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Case Studies

Drawing Management in Defense

RNZAF Acumen Data White Paper

Executive Summary

The Royal New Zealand Air Force has turned half a tonne of technical drawings into a briefcase full of CDs with the DataViewer software provided by Australian software innovator Acumen Data.

The RNZAF uses DataViewer, an advanced Drawing Management Solution with powerful ease-of-use features, to manage and access aircraft engineering drawings, which were recently converted to electronic form. Acumen Data worked with RNZAF personnel to tailor DataViewer so thousands of electronic drawings could be viewed from standard computers, a function previously not available. DataViewer has a proven history of success during the past four years in corporate and government organisations throughout Australia. The software, which works in nine different languages, is now distributed in 19 different countries.

Acumen Data, which was established to commercialise software developed by its parent company, Scan Conversion Services P/L, has continued to enhance DataViewer to make its commercially attractive in the global marketplace.

Blue chip corporations including Kimberly Clark, United Water, SA Water, Ports Corp, and Brown & Root use DataViewer.

The Problem

Before the implementation of DataViewer, the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) had only one set of engineering drawings per aircraft held on aperture cards. These cards were not permitted to leave the airbase for security reasons, due to the nature of the sensitive and complex information they contained, making offsite aircraft maintenance very difficult.

RNZAF also faced an ongoing problem of providing outsourced service personnel with access to the information they required to complete their tasks. Alternatives examined by RNZAF were costly and represented ineffective methods of communication when planes and helicopters were away from their home base.

DataViewer - The Solution

DataViewer has given the RNZAF a solution. DataViewer has extended the RNZAF's ability to support and maintain aircraft through dramatically improved retrieval, storage and usability of this sensitive and complex information. RNZAF Flight Sergeant Paul Taylor, who ran the DataViewer project, said the software had improved off-site maintenance of the fleet by providing technicians with instant access to engineering drawings that were previously unavailable.

“This has made a big difference,” he said. “For example the Iroquois helicopters in service in East Timor could be more easily serviced on site without costly and inefficient communication with the base in New Zealand.”

Flight Sergeant Taylor said DataViewer had commercial application within the civil aviation industry as a result of its customisation to meet the RNZAF requirements.

Acumen Data – The Provider

Global IT researcher Gartner predicts the desktop imaging market will grow by 23 per cent to reach a market value of more than US$700 million by 2003. A recent survey of European IT managers, who listed Document archiving and retrieval as the third most important IT issue, validates that prediction.

This year, Acumen Data has signed agreements with distributors in a number of European countries and translated its software into several other languages. Acumen Data has also beaten several multinational companies to win a contract to deploy a business Drawing management solution for Air Services Australia. With more than 500 DataViewer licenses currently installed, Acumen Data anticipates increasing demand for its services in line with industry estimates.

Return on Investment

Having access to the latest Documentation is critical although this is not always possible, with Internet access difficult to obtain in remote locations such as East Timor. DataViewer has improved the effectiveness of its planes and helicopters by ensuring they can be serviced when and where they need it, without undue downtime. DataViewer also enables both remote RNZAF staff and outsourced personnel to have access to the latest Documentation, lowering the actual cost of maintenance.


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