Machine and plant manufacturers send countless technical documents such as drawings and plans, test reports and assembly, operating or maintenance instructions to their customers. These all have to be provided with special manufacturer information, which has to be passed on to the respective users. This represents a major challenge for many companies, as they have to provide large amounts of data in a meaningful and user-friendly structure. In practice, however, different formats are often used, which impairs uniformity and entails a correspondingly high effort for companies.
Definition and aims of the VDI 2770 Guideline
The VDI 2770 Guideline  enables structured and uniform provision of digital manufacturer information in the course of technical documentation. It was developed by the Association of German Engineers (VDI) as a basis for digital documentation in the process industry.
VDI 2770 defines a digital format that allows efficient exchange between different sources. All relevant information is combined in a so-called document container, including PDF/A documents with the actual content (e.g. assembly instructions) as well as associated metadata in XML format. This standardization means that individual pieces of information can be clearly identified and retrieved by all IT systems. This facilitates the provision of documents and increases efficiency and transparency for all parties involved.
Illustration: Coordination requirements with and without the VDI 2770 information exchange standard
VDI 2770 defines the following minimum requirements for manufacturer information:
- Classification based on document type and intended use
- Defined metadata for each document
- Composition or structure of the digital document package
- File formats to be used
Relevance for technical documentation in the industrial sector
Since its publication in 2020, VDI 2770 has become an important tool for digitization in the industrial sector. If implemented effectively, the guideline helps companies improve the quality of their technical documentation and increase the safety and effectiveness of products.
Although the VDI 2770 Guideline was developed for the specific circumstances of the process industry, it is also possible to use it in other areas. Particularly in the case of extremely multi-layered complete systems consisting of countless components, the guideline promises a significant improvement in the context of technical documentation.
How a DMS facilitates the implementation of the VDI 2770 Guideline
Extensive documentation requirements have to be met in mechanical and plant engineering, sometimes comprising several thousand individual documents, depending on the scope of the project. A data and document management system (DMS) tailored specifically to the industry, such as Approve on Fabasoft PROCECO, supports companies by seamlessly integrating standards such as VDI 2770 into the workflow.
A modern DMS provides the following functions to efficiently deliver digital manufacturer information:
Digital information exchange
With a data and document management system, information is exchanged according to the VDI 2770 Guideline with the aim that both the sender and the recipient understand it. A document container includes, for example, an operating manual in PDF/A standard, associated metadata in XML format, and an original document. The recipient is now able to read this information and enter it into his or her IT system.
Structuring & versioning documents
A DMS makes it possible to organize documents in a hierarchical structure that corresponds to that of VDI 2770. In addition, the software creates and manages automatic versions of documents to ensure that the correct version is available at all times.
Transparency and traceability
Instead of individual data silos, all information is stored in an organized manner in one place and can be accessed from anywhere. In this way, all parties involved maintain an overview of the scope of documentation as well as the tasks to be completed. Changes to individual documents, metadata or entire projects remain traceable at all times.
Automation of workflows
A data and document management system provides workflow management functions that help automate the process for creating, reviewing and approving documents. Control and revision mechanisms reduce manual effort to a minimum.
VDI 2770 requires the secure storage of documents. In this context, a DMS helps control access to relevant information and ensure that only authorized persons have access using two-factor authentication.
Optimize your technical documentation with uniform structures
The VDI 2770 Guideline is of great importance for technical documentation, as it enables the standardized transfer of the necessary manufacturer information. Defining file formats, metadata as well as filing structures with the help of a technical data and document management system developed specifically for the industry makes it easier to organize documents and minimizes errors. Particularly in the case of multi-layered complete systems, such as those found in plant engineering, VDI 2770 therefore promises a significant improvement in terms of technical documentation.
 VDI 2770 Part 1: Operation of process engineering plants – Minimum requirements for digital manufacturer information for the process industry – Fundamentals