Service documentation in the digital age

By Dan Scott

The growing electrical and electronic (E/E) content in modern vehicles creates challenges all throughout the vehicle lifecycle, including in service documentation and maintenance environments. The addition of sensors, ECUs, actuators and other electrical or electronic components makes vehicles and their subsystems much more complex. As more E/E content is integrated, the job of repairing and maintaining modern vehicles becomes much more challenging. Service technicians have to navigate highly complex systems to diagnose issues, locate problem areas and conduct necessary repairs.

Man dressed in professional attire looking under hood of an engine. But with automated service documentation he won't be waiting long to get his repairs done right. Capital software can increase service efficiency, reduce vehicle downtime, and preserve the company’s brand image through high levels of customer satisfaction.
Vehicle maintenance is getting more difficult as cars become more complex.

This complexity increases the time required to repair vehicles and makes errors more likely. Any errors made in the service environment can lead to incorrect vehicle functionality and cause customer dissatisfaction and negative brand image. Part of the challenge in vehicle service is the static, monolithic nature of traditional service documentation. This documentation is often not intuitive and features limited connection with the design data of the vehicle it supports. As a result, technicians often spend a significant amount of time searching through documentation rather than being able to focus on vehicle diagnosis and repair.

The solution is a smart, interactive service documentation client that can leverage vehicle design data to increase the speed and effectiveness of service technicians. Capital, part of the Xcelerator portfolio, features the interactive Smart Client that provides a modern and user-friendly interface for maintenance and service technicians. Technicians can use Smart Client to diagnose and resolve problems efficiently within the required quality standards. The Smart Client ties into the comprehensive digital twin of the vehicle, offering vehicle-specific documentation that only contains information relevant to the vehicle being serviced – thereby increasing service efficiency, reducing downtime and preserving the manufacturer’s brand image through high levels of customer satisfaction. Increased service accuracy will also eliminate repeat repairs, saving the manufacturer and customers cost and time.

In addition, the 3D model viewer integrated within the HTML Smart Client package facilitates the easy location of physical components within a vehicle or aircraft. The integrated viewer provides 3D views of system components that are linked directly to the associated wiring diagram schematics and electrical connector views. This functionality enables the service technician to quickly locate components on the physical vehicle to complete the electrical diagnosis.

To learn more about the Smart Client, check out our videos on automotive and aerospace service diagnostics, and on the 3D model viewer.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at