TATA Steel

Tata Steel (formally British Steel and Corus), Europe's
second largest steel producer, have been customers of Opentree since 1991. Opentree have supplied CAD
hardware, software and services.

About Tata

Tata Steel is Europe’s second largest steel producer with operations in 26 countries and commercial offices in over 35. Steelmaking is carried out in the UK and Netherlands with a number of manufacturing plants across Europe. The company supplies products and services in demanding markets, including aerospace, construction, automotive, packaging, rail and energy and power.


Tata Steel operates worldwide with thousands of employees using a variety of operational systems. The Tata Group was founded on the principle that its activities should always benefit society and operates in a way that is safe for their people and respectful to the environment. This ethos is always carefully considered when employing all new operational systems.

Tata Steel has several million drawings to manage across its global network which site engineers must have the ability to view wherever they are based.

Opentree’s document management system had to be capable of managing all of Tata Steel’s 2D engineering drawings- whether in electronic or paper form- at various UK design offices.

On-site engineers needed to be able to easily view and print any published drawings, with the overall aim of the new document management system being to speed up Tata’s processes and reduce the need for paper documentation.


Opentree’s Cabinet Browser was already being used at Tata Steel’s South Wales plants in Shotton and Trostre and, thanks to its functionality for the organisation, Cabinet Explorer was installed when previous document management systems were phased out.

The Cabinet Explorer system had to be capable of managing over 303,000 2D drawings for Tata Strip Products UK design offices in Port Talbot and Llanwern, while the Cabinet Browser system was also to be used at these sites to give engineers access to view and print over 250,000 published drawings. Opentree’s system ensures that Tata has access to over 1000 licences of the software to make processes quicker and easier.

Neil Wilkins, Manager of the Design Office for Tata Steel Engineering, said: “Cabinet Browser was already in use at the Shotton and Trostre plants in South Wales so it seemed the natural choice to go with a proven system that works efficiently for the organisation and can be easily implemented at other sites.”

Presentations were then carried out at Tata Steels’ works areas in Port Talbot in order to secure the initial funding to install Cabinet Browser. Subsequent licences for the system were then bought by individual work areas as and when they were required.


The main advantage of Opentree’s systems for Tata Steel is that they are much more efficient and time-saving for engineers.

Neil Wilkins said: “The time spent searching for an engineering drawing has now been greatly reduced by the installation of Cabinet Browser. Previously, engineers would have to search in a TEMS system for the relevant drawing number and then go to search for the corresponding microfilm card and then use a microfilm card reader to view the image.  And there was only one microfilm reader per works area so this could take some time.”

Thanks to the ongoing success of the Cabinet software, Tata Steel is now looking to expand the Cabinet Explorer software to include all the design information that is required for the work undertaken with each design office.

Neil Wilkins said: “Currently this is a paper-based system which as well as having storage  implications is not being digitally backed up. We are now looking to standardise our site wide Engineering Installation Standards and use the Cabinet system as the storage area for these.”

Opentree and Tata Steel have also together developed an interface between the SAP Plant Maintenance system, which holds data about the plant assets, and Cabinet, which holds drawings and documents about these assets. This means that engineers carrying out plant maintenance or if, for example, a breakdown situation occurs, have access to the records from both systems within seconds enabling a fast resolution to the issue.

Cabinet also offers Tata Steel the following benefits: –

  • Site-wide access to engineering drawings
  • Ability to check latest revision of engineering drawings
  • A multi-option search facility, including applicable searches for plant codes, drawing numbers, descriptions, drawing types, supplier names, supplier codes, supplier drawing numbers and supplier views
  • Two users can discuss the same drawing from remote locations
  • Provides a secure backup of revised drawings that are easily retrievable
  • Software is available on any Tata Steel PC
  • Data is transferrable if the user moves PC
  • Easy access to other Tata site drawings with permission
  • Printable drawings available at site in minutes
  • Very little user training required
  • Access can be given to our business partners
  • Set up is quick and easy
  • Drawings that are in revision are easily distinguished from live drawings
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