Original Date: 08/26/1996
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Scanning Drawings
In January 1996, Weirton Steel Corporation (WSC) implemented a system for converting hard copy blueprints and engineering drawings to electronic image files. Commonly-used maintenance drawings are being identified for conversion. Approximately 300,000 engineering drawings currently exist. Previously all official drawings existed in hard copy form and were stored in vaults in the Engineering Department. Maintenance personnel retained paper copies of the maintenance drawings. The Engineering Department used 12 Unigraphics CAD workstations to produce drawings in-house. Each month, approximately 30,000 blueprint reproductions were created by Engineering Department personnel to satisfy the demands of plant personnel.
Under the old system, keeping current maintenance copies in the plant was nearly impossible because approved drawings were frequently revised. A great amount of effort and storage space was required to maintain prints of drawings in the plant. The system was inefficient and permitted the use of out-of-date prints of drawings.
In conjunction with the implementation of electronic management of drawings, the Engineering Department switched to AutoCAD, primarily because most of the company's engineering service vendors used AutoCAD. Currently, the image database is being developed by an outside vendor. Prior to conversion, the prints are copied in-house to ensure that a copy is always available. The original is then sent to the vendor for conversion. After conversion, the drawing images are generally available to any user of the system.
Vendors providing CAD services are required to use AutoCAD and to provide a copy of the CAD file to WSC. As new files are produced in AutoCAD, whether in-house or by a vendor, the files are incorporated into the new system. WSC purchased a new blueprint reproduction machine that scans the original and produces a large format output to a laser printer. As older drawings are manually revised, they will be scanned using the new machine, and the new version will be copied to the image server.
With the new system, images are quickly accessible to any user of the system and may be printed to a laser printer if hard copy is required. Cost savings have resulted from the decreased need for hard copy reproduction. The new system greatly improves document control and simplifies communication of revisions and redlines. Vendors can remotely access the system, review a drawing, modify it, and then submit it for approval automatically.
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