ESAB is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of equipment and consumables for welding and cutting. Their equipment requires detailed user manuals that are translated into 30 different languages, printed, and sent out with their products. When ESAB decided to digitalise their documentation, Semcon was entrusted with the assignment.
The investment we made is repaid year after year as the translations become cheaper and cheaper. The savings in time and money are enormous.
It is a requirement within the EU that users must be provided with a manual in their own language. Because ESAB’s products are sold throughout Europe, a lot of translations were needed for every manual. The printed manual for each product contains documentation in all the languages, which means that most of the content was superfluous.
The documentation is comprehensive, and the manuals can be up to 1, 000 pages long. On top of that, every update to the manuals meant that they needed to be reprinted and the unused manuals discarded. When ESAB decided to invest in a new system and digitalise their documentation, they saw great opportunities in Semcon’s documentation and digitalisation expertise.
This type of comprehensive documentation is difficult to handle in analogue form. Through our collaboration with ESAB, we’ve simplified things both for them and for their customers.
Digitalised and searchable user manuals
Once the documentation process with Kentucky CMS was in place, the next big challenge in the project was to interpret the requirements for CE marking of the manuals and determine which information must be printed and which could be made available for the user digitally. As a further development, Semcon created image-based quick-start guides that don’t need to be translated. Added to the quick-start guide is a safety manual of just a few pages, which is translated. These were sent along with the products, while the user manuals were digitalised and supplemented with metadata. This makes them searchable, simplifying handling for both the users and ESAB. Updates are now performed easily in the database without the need for major resources. To make things even easier for the user, a QR code in the quick-start guide takes them directly to the database, where they can then choose which manual and which language they would like to download.
“We’ve had a really great collaboration with Semcon. We have access to all of Semcon’s expertise through a coordinating contact person, which has made the work go very smoothly”, says Christer Lindgren, R&D Manager, Automation, ESAB AB.