Wirtgen Group

Highly automated documentation system for road construction machines


On the road to perfect documentation

The Wirtgen Group knows all about roads – its five companies provide everything you need for breaking up, crushing, recycling, and rebuilding roads. Special attention is given to documentation and spare parts management, for which Wirtgen has established an integrated system for internal users, service providers, and customers, based on software from Quanos.

The company

In 1961, Reinhard Wirtgen founded a company for transporting construction machinery in Windhagen, and also had a small workshop where he developed a concrete shattering machine. From these modest beginnings emerged a corporate group, which today consists of five companies that develop, manufacture, and sell machinery for road construction and maintenance. The Wirtgen Group employs a workforce of more than 9,000 worldwide, including at production facilities in Brazil, China, and India, and achieves an annual turnover in excess of three billion euros. Since 2017, the Wirtgen Group has been part of the John Deere Corporation.

Wirtgen currently manufactures a wide range of over 90 different products, from road milling machines to surface miners, cold recyclers and soil stabilizers, to slipform pavers. Road milling machines remove an existing road surface, surface miners work in a similar way, although they are used in mining to extract hard rocks and ores without blasting. A slipform paver can create continuous concrete profiles, such as median strip dividers on the freeway, curbstones including gutters, or the concrete surface of a road.

Kleemann GmbH in Göppingen, Baden-Württemberg, makes crushers and screening plants, which can be used to crush the material excavated by the Wirtgen road milling machine into defined grain sizes, for example. The asphalt mixing and recycling plants of the Wengerohr-based company Benninghoven GmbH & Co. KG then produce the material that the road pavers of the Ludwigshafen am Rhein-based company Vögele make into a new road surface. At the end of the chain are the road and soil compactors of Tirschenreuth-based Hamm AG.

This means that the Wirtgen Group companies provide a full range of complex machines and plants of all sizes that have one thing in common: they must work perfectly, because tight deadlines are a characteristic feature of almost all road construction projects. Spare parts sales and service, as well as the related documentation, are just as important for companies in the after sales business. Although the machines are based on basic models, there are many options on offer, and a wide variety of machines are available as a result.

Initial situation and demands on the new solution

Wirtgen has relied on a digital solution for after-sales for many years, but this requires a lot of work and effort on the part of the manufacturer to prepare the data for the system. This was becoming increasingly expensive and time-consuming. The amount of data to be stored was steadily increasing, and there were also other disadvantages to the system – such as only very limited functions for an online spare parts catalog – so in 2011, Wirtgen made the decision to change the system.

Dr. Frank Jenne, who is responsible for information systems at the Wirtgen Group, summarizes the demands that were expected of the new system: “We wanted to be able to roll out documentation updates with as little effort as possible, as quickly and frequently as possible – instead of just three times a year as before. The update process itself should also be simplified – we had previously been sending out eleven DVDs every time, and updates should now be possible online.”

After a thorough examination, Wirtgen opted for the PARTS-PUBLISHER system from Docware, which is now part of the Quanos Group. “Both the technology and the staff were equally impressive,” remembers Jenne. “Docware seemed like a potential partner, with plenty of know-how and experience. We were impressed with Quanos when they carried out an evaluation. They looked at our system and our data, and accepted test data. The next morning, they showed us a functioning catalog based on this test data, which they had prepared during the evening in their hotel room!”

Implementation with PARTS-PUBLISHER

At the Wirtgen Group, the individual machine status documentation is managed in SAP, where the as-built configuration of each delivered machine can be checked, along with its service history and any upgrades and retrofits – with the relevant component serial numbers, if needed.

The current Widos – Wirtgen Group DOcumentation System – consists of an integrated solution with PARTS-PUBLISHER at its core. The system has interfaces to SAP, which is not only used at Wirtgen to manage ERP data, but as a PLM system is also used to save and prepare CAD data from Siemens NX and the electrical and hydraulic design program E³, as well as the associated Office documents. SAP also knows the connections between the data, for example, which components belong to a serial number and thus a certain device.

