Dear Sir or Madam,

it is with great pleasure that we introduce to you the first edition of our MDM Info-Paper today. As of now we will provide you with tips and tricks around our Material Data Manager on a regular basis and keep you informed about anything new, such as training schedules and updates.

Since the end of 2006 VESCON has operated the online database solution Material Data Manager to manage device data and device approvals and to support the commissioning of new machines and plants. During this time MDM has become a cross-company platform which increases the efficiency of processes and is used by almost 6,000 registered users - by device manufacturers for entering and updating device data, by plant operators for managing device approvals and finally by suppliers and constructors of new plants.

Our Info-Paper deals with the challenges resulting from this development and aims at making the work with the MDM system even easier and more efficient, as in each edition we will look closely into current issues from the user's point of view and provide practical advice.

In case you do not want to receive our MDM Info-Paper you may simply deactivate the function in your MDM settings (File > Settings) or send us a short e-mail (mdm(at)

Your questions, suggestions or requests for special topics are always welcome.

Kind regards

Your MDM team

Becoming an MDM expert in just 4 hours: dates of the next training courses.

VESCON holds regular MDM training courses at the Frankenthal site to convey comprehensive practical knowledge within just 4 hours. The courses always start at 13:00 h.

Forthcoming dates:

For device manufacturers: 04.06.2014, 02.07.2014, 06.08.2014, 17.09.2014

Registration: t.groening(at) or mdm(at) (for premium manufacturers free of charge)

For suppliers: 26.06.2014, 31.07.2014, 25.09.2014

Registration: Registration form

Faster, easier and more efficient: new functions in the Material Data Manager.

We are continuously working on making MDM even more user-friendly and efficient. Here are some of the improvements which have been implemented in the last few weeks:

  • Speed optimization (Devices Cache)
  • Parts list import: additional functions and improvements - Onlinehelp
  • As the search for devices had frequently lead to the impression that the search results consisted of approved devices only, the search was transferred into the area "All devices". - Onlinehelp
  • Leafing through the views of device details has become easier now: The detail window has no longer to be closed before the next device from the shown list can be displayed.
  • Adding new documents is now possible already within the function "Request new device".
  • Parts lists can now be entered in the MDM with all details (incl. BTM code number).
  • In addition to the parts lists the circuit manual can now be stored as a pdf-file (presently still limited to 30 MB)

For further information on improvements and new functions, please, refer to our online help system, chapter "What's New?"

Focus on functions: Request for "New device"

Presently, far more than 20,000 device records related to more than 800 component manufacturers are stored in the Material Data Manager. Yet it happens almost every day that data needed for current projects are still missing.

For such cases, the MDM system possesses the request function "New device". Via this function the addition of missing devices and their data can be applied for - in the past 12 months alone about 2,000 requests for new devices have been made in this way.

The following aspects have to be considered when making a request:

  • Before activating the request function you should make sure that the required device is really not existing in the system by checking the entire data pool - including the device data not yet approved. To do so, please, move to the view "All devices" and enter the corresponding search text. Caution: The standard setting of the search result list hides locked data. Alternatively, you may also search devices directly under the manufacturer in the view "Device manufacturer including associated data", via the tab "Devices".
  • The request can be activated from any view. Depending on the respective view, data may already be preallocated (e.g. the structure node for which the device is needed)
  • If an Excel parts list import has been carried out, you can make requests for any data which have not been found in the MDM system. Before you do so, however, you should check for the reason why the data have not been found in the MDM. In fact, this may be due to different ways of spelling the name of the manufacturer or the order numbers.
  • When filling in the data fields in the request form, please make sure that the correct manufacturer is selected in the field "Manufacturer". If the respective manufacturer does not exist in the list, you have to make a request for the new manufacturer first.

Please enter detailed information into the corresponding mandatory fields, so that the device can be clearly identified and valuated.

The contents of the following data fields are transferred to the parts lists via the CAD interface:

  • Manufacturer
  • Order number
  • Article type
  • Technical description
  • The data field "Remark on the task" facilitates the communication between the sender and the recipient of the request. The information entered in this field is not visible in the record, but can only be read in the task view by the respective persons.
  • Data sheets which are supposed to be added to the record can either be directly attached to the request or entered later when editing the record. The sender may edit "his" records as long as the status of the record is "temporary".
  • In the request form an MFL or a project element has to be selected from the structure view. By doing so, you define the recipient of the request. Please mind that a request cannot be made for any element.
  • The requests are received by the OEMs who are allocated to and responsible for the respective structure node. The recipient may accept or reject the request. If the request is rejected, the temporary record will be deleted from the MDM - even if it has already been used in the CAD system or in parts lists!

If the device is accepted, the OEM can flexibly select the place where the record is supposed to be approved (either in a project structure or an MFL). It is always the structure node selected by the sender that is preset for approval.

