In engineering, technical documentation refers to any type of documentation that describes handling, functionality and architecture of a technical product or a product under development or use. The intended recipient for product technical documentation is both the (proficient) end user as well as the administrator / service or maintenance technician. In contrast to a mere “cookbook” manual, technical documentation aims at providing enough information for a user to understand inner and outer dependencies of the product at hand.
Forms of technical documentation
Technical documentation may include:
- telephone networks
- specifications of item or of components/materials
- data sheets of item or of components/materials
- test methods
- manufacturing standards
During development, a multitude of document types will play a significant role:
- system requirements
- system design
- system architecture
and various intermediate or intervening documents thereof.
If technical writers are employed by the technology company, their task is to translate the usually highly formalized or abbreviated technical documentation produced during the development phase into more readable, “user-friendly” prose.
The documentation accompanying a piece of technology is often the only means by which the user can fully understand said technology; regardless, technical documentation is often considered a “necessary evil”.
Computer numerical control (CNC) is the automation of machine tools by means of computers executing pre-programmed sequences of machine control commands.
In modern CNC systems, the design of a mechanical part and its manufacturing program is highly automated. The part’s mechanical dimensions are defined using computer-aided design (CAD) software, and then translated into manufacturing directives by computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software.
Since any particular component might require the use of a number of different tools – drills, saws, etc. – modern machines often combine multiple tools into a single “cell”.