The KAMAZ Group of Companies is among the top twenty world-leading manufacturers of heavy-duty trucks. More than 2 million vehicles have been made since 1976, when the first truck rolled off the production line. The company commands more than 50 percent of the Russian heavy-duty truck market share. About 40,000 employees work in the KAMAZ divisions and subsidiaries.
The KAMAZ Group of Companies is the largest automotive corporation in Russia. The company’s integrated manufacturing complex covers the full technological cycle of truck production – from design, manufacturing, assembly of vehicles and auto parts to sales and service maintenance.
Modern automotive companies get a growing part of their profit from service, and customers’ demands for after-sales support are increasing. KAMAZ puts a great emphasis on updating its dealer network, developing after-sales services and improving maintenance documentation.
The KAMAZ scientific and technical center researched many software products for creating maintenance documentation. The center selected RapidAuthor because of its ability to be fully embedded in the development process for all types of product documentation. This capability is possible due to the integration of RapidAuthor with Teamcenter® software from leading product lifecycle management (PLM) provider Siemens Digital Industries Software, which was implemented earlier at KAMAZ. By combining data from design, technology and maintenance documentation, KAMAZ creates relevant documentation that corresponds to vehicle design and actual structure.
The implementation of RapidAuthor at KAMAZ began with parts catalogs, because they are considered the most important type of maintenance documentation. Parts catalogs for the KAMAZ-5308 truck were developed within a pilot project; after successful completion, the company began a full-scale implementation of RapidAuthor. Within a month, a group of experts from the technical documentation design department was trained and working with the new technical publishing solution.
Digital layout technology, 3D modeling and Teamcenter update processes were introduced at KAMAZ earlier, when the company implemented NX™ software for product development and Teamcenter PLM solutions. An integrated design and manufacturing process was established then, and the use of RapidAuthor has contributed to the process. KAMAZ imports existing design data into RapidAuthor and matches the bill of material (BOM) with computer-aided design (CAD) models and drawings. The company uses the intuitive Explode Wizard within RapidAuthor to easily create exploded views of assemblies, with automatically generated 2D drawings and callouts. The final parts catalog document can be stored as an interactive 3D/2D web document or as a printable 2D PDF file.
In the past, considerable time was spent creating layouts for final documents and updating paper documentation. The update process is much faster now with 3D modeling and RapidAuthor solutions implemented at KAMAZ.
RapidAuthor is also used at KAMAZ to create maintenance documentation for previous-generation vehicle models that were designed in 2D. Existing 2D graphics can be modified with the help of 2D editing components of RapidAuthor. The full range of RapidAuthor features is used to create documentation for newer vehicle models designed in 3D.
Since 2015, all parts catalogs for KAMAZ products have been created with RapidAuthor. 3D catalogs are available to dealers from the KAMAZ digital maintenance documentation portal. There are many positive reviews of the new documentation. Previously, service center employees had to master very specific skills to work with traditional parts catalogs, as most of the 2D illustrations were adapted engineering drawings. Three-dimensional catalogs are more intuitive and enable easy comparison of 3D model parts with the actual parts to be replaced.
The time required to create technical documentation for new models designed in modern CAD and PLM systems has decreased by 40 percent. Update time has decreased by 90 percent. The documentation quality and accuracy have improved. Because maintenance documents are linked with the company’s CAD and BOM data, outdated information is unlikely to be included.
KAMAZ is currently testing RapidAuthor technology for creating interactive 3D procedures for maintenance operations and description data modules. The company also plans to enable dealers to use 3D catalogs and procedures on mobile devices.
“We have a qualitative change in the way we provide information about maintenance and repairing KAMAZ products, their structures and spare parts. Positive reviews show we are going in the right direction,” says Irek Gumerov, deputy general director and development director at KAMAZ.