  • Forward requests: The recipient of a request may forward the task to another structure node for direct handling or add another recipient to the task. Caution: If a further recipient is supposed to be added, you have to check if he is authorized to deal with this task.
  • Rejected requests have to be finished in the MDM by the sender for confirmation.
  • In the task view senders and recipients can see at any time which requests have already been dealt with and which ones are still open.
  • After the approval of a request premium manufacturers will receive a general task in the MDM with the information that new records have been integrated into the system.

Focus on structure node view: Data management and project handling.

Unlike the views "All devices" and "Manufacturer with accompanying data" which show the complete data pool, the structure node view displays exclusively the OEM-specific approved device data. Another major difference between this view and the data pool is the fact that in the structure node view specific authorizations may be granted which do not allow the complete range of data lists to be accessed by the users.

The structure node view consists of three areas: Chapter, Material Approval Lists (MFLs) and Projects.

The chapter structure is used by the respective OEM to arrange his data according to a freely selectable hierarchical structure. The purpose of this overview is to sum up the devices under specific manufacturer-independent criteria. For the administration of the chapter structure report functions are available to display the records: either with no chapter allocation at all or with chapter allocation without approval. The data listed in the chapter structure are not to be confused with approvals. In the lists of the approved device data you can filter via individual chapters.

In the material approval area the respective OEM administers and manages his approval lists. For this purpose, there are various structural nodes available to him, with the lowest level always being a material approval list. The basic idea of the MDM is that in the MFL structure only the respective OEM is active and only premium manufacturers have access to these approval lists. This can be achieved quite easily via the corresponding configuration settings. (tab properties).

Our recommendation for current published MFLs:

  • Globally visible: no
  • CAD allocation allowed: no
  • Request for device approval allowed: yes
  • Request for new device allowed: no

If these settings are selected, the respective project structures for the suppliers have to be available.

In the project view the OEM can create any desired structure to arrange his current projects hierarchically. In this way, not only projects but also machines and their subsystems can be entered and managed in the MDM system. Via the quick administration function "Rights" any desired users can be allocated to the individual levels, with three OEM and three supplier rights profiles being available.

Each level can be linked with any desired number of approval lists. In the tab "Approved devices" the users can always see the devices from the MFL and project approvals (special approvals) applying to them. This offers the OEM the following options:

  • A project applying to several sites can be entered for each of these sites - with access to the same MFL(s). Thus always the same devices are approved for each site and only one data source has to be managed.
  • The OEM is far more flexible in the arrangement of the approval lists and project approvals, because he can assign any desired number of MFLs to one project structure node and the suppliers have to know only their project, but not the approval lists. Technology- and area-specific MFLs can be combined quite flexibly with basic MFLs in the project structure following a building block principle.
  • Project-specific approvals can be granted directly in the respective project. Thus an additional "burden" on the approval lists in the form of so-called "exotics" is avoided.

In the tab "Parts lists" you can import the parts lists related to the respective structure node via the CAD interface (RUPLAN or Eplan) or via Excel import. This data is then compared with the valid approvals which facilitates the approval process.

The following table lists the basic configuration options of the structure nodes: 


Tips for the use of the structure view:

  • Above the structure tree you can find a filter line. Entering a filter term here saves you from clicking through the structures. 
  • Under File > Settings the user can select the display of the nodes' IDs. Thereby the respective IDs are displayed also in the structure view.

Little hints, large effects

What do the colours of the device records mean?

White: active devices

Orange: temporary devices which are still in the approval process and may be deleted in case of rejection. Be careful when using them!

Red: locked devices which should not be used. To unlock records by premium manufacturers (records marked by a green dot), please contact the respective manufacturer (contact > right click on the record). With all other records, please send a short mail including the MDM-ID to

Further editing window:

When working with the MDM an additional editing window may be very helpful. You can open it simply by keeping the [CTRL] key pressed and at the same time clicking on the desired view. A tip which, by the way, also works for the search for devices: Keep the [CTRL] key pressed and click on the respective search button and instantly a new window will open displaying the search result.

Search for devices:

The search for devices (available in View>All devices) always happens in the data pool. Approvals are not considered in the result list, locked records can be made visible by the user via a separate function. Furthermore, when searching for MDM-IDs you can enter several IDs at the same time separating them simply by a comma.

Installation and automatic updates:

The installation of the MDM is done by unpacking a zip-file into a local directory. When unpacking the file, please make sure that the MDM folder structure is maintained. To carry out updates automatically and without problems, the following restrictions have to be considered:

  • No installation on a shared drive or a network drive
  • No installation into the directories C:\Program files or My documents, and not on the Desktop

A peek through the keyhole

What our MDM developers are working on.

A new Eplan interface for even more comfort: 

  • The use of the Eplan standard fields for the MDM data contents
  • Transfer of parts list information into the MDM, even if no MDM-ID is existing in the Eplan article
  • Addition of EDZ-Files to the records in the MDM and import in Eplan