Instruction manuals, service documents, technical and service information bulletins, parts information, and diagrams for hydraulic and electrical systems are interlinked and stored in Widos. If a user is looking in a spare parts catalog for a component or an assembly, not only is the selection displayed in the center of the window, but the relevant documents and diagrams are also shown in a separate menu on the right of the window.

It is also possible, in a hydraulics diagram, for example, to select a unit, and move to the spare parts catalog to look at a view of the unit and its installation location. Photos or drawings of the parts that mark the connections are stored in the parts information. The service technician can therefore see very quickly which hose belongs to which connection.

Technical information bulletins ate produced to describe problems that occur, whereas the service information bulletins contains detailed descriptions of how to resolve the problem. Work instructions, on the other hand, contain instructions for service technicians, such as how to replace or service parts.

Wirtgen uses the PTC IsoDraw system to create graphics for the spare parts catalogs. Plates with exploded views are among the items created in IsoDraw for the catalogs. The user defines hotspot areas in a separate layer, identifying them with a spare part number. When they are processed in PARTS-PUBLISHER, these hotspots link automatically to the material numbers of the bill of materials, which then leads to relevant additional documents or deeper catalog levels. The spare parts catalog with integrated documentation is formed largely automatically in the PARTS-PUBLISHER Workbench, and is then available to users as Widos – both online and offline.

The current status

“The extraction of data from SAP to Workbench is almost fully automated,” explains Jenne, “we can quickly and efficiently move 200 MB of new data over to PARTS-PUBLISHER every month. We put a wide variety of information on certain layers in IsoDraw, which is then automatically processed in PARTS-PUBLISHER. From SAP to online catalog, there is virtually nothing for us to do. So now we are able to publish a new version of the catalog every month, instead of three times a year.”

Today, virtually all the companies of the Wirtgen Group are integrated into Widos; the system runs on a central server and is available to the entire Group. The Workbench servers, on the other hand, are kept separate for the individual companies, so that the characteristic features of each company can be taken into consideration.

The online system is available to internal employees, service technicians in the field, and also to Wirtgen customers, although all the documents are classified in an integrated authorization system. Normal customers, for example, can access spare parts catalogs, instructions, service documents, and parts information, but not technical information bulletins and diagrams. Service technicians, on the other hand, can call up additional information, and the majority of internal employees have complete access, and so can also view development documentation, for example. This makes Widos a single source of information for everyone that is always up to date.

The system is not only available online, an offline version is also available to service technicians for call-outs that have no on-site internet connection. Jenne says: “The knowledge level of service personnel varies greatly, and many countries lack the highly-trained specialists that typically work in our Service department. They send out semi-skilled workers, who therefore need a lot of support. Which we can provide with Widos.”



“We set up the Workbench adapted to our needs and the interfaces in an implementation project,” remembers Jenne. “Some of the many Wirtgen-specific adaptations that emerged from our extremely close collaboration with Quanos specialists have now become normal features of the solution. It is a win-win relationship: Quanos learns from our practical requirements, we get the best solution.”

The collaboration with Quanos was extremely positive, as Jenne concludes in his summary: “Relative to the cost of external service providers, the project and licensing costs pay for themselves in just 15 months. But the success of the new solution is also evident from the number of people who use it: before switching to PARTS-PUBLISHER, 4,000 to 5,000 users were registered on the system. Today, 10,000 users work with Widos. The roll-out process proved to be easy, users quickly discovered the new system, and were able to work there efficiently. Not only does this say a lot about the good preparatory work put in by Quanos and our specialists beforehand, it also says a lot about the quality of the PARTS-PUBLISHER system.”

Wirtgen Group

„Relative to the cost of external service providers, the project and licensing costs pay for themselves in just 15 months. But the success of the new solution is also evident from the number of people who use it: before switching to PARTS-PUBLISHER, 4,000 to 5,000 users were registered on the system. Today, 10,000 users work with Widos.“

Mechanical and plant engineering


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