For around 40 years viastore systems with its head office in Stuttgart has been one of the leading international providers of turnkey high-bay warehouses and distribution systems, warehouse management software, shuttle systems and storage/retrieval systems. The viastore services range from comprehensive advice to planning up to the realisation of new systems as a general contractor. viastore also updates existing warehouses and adapts them to current technologies and modified processes.
Today the viastore Group has subsidiaries in Brasil,China, the USA, France, Spain, Russia and the Czech Republic. Some of its customers include IKEA, WMF, Trumpf, Bosch, Metabo, Krüger and Weltbild. In 2012 the company with 390 employees achieved an annual turnover of 99 million Euro.
In the past viastore created system-specific spare parts and service documentation using data from SAP, published as a PDF and distributed in printed form. All of that demanded a great deal of manual effort. viastore publishes a total of 15 to 20 catalogs in the year, each with between 1,000 and 1,500 parts.
Each system realised by viastore is a customer- specific solution requiring individual spare parts documentation. In order to also be up to date in the service documentation, viastore planned to implement an electronic spare parts catalog system. Particular importance was attached to an Internet-based spare parts catalog solution for customers to access specific spare parts information for their systems. With the new catalog application on the one hand the quality and clarity of the spare parts documentation should be optimised and its management improved. On the other hand, the order processing for spare parts should be simplified and the number of incorrect orders lowered. Another aim was to reduce the effort for catalog production and increase the efficiency of documentation compilation. A speciel requirement was to display not only parts lists, drawings, 3D models and descriptive documents in the new information system, but also very comprehensive circuit diagrams comprising several hundred pages.
For the implementation of these objectives viastore relied on the expertise of the Fürthbased software specialist Docware. Based on Docware‘s main product PARTS-PUBLISHER, a spare parts catalog software that has a standard interface for the E3.series and an integrated 3D viewer, within twelve months a spare parts catalog system was created that satisfies all requirements.
Using the PARTS-PUBLISHER spare parts catalog solution the catalog compilation process was semi-automated. All catalog media (print, CD, Internet) are compiled in the single source procedure, i.e. from a common data source - the catalog database - in German, English and French. This means providing various catalog media requires no additional effort. All catalog data – parts lists, exploded drawings, 3D models, documents and circuit diagrams – are imported into the workbench of the catalog software. The further processing of the data in the PARTS-PUBLISHER workbench up to the catalog issue is automated. Only a few mouse clicks are required from the data import to the publication of the catalogs.
Viastore illustrates its spare parts catalogs using exploded drawings and 3D models. The 3D data comes from SolidWorks and is integrated as 3D XVL files in the spare parts catalog. There is an XVL Converter plugin installed at the CAD workstation to automatically convert the 3D models generated with SolidWorks to the XVL format. 3D models that can be zoomed and rotated and allow other interactions such as „Hide parts“ increase the clarity of the catalogs.
A particular challenge that viastore overcomes with minimal effort thanks to the new spare parts catalog system is the provision of extremely large electrical circuit diagrams in the electronic spare parts catalog. Electrical projects generated using E3.series are automatically imported to the PARTS-PUBLISHER catalog system. This is possible as PARTS-PUBLISHER has a standard interface for E3.series. The circuit diagrams sometimes have over 1,200 pages per system. These are automatically linked in the spare parts catalog during the compilation of the catalog, enabling simple and quick signal tracking point-and-click – over all data sheets – also in ”huge“ circuit diagrams. The signal tracking point-and-click means extremely simplified troubleshooting when one thinks of the conventional thrumbing through comprehensive and bulky circuit diagram collections on paper.
Particularly with the new online spare parts catalog viastore offers its customers an additional service to get the required spare part quickly and simply.
The spare parts catalog system is integrated in the Internet platform my.viastore.com. After login authorised users receive access to extensive information on their system. The correct parts can be selected and placed in the shopping cart in the desired quantity quickly and accurately via the catalog and the integrated electrical circuit diagrams. Comprehensive search options, clear 3D models with zoom, rotating and hide functions, as well as an intuitive user interface, make finding the proper parts easy. If the shopping cart is filled with all desired parts, this can be sent to viastore as a request point-and-click. Upon receipt of such online requests the viastore spare parts service responds immediately and sends a quotation with the current prices to the customer.
This new method of reaching the spare part is quicker than the conventional method and is practically error-free because confusion between parts and transmission errors are almost completely ruled out.
At viastore only standard software is used. There was no additional programming. Using PARTS-PUBLISHER in combination with 3D XVL technology and the PARTS-PUBLISHER interface for E3.series led to the following results:
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