Aston Martin Lagonda delivers 100% digital Workshop Manual

Aston Martin’s Rapide workshop manual and associated labour times authored and created exclusively from digital CAD data completes our proof of a concept initially developed by USE* in 2006.

Dan Simonetti, USE* Operations Manager
Back in 2006, at the same time as the Rapide concept was launched in Detroit, USE* Publications were carrying out their first pilot in digital workshop-manual authoring. In 2010 the two came together.

The Challenge

Acknowledged by many as Aston Martin Lagonda’s most significant vehicle for many years, the Rapide has generated huge applause since its debut at the Detroit Motor show in 2006. The World’s most elegant four-door sports car required a workshop manual containing 909 detailed procedures, along with supportive warranty times.

Unlike any other previous workshop manual, the Rapide project was to be delivered by relying entirely on CAD data, with no reference to prototype vehicles.

The Solution

Working in another automotive OEM alongside our customers’ authors, USE* engineers produced digitally derived procedures and warranty times at the same as traditionally authored work. The pilot proved that labour times and procedures created from CAD data were just as accurate as those produced using prototypes. However, the only equipment required by the USE* team was a CAD station, unlike the rest of the authoring team, who needed two prototype vehicles (diesel and petrol variants), vehicle lifts, a dedicated illustrator, a digital camera (to photograph each step of the repair process), and a full suite of tools and computer each (to write up the method).

USE* Publications were brought into Aston Martin Lagonda in 2009, to update the V12 Vantage and DBS Volante workshop manual using the digital method. A team of four authors were able to create over 550 procedures and 2,500 graphics in just three months. This pilot success made USE* the logical team to support Aston Martin’s delivery of the Rapide workshop manual—this time going much further than before, by authoring the manual for the entire vehicle from digital data only: with the manufacturing of the car happening over a thousand miles away in Graz, Austria, there was no opportunity to reference prototypes.

As with the previous projects, SRTD (Service Repair Times Database) was used to construct the 909 workshop manual procedures. The accompaniment of over 3,000 images was generated using shareware, and thanks to the USE* Publications Standards manual, all of the images have identical colour and lighting settings, providing consistency across the manual.

Its Benefits

The biggest benefit of the project was the huge time and cost saving delivered by Aston Martin’s adoption of the digital methodology developed by USE*.

Traditionally prototypes are used to carry out the analysis, and as all derivates of the model require assessing, the cost easily runs into the hundreds of thousands. Prototypes also limit the number of authors that can work on a project, whereas with the digital data, any number of authors can be assigned at any time, not just when vehicles are available.

Working digitally, no time is required to rebuild cars; in the digital world a vehicle can be taken from a completely dismantled state to showroom condition in the time it takes to click a mouse button.

All this is in contrast to the physical world; where it could take weeks and would involve the replacement of costly gaskets, seals and fluids which may be difficult to obtain.

Our Achievements

Support from USE* has enabled Aston Martin to be among the global leaders in technical publications innovation, publishing a workshop manual and associated labour times with near zero dependence upon prototype or pre-production cars.

The project was delivered on time, with our team spending less than three hours authoring time on each workshop manual procedure, ready for when the cars arrived at dealerships across the globe. Even before the official deadline date of the project, workshop manual procedures were sent to Aston Martin Lagonda launch teams in Tokyo and Detroit to help technicians replace parts on the cars for superseded versions.

Because all of the procedures are authored in Simplified Technical English (an aerospace industry standard that simplifies English and makes it easier to understand), and because the graphics are coloured coded, workshop manual procedures were more easily understood by technicians whose first language wasn’t English.

And with every warranty time supported by an efficiently-created workshop manual procedure, USE* Publications and Aston Martin Lagonda are expected increased Right First Time fixes, and so far the feedback from the technicians using the manual has been nothing but positive.

Case Studies

"100% Digital" WSM

"100% Digital" WSM

AML "100% Digital" workshop manual
Publications Metrics

Publications Metrics

USE* Metrics for control and accountability
USE* Authoring Standard

USE* Authoring Standard

USE* standards to streamline STE technical aut...
Quick Guides

Quick Guides

Vehicle content awareness for car owners

Copyright © USE Aftermarket Consulting Limited 2010, Powered by Kentico CMS for ASP.NET