Achim Steinacker


Technical Documentation in the age of Industrie 4.0

The talk starts with a brief introduction about the concepts of techniques Industrie4.0“. Besides describing why semantic models are meant to be the key technology fur the success of the approach, the talk will also show the consequences of the goal “lot size 1”, when it comes to the documentation of and individualized products adaptive services. (Technical) documentation, where the content is still mainly organized in hierarchical structures, eventually has to switch to long proposed topic oriented models. The flexibility of the production has to be represented by the documentation describing the products. This is only possible, if the documentation models transform from an inflexible fixed hierarchy of chapters and content, where content depends on each other, to a net of mainly independent topics, which can be combined and dynamically organized to represent the flexibility of the object, that has to be described. Just a hierarchical relation between the content and some metadata attached to the content, does not have the flexibility as the documentation topics have to be connected to properties and characteristics of the product. The XML Data Model DITA does provide a topic oriented structure where topics and container of topics, called maps, can be combined in flexible ways, so topics can be selected and combined, by analyzing the semantic relations between topics. Commercial DITA based Content Management Systems are already available and are gaining popularity, so more and more DITA based documentation gets in use to describe products in the industry. A semantic representing the semantic structure to organize individual products combined with a model representing a topic oriented documentation with rich semantic relations can fulfill the big challenges, arising with the implementation of the Industrie 4.0 scenarios. 
An industry project with a large semiconductor company is presented to demonstrate the feasibility and functions of a semantic model covering both product development data and the corresponding documentation. At the moment the company is using a Requirement Management System (RMS) to document requirements and fulfillments for products, an product lifecycle management system to classify product in family and series and a DITA based CMS to generate the documentation for the products. Based on our software K-Infinity we have developed a content generation and delivery portal combining the model of all systems involved and offering an integrated web based view on all relevant information. DITA templates including the vocabulary given from the RMS can be generated automatically to support the author of the documentation and to ensure consistency.

Aggregated Status information and dependencies between requirements and the affected documentation topics can be visualized. Occurrence of topics in different document types like technical specifications and end user documentation show the consequences a change in a requirement may have to the status of all documentations describing the requirement. Furthermore workflows are implemented for informing relevant authors or engineers of data changes, concerning their responsibility on other data of the model. Presenting the system as a live demonstration, we can show the main achievement of the system: A semantic based Single Point of Information for all engineers, managers and content authors. All relevant data to get an up to date view of the product development and documentation process is available and aggregated.

As one of the most important lessons learned we will summarize that Industrie 4.0 approaches are not only a research topic anymore. They already arrived in production companies as structured product data can be used together with new topic oriented documentation models. Again semantic models bridge the gap between different areas covering completely different aspects of value chained organizations 


  • 1997: Master in Computer Science and Economics (Diplom Wirtschaftsinformatiker); University of Mannheim
  • 2002: Dr. Ing. PhD thesis at Multimedia Communications Lab of Darmstadt, University of Technology; "ontologies for web based learning systems"
  • 2002-2015 Presales Manager; intelligent views

Presales Manager