How to use XML and PDM in document production

Pekka Siltanen, Markku Leikas, Timo Syrjänen, Teppo Peltonen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientific


    In the modern business it is crucial to get products into market in as short time as possible. That is why configurable products, that are composed of interchangeable modules, are of often used to create new product variants quickly. Configurable products have proven efficient for creating new one-of-a-kind products. This creates new requirements for documentation processes also: it is necessary to rapidly create unique documents describing each product variant. This paper describes experiences gathered while implementing a machine manuals production system that was built by VTT Information Technology for Metso Paper, biggest paper machine manufacturer in world. Each paper machine delivered to the customer and corresponding manual production project is unique. However, only small part of the documentation is completely new in each project and therefore by re-using old document components, significant savings in documentation costs can be achieved Product data management (PDM) system is used for keeping track of the variants of the product and changes in the product design. It can also be used for managing the documents describing product properties, e.g. machine operating and maintenance manuals. Since changes in the product design normally affect changes in the corresponding parts of the user manuals, it is natural to link the document components to the corresponding product components. PDM systems do not generally set any restrictions on the format of the documents stored there but use of XML makes it possible to create sophisticated tools for publishing documents automatically for different output devices. The manuals production system implemented offers automatic routines for creating e.g. a set of HTML files or a complete paper publication. The project started from an application that automatically combined a set of SGML files into complete manuals, according to the product structure modelled in our own product structure modelling tool. Currently the system has transformed into web based manuals production environment where the authors can view and edit the documents using web browser user interface, and create the combined manuals using product structures defined by product designers in PDM. The paper tries to show the project phases and describe the experiences gathered in each phase.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationXML Europe 2001
    PublisherGraphic Communications Association GCA
    Publication statusPublished - 2001
    MoE publication typeNot Eligible
    EventXML Europe 2001 - Berlin, Germany
    Duration: 21 May 200125 May 2001


    ConferenceXML Europe 2001


    • xml


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