Standardizing Technical Manuals: A case study by Boon Edam

Presentation Abstract

Royal Boon Edam International, a leading manufacturer of revolving doors and security barriers, began a journey in 2014 to put more focus on the quality of its technical manuals. Boon Edam’s goal was to be more efficient and improve the quality at the same time. Together with outside help from Etteplan, Boon Edam looked at the existing content creation process, conducted a technical analysis on the manuals and interviewed colleagues working on the manuals and those actually using them: the customers. The conclusions of the analysis showed a lot of room for improvement.

Etteplan recommended to start seeing manuals and documentation as a part of the products with a better focus on the end-user. Another important suggestion was to use Simplified Technical English (STE) for all written text. In addition, the use of technical illustrations was a real must. The advice was to use line drawings instead of pictures to provide more clarity. Finally, Boon Edam needed a logical and unambiguous structure in all our manuals, provided by DITA.

Since 2016, the benefits of the new production process have been numerous: the manuals have a more professional look and are a lot more user-friendly. But more than that: Boon Edam is saving costs, up to 50% for translations.

Bert Dammers and Pim Bekker will present a case study on how Boon Edam was able to transition to high quality and low cost manuals.

What can attendees expect to learn?

The audience will learn from this very practical implementation of a number of technical documentation standards, including DITA, STE and standardization on illustrations – from challenges to lessons learned to tangible benefits.

Meet the Presenters

Bert Dammers is Manager Information-Document Management at Boon Edam, where he has been working for over 25 years now. Bert has a background in mechanical engineering. Under his supervision, sketch boards were replaced by 2D CAD systems in the 80s, which got replaced by 3D CAD systems 15 years later. In 2014 Bert was responsible for leading Boon Edam technical manuals into a whole new journey on how to improve the creation and management of product manuals.


Pim Bekker is a Senior Solution Architect at Etteplan, a specialist providing solutions for engineering, IoT and embedded systems, and technical documentation. Pim has been in the content management industry for over 16 years and has managed over 200 content management implementations, a majority being in DITA.

⇐ Return to Agenda