Engineering Drawings Not Current
Our Engineering Dept. has issued a document called "Engineering Interpretive Document." It essentially covers legacy engineering designs that don't meet current methods: "As a result of the long production lives of designs, and as part of the natural refinement in data and build packages, discrepancies may arise when evaluating legacy products employing methods that have been refined over time. This document clarifies Engineering’s interpretation of the technical data where that data may be too vague to align with currently accepted methods." My question is, can drawings be released that have not been revised to reflect current specs because this Interpretation document is acceptable to replace those instructions/specs?
8 Replies
Just to clarify, here is an example of an Interpretive item:
this depends on how your organization want to control the drawings,
If you intent to use the legacy engineering design drawings in current production this can be released with specific remark on it.
Otherwise release of legacy engineering design drawings can be controlled separately (using specific document numbering and controlled copy system) in order to differentiate from latest specs
My advise is based on general perspective of document control system.
I was involved for years in an extensive improvement process at a huge company. The engineering documentation is certainly one of the most difficult to maintain well, but enhances safety and operations considerably! A key phrase you state is "evaluating legacy products". Despite longevity - and maybe some things SHOULD be scrapped or revised - an evaluation is ONLY valid against the DESIGN specification! So, unless changed (and requiring a change in the product), the documents related to any existing product should still be available, and they should be the only ones used in an evaluation.
Therefore, I'd say that the "Interpretive Document" may be a future source of more confusion than clarity. There is no need to "segregate" documents as some have suggested, as the link between specification, actual product, and any subsequent evaluation already provides that connection. IF the implication is that standards have improved, then 'legacy' systems and products must realistically be either upgraded or removed from service. It is not a quality system to simply state that something that would not be acceptable now is allowable just because we didn't care or know any better at some previous time.
Dear Shelley Baldwin

The "Engineering Interpretive Document" feels like General Engineering Notes to me.


The 2nd example where we affix a tag to label the part or shim which is just to make up the level or flatness is not the main part allows some discretion on the part of the "as fit" person working on the installation. These in effect, does not materially affect the function of the main component - unless it does than we have a problem - but from the example even galvanic corrosion is minimal due to the similarity of material.

That is why the issue of legacy is moot.

When we view it from the ISO perspective, we are afraid that the latest drawing or notes is used so that we do not make any "out of spec" due to the use of the "outdated" document.

7.5.2 Creating and updating When creating and updating documented information, the organization shall ensure appropriate: a) identification and description (e.g. a title, date, author, or reference number); b) format (e.g. language, software version, graphics) and media (e.g. paper, electronic); c) review and approval for suitability and adequacy. For the control of documented information, the organization shall address the following activities, as applicable: a) distribution, access, retrieval and use; b) storage and preservation, including preservation of legibility; c) control of changes (e.g. version control); d) retention and disposition.

Now if the person reading the Interpretive documents gives you a waffling answer - we may have an issue - but does it affect the component function???

So if the spirit of the document has considered the conditions which a person encounters - eg finding a similar piece of material to label the component or finding the appropriate material to "level your shaky table" ... it should not contravene the ISO 9001 requirements if that is your concern.

My 2Cents

Thank you Vaithiyanathan, If I understand you correctly, we should control the docs separately, if necessary. This is what they are trying to avoid, thus the Interpretive document. I'm not liking the rationale, but greater minds than mine have given this great thought.
Thank you, Steven. I agree with your assessment in that I think the Interpretive document causes confusion and possibly problems with interpretation during the evaluation process of the design -- inspection and FAI. I understand the idea for the document, and on its surface seems like a grand idea; but the amount of discussion in the evaluation process would seem to me to be almost as great a loss in productivity and liability than its worth. It would be great if I could hear a response from someone who uses a like document and what is the measure of its success.

Thank you again!
Thanks for your detailed "2 cents" response, Ernest --- more worth a dollar!

Yes, I hope I understand your assessment and believe I see your point as well as Steven's. So my feeling after reading the much appreciated replies, is that it does not go against ISO, but it can possibly cause some trepidation when doing inspection. I assume that an auditor would not be able to justify its use either positively or negatively against the standard unless it was evaluated in a good number of design inspections. Do you agree? So we will continue to use it until such time that it proves not viable, for now.

Thank you. Shelley
Dear Shelley Baldwin

I agree, but for another reason, as an ISO9001 auditor (given what little time I have). I am more concerned per ISO 9001 with

a) the ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements;
b) facilitating opportunities to enhance customer satisfaction;
c) addressing risks and opportunities associated with its context and objectives;
d) the ability to demonstrate conformity to specified quality management system requirements.

Granted there are some oddballs where the label is a critical requirement or the shim being the differentiating factor in causing the collapse of the table...

Enjoy your experience handling all these issues cos you will learn to prioritize what must be done... and fight the right battles when necessary...