary for the realisation of a fully integrated SAP/ spare parts catalogue solution. In order to fully map the individual requirements of individual customers, PPSAP Connector must be adapted to the customer-specific processes and rules in each case. The processes at GEA Westfalia Separator required customising on a larger scale.
Without going into technical details, PPSAP Connector provides the following functions:
- Determination of spare parts catalogue-relevant data and documents in SAP: For this purpose, collection procedures with various filter criteria are available for different processes.
- Preparation of SAP data for catalogue creation: Automatic conversion into a format suitable for PARTS-PUBLISHER (creation of spare parts BOMs from production BOMs according to company-specific rules).
- Export of catalogue data from SAP
- Control of the automation interface of PARTS-PUBLISHER; import of catalogue data; self-running, fully automated catalogue creation
- The PPSAP Connector function "Automatic setting of hotspots" is not used at GEA Westfalia Separator because the required drawings are already provided with hotspots. At GEA Westfalia Separator, the drawings are in the SAP system, the SEN files with the link information are in the file system and, after checking that they are up-to-date, are attracted by PPSAP Connector at runtime.
Fully automated catalogue creation on demand
With the spare parts catalogue solution fully integrated in SAP, GEA Westfalia Separator provides spare parts catalogues as follows:
Catalogue creation is started in SAP at the click of a mouse. All that is required is to enter the order number, select the desired catalogue medium (CD, paper, Internet) and confirm with "OK".
After the catalogue creation has been triggered, all catalogue creation processes run fully automatically without manual intervention. The PDF catalogues created during paper catalogue creation are immediately stored in SAP.
Newly created internet catalogues are immediately available on the internet.