Upgrade project: from 2D to 3D spare parts catalogs
About HP Scitex
HP Scitex is a manufacturer of large-format digital presses and is part of the HP GSB (Graphics Solutions Business) organization. Its headquarters, marketing, service, and research center are located in Netanya, 30 km from Tel Aviv. Its manufacturing plant is in Caesarea and its ink manufacturing plant in Kiryat Gat. HP Scitex manufactures a line of high-quality digital presses for printing on various types of media. For long years it focused on signage but switched gradually to packaging. Its new generation printing systems use water-based inks that meet the most stringent standards for food packaging and its HP Thermal Inkjet technology provides an unrivaled printing quality for a variety of packaging and display solutions.
HP Scitex is currently launching a new generation of Page Wide Format presses and is equipping these machines with PARTS-PUBLISHER 3D spare parts catalogs.
Long-term use of PARTS-PUBLISHER 2D spare parts catalogs
HP Scitex has been using PARTS-PUBLISHER for more than 13 years, running a solution for generating 2D offline catalogs based on exploded drawings of the current product families for distribution on DVD / USB stick. This installation of PARTS-PUBLISHER has been operated since its initial installation by Uri Pardo, E-Catalog Project Leader for HP Scitex.
Single source of service information
The new generation of spare parts catalogs provides service technicians and customers with both spare parts information and the associated documents. One special feature for this single-source-of-information solution is that related documents can be linked directly to spare parts or just searched by keywords, which helps technicians to quickly find all the information they need for a maintenance job.
New requirements for upgrades of spare parts catalogs
With the introduction of a new generation of press lines, there is a new impetus to expand the installation of PARTS-PUBLISHER. For the new generation of press lines, the spare parts catalogs were upgraded in several points:
- In addition to the new online access to catalogs, HP Scitex still requires the option to install offline catalogs on press line control systems where inadequate network connectivity presents a challenge for data updates.
- Following the trend toward using mobile devices in service, HP requires fully functional operation on all platforms, including mobile devices.
- The 2D illustrations used so far in the spare parts catalogs are to be supplemented or replaced by 3D illustrations. This allows catalog users to intuitively interact with the spare parts: Parts can be rotated, focused on, zoomed in continuously, faded in and out, or displayed transparently. This makes a 3D spare parts catalog a powerful tool for HP’s after sales service.
- Furthermore, the catalogs should show the construction status of a machine, which should be tracked permanently. For this purpose, it is necessary to closely link the data provision for catalog creation to the PDM systems.
- Integration of other systems is a major area of interest for HP. Therefore, it should be possible to embed the spare parts catalogs in existing service tools as well as in those yet to be developed.
- Regarding IT security, access to the catalogs should comply with the high security requirements of HP IT guidelines.
- In addition, it should be possible to continue maintaining catalogs for existing press line generations in a common system.
- Furthermore, the descriptive documentation was expanded to include interactive circuit diagrams, which is provided and directly transferred from the CAE system E3.
The implementation of this project coincides with the replacement of the XVL technology used in PARTS-PUBLISHER for the display of 3D representations by the new WebGL technology. The reason for this is that a plug-in must be installed on the client computer to display XVL models in the 3D viewer. However, this plug-in is only supported by Internet Explorer. Since Internet Explorer is not supported on mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets, this led to a conflict with HP Scitex's requirement for operation on these devices.
With the WebGL technology now in use, the operation of the spare parts catalogs is supported both offline and via web browsers on the Internet - without any browser restriction on all platforms. The features already supported on XVL technology are further supported by this technology. HP participates in the continuous development of WebGL technology by using new features, such as cropping of parts, moving parts in the viewer, displaying solid or wireframes, etc.
Automatic creation of 3D spare parts catalogs
With the use of a converter from the company ITI, and of an automatic conversion script, the originally intended workflow for 3D data provision can be reorganized in such a way that CAD files provided from the SolidWorks CAD system can be automatically converted to JT and then integrated in the catalog. This process allows automation through the connection to the HP drawing management system and to update continuously the machine catalog in near real time.
Existing navigation structure can be maintained
The user journey in the catalog structure developed by Uri Pardo can be retained for the older HDR machines and by continuing to use generally valid 2D illustrations for the existing navigation to service-relevant assemblies. It also enables filling the gap whenever 3D illustrations do not exist such as when data comes from 3rd party suppliers who do not provide 3D.
Continuous updates of catalog content
One challenge is the continuous update of the catalog content. Due to the high complexity of the press lines and a high frequency of changes for the first delivered series, various interfaces to the systems that manage the parts lists are being developed. In addition, procedures are being developed to automatically import these changes via the programming interface of the Workbench editorial tool and publish them both as an offline catalog and for online access hosted on HP systems.
To support the publication of catalog content on the Web, the local database used up to now was replaced by an SQL server database. This makes it possible to set up a catalog archive for storing catalogs for all plant types and to apply automation on various data retrieval processes.
Secure access to online catalogs
This project phase includes the development of an authentication procedure specified by HP to secure access to catalogs published on the Web. Additionally, specifications for the first interfaces to further systems of the HP Scitex service environment are being created.
Experience and outlook
After the delivery of the first spare parts catalogs to internal technicians and support staff, the next step today is the further expansion of the interfaces to the world of HP Scitex service systems and to customers as well. As this world evolves dynamically, the flexibility of the PARTS-PUBLISHER system is being challenged. The concept of a core system to provide the catalog editing and viewer tools with a portfolio of supported interfaces for individual connection to customer systems can prove itself here once again.
The PARTS-PUBLISHER-based HP Scitex E-Catalog reveals as an outstanding tool and has since long been proven in the field. It is used daily by the service organization not only for searching parts but for many other applications such as remote support, training, communication with colleagues and customers, etc. Other departments who saw a demo of the tool such as the production floor technicians have requested that the tool is installed on their plant as it is very easy to find parts there.