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Korrigo for AutoCAD LT
From CAD User Mechanical Magazine Vol 22 No 6 - JUNE/JULY 2009
David Chadwick explores Korrigo for AutoCAD LT, the world's first engineering document management solution for AutoCAD's most popular design programme
In the last issue of CAD User Mechanical we looked at the five pillars of EDM - the basic requirements of an engineering (not electronic!) document management system - and why there is such a dislocation between the complex requirements of an engineering department, and the more general needs of the rest of an enterprise.
The extra level of sophistication that a design engineer needs, with his robust requirements for measuring files and their sub-assemblies and versions, is quite beyond the comprehension of the office denizens who, unfortunately, are the ones who specify and control the implementation of an EDM system. Consequently, the evolution of document management within an enterprise has proceeded at a slow pace, and few solutions have evolved that can accommodate the requirements of engineers with those of admin. But that is now set to change with the advent of Kinnosa, developed by First Trace, which reconciles the needs of all users.
THE 5 RULES OF EDM IMPLEMENTATION
But then we come to First Trace’s other “rule of 5” - the 5 stages of implementation of an EDM solution - and begin to realise exactly where most companies currently stand when it comes to true EDM implementation. Not just First Trace’s opinion, either, as it based on some recent research conducted in the United States, and is, I am sure, as representative here as over there. The research certainly validates the development of Kinnosa, an EDM solution which really does try to cater for all of the needs of an enterprise.
It's very illuminating, if not downright disturbing, to discover that the vast majority of engineering companies are still at Stage 1 of EDM implementation, which is to say that they are attempting to keep control of all of their engineering documents using bog-standard Microsoft tools; folders,
Excel files, Access level databases and emails!
It gets worse, with only 6% of engineering companies reaching Stage 2 of the implementation process. The good thing about this level, though, is that the solutions being put in place reflect some awareness of the need to handle different revision levels of documents, and that engineering documents are usually accompanied by a raft of associated documentation.
Few get through to Stage 3! Engineering demands are stretching the capabilities of most legacy systems, and in order to accommodate the new demands, some are having to be rebuilt from the ground up.
That leads us to Stage 4 - reached by some of the largest Fortune 1000 companies - where the old problems raise their head once more -the drawing up of battle lines between the requirements of the office and the engineering departments.
Stage 5? Only about one tenth of 1 percent of the market - companies capable of installing multi-million dollar solutions manage to get here - companies that have installed genuine and fully enterprise- enabled engineering document management systems.
And that, of course, is where First Trace’s solutions come in. Kinnosa is a one- product family of tools that is configured for the needs of each enterprise, and is generally supplied to Stage 3 and 4 customers as an enterprise level solution. What we are more interested in here though is Korrigo, the entry level solution that provides the very same type of access to both engineering and administration departments that Kinnosa delivers - but at local level. EXPLORING KORRIGO Actually, Korrigo is billed as the world's first and only document management solution for AutoCAD LT - something that the 4 million users of the software have been waiting for, for years! Now they can replace their inefficient manual solutions - Stage 1 of the process outlined above - and replace it with a solution offering transparent version control, property management and relationship management capabilities.
As most potential users are new to efficient document management systems, Korrigo keeps the process simple and totally transparent, as it automatically manages CAD drawings through the simple act of opening them and saving them within AutoCAD LT. Once that capability has been mastered, the user can bring in more functions using the software's extended Windows Explorer interface for quick access to document control functions.
Most PC users are familiar with the Explorer data browsing environment. IT gives users easy access to data folders and files whether they are stored locally or on the other side of the world. First Trace adds a Korrigo button to the toolbar of both Microsoft applications and AutoCAD LT, similar to the kind found in other CAD packages. This gives access to production folders in a unified view, as if everything were stored locally, tying in different systems and providing them with appropriate levels of access - as well as locking out files that are currently in use by other users.
Right clicking on files brings up the range of functions available to the user - such as Copy out, Check out or Launch Viewer depending on the status of the user within the access hierarchy. Copying or Checking Out files allows users to access files complete with their xRefs. Launch Viewer is interesting. Korrigo's Properties box allows users to set up links to the preferred viewer. The Properties box also allows users to map properties to CAD attributes and set
up levels of security.
Checking files back in works in the same way for both Korrigo and Kinnosa - versions are handled at the back-end, every time a check-in, check-out cycle is performed. And it's the same for Microsoft Office files, as well as AutoCAD drawings, which operate in exactly the same manner whether you are in the design or the sales office! The crux of the software is the way that its architecture separates the data from the application, giving users complete freedom in the way that files are set up to be shared.
Perhaps the main reason why there hasn’t previously been a proper EDM solution for AutoCAD LT is that the software doesn't include an adequate API, preventing second party software developers from hooking into its processes. First Trace and Korrigo get round this by checking files in and out using the common FTP facility (File Transfer Protocol). Every time someone opens a file, it publishes it automatically to FTP, and then allows the server to bring it back into the system, reformatted as a normal file or folder. The tool is intelligent enough to handle document scanning for links as well, and users can configure exactly where they want the file or folder to go.
Users are not constrained to FTP either, which is mainly included because Autodesk LT supports it. Files can be presented in a number of formats, including web folders, HTTP or anything similar as the software has been developed as an Open Standard solution, taking an open repository approach and translating files between different solutions.
The main reasoning behind this approach is that users can leverage on their existing
systems, including SharePoint, enabling them to choose whether they use existing file structures or create a new structure. Korrigo is, of course, also available for AutoCAD, SolidWorks, and Microstation as well as Microsoft Office and Open Office.
Obviously, on sites where AutoCAD LT is used in conjunction with other applications, access to licensable components - such as the dwg scanner, and client side access to files - have to be set up by First Trace, in exactly the same way that they normally configure their solutions to fit individual clients.
Finally (and most interestingly, as I always like to consider whether an EDM system can be bucked by recalcitrant users) Korrigo and Kinnosa use a checksum file authentification tool that relates to specific file versions of a document. If a filename is changed, for instance, but not the contents, the checksum will remain the same. If one item is modified in the file, the unique checksum is changed as well. In the same way that it can verify the text of a file, it can also highlight files that have been modified outside either Korrigo or Kinnosa.
The purpose of installing an efficient EDM is to get rid of common engineering breakdowns, caused by the incorrect use of documents. Korrigo eliminates the problem by automating the whole process, ensuring that everything happens in an efficient and proper manner.
First Trace is celebrating the launch of Korrigo for AutoCAD LT by offering it at a discount price for the next couple of months - you can get more details at the website below. www.firsttrace.com/product-kkorrigoautocad- llt.jsp
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