Aircraft engineering drawings were traditionally created and stored on mylar sheets. As these drawings age and deteriorate, it becomes necessary to scan and convert them into CAD drawings in order to preserve them. Converted drawings can also be accessed and disseminated much more quickly than mylar sheets. Often, in today’s military and business environment, success depends upon the speed with which information can be deployed.
One organization that has successfully converted their aircraft engineering drawings is Tinker Air Force Base’s Engineering Data Support Center (EDSC). Their overall goal was to fully integrate legacy mylar aircraft engineering drawings into the automated CAD work environment through digitization or scanning and conversion to CAD.
The Engineering Data Branch at Tinker Air Force Base researched several possible solutions for digitizing and integrating the legacy aircraft engineering drawing mylars into the automated work environment. Solutions that were considered included purchasing equipment for in-house digitization; contracting with a drawing conversion service; or, doing nothing and maintaining the status quo.
Various types of equipment and equipment scenarios were considered as part of an in-house solution. It was determined that this option would be a high-risk option because purchasing the equipment capable of providing the required digitizing accuracy would be expensive and costly to maintain.
Maintenance of the status quo, i.e., doing nothing was also considered a high-risk option because of the potential for loss due to damage, destruction, and fading of the existing Mylar’s.
It was determined that contracting with a drawing conversion service provided the least risk and most benefit. CAD / CAM Services Inc. was one of the sources discovered during the Engineering Data Branch’s original market research that was capable of converting undimensioned aircraft engineering drawings to digital format with very precise accuracy. However, the requirement was provided to the Tinker Air Force Base Contracting Office, and their processes included solicitation from many vendors. After evaluating vendor responses, Tinker Air Force Base selected CAD / CAM Services based on their technical proposal and cost providing the best value to the government for aircraft engineering drawings conversion.