Engineering Simplified: Knowledge Digitalization Powers Machinery Customization

In our previous article, “Applying Design Automation in the Food Industry: Fermentation Machinery Configuration Demo,” we explored the value of Design Automation in configuring specialized fermentation tanks, particularly for the dairy industry. Building upon that, we shift our focus to an even more groundbreaking development. This time, our spotlight is on a Scandinavian Digital team creation. The team’s latest product DEMO launch was a highly customizable Fermentation Tank that it can be adapted into more than 8 trillion unique versions.  

This advancement represents more than just the expertise of our team, it highlights the real advantages of Design Automation. It introduces a new era of product personalization in industrial manufacturing, distinguished by improved efficiency and innovation using product knowledge digitalization.

The Scandinavian digital team’s work in creating this highly customizable product represents a paradigm shift in how complex products are designed, produced, and utilized across industries. Beyond the flexibility in production, the benefits of this innovation extend to economic, innovative, and environmental dimensions, significantly impacting a company’s bottom line, its contribution to sustainability, and its competitive stance in the marketplace. 

The ability to customize meets the exact needs of different industrial applications not only enhances operational efficiency but also optimizes resource utilization. Companies can now invest in equipment that precisely matches their production requirements, reducing waste and lowering operational costs. This level of customization also opens up new markets and revenue streams, as businesses can cater to niche demands with unprecedented precision. 

A view of the Fermentation Tank on Autodesk Inventor environment

At the heart of this customization lies a commitment from the engineering team to work smarter, more efficiently and faster. Our team’s approach leverages Design Automation and parametrization technologies, such as Autodesk Inventor 2023 integrated with the Tacton Design Automation plug-in. This not only streamlines the customization process, reducing engineering time by up to 80%, but also lays the foundation for future innovations. By digitalizing product knowledge through master models, the team enables the rapid adaptation of designs to meet evolving customer needs, ensuring that manufacturers remain at the forefront of industry trends.

This is the visualization of the Scandinavian Digital CONFIG 2 plug-in inside Tacton CPQ, this is the documentation created.

The environmental benefits of this level of customization are profound. By creating products that are precisely tailored to specific needs, manufacturers can significantly reduce the environmental footprint of their operations. This not only includes reductions in material waste and energy consumption during the production process but also extends to the entire lifecycle of the product, with optimized operation efficiencies and longer service lives.

In an extremely competitive global marketplace, the ability to offer highly customizable solutions is a clear differentiator. The Scandinavian Digital’s solutions position companies to not only meet the current demands of their customers but to anticipate future needs, creating a culture of loyalty and long-term partnership. As we have with our own customers. This strategic advantage ensures that businesses can maintain their competitive edge, adapting swiftly to changes in market dynamics and customer preferences. 

To conclude our discussion, we are excited to present a comprehensive configuration video of our Fermentation Tank, which display an impressive capability of being configured in 8,334,950,400,000 unique versions.

In the video you can see 6 configured versions.

This video takes you through a detailed step-by-step guide on customizing the model using a CAD tool, followed by a demonstration in the TACTON CPQ environment with the assistance of our innovative plug-in, CONFIG 2. This tool not only facilitates 3D visualization but also provides detailed documentation, including 2D drawings, bill of materials, and files in .glb and other formats, streamlining the configuration process and enhancing user experience.

Our highly customizable Fermentation Tank is ideal for several key industries, including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, food and beverage, and chemical manufacturing. These sectors can greatly benefit from implementing Design Automation, efficiency, and adaptability, enhancing product quality, process optimization, and sustainability. Moreover, its utility extends to cosmetics, agricultural products, environmental management, and renewable energy sectors, underscoring its broad applicability and potential.
 

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Scandinavian Digital presents the Product Master Model chart

The “Product Master Model Insights” chart is a comprehensive visual guide designed to illustrate the various components and benefits of implementing a product master model within the field of engineering and design automation. This chart serves as an educational tool for professionals in product development, manufacturing, and supply chain management, as well as for students and stakeholders interested in understanding the intricate aspects of product design and lifecycle management.


Overall, this chart is intended to provide you with a clear understanding of how a product master model can streamline the design-to-production process, facilitate better communication among stakeholders, and enhance overall product quality and sustainability.

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How Parametrization Transforms Machinery Manufacturing

Parametrization in machinery manufacturing is a methodology that transforms the way machines are designed and configured. It involves incorporating adjustable parameters or variables within the machinery design, offering flexibility to adapt machinery to diverse specifications, production demands, or operational conditions. These parameters act as adjustable settings, allowing for easy modification without restructuring the entire system. This approach streamlines customization, enabling specific adjustments to be made efficiently, thereby amplifying adaptability across various manufacturing scenarios. 

Comparing Parametrization, Modularization, and Standardization  

While parametrization focuses on adjustable variables within the design, modularization involves building systems using standardized, interchangeable modules. Modularization enables the creation of complex structures from simpler, pre-built units, facilitating ease of assembly, repair, and customization. On the other hand, standardization revolves around uniformity in design and manufacturing processes, aiming for consistency and ease of production. 

Each approach—parametrization, modularization, and standardization—offers distinct advantages. Parametrization stands out for its ability to fine-tune specific aspects of machinery without completely restructuring the entire system. Modularization excels in simplifying assembly and maintenance by utilizing interchangeable modules. Meanwhile, standardization ensures consistency and reliability in manufacturing processes.

The good news I have for you is that we have an experienced team in these three highly connected processes that will completely change your team’s work. Your team’s initial processes of modularization and standardization can be improved by our team or even initiated, if necessary, but it’s parametrization where we excel. Addressing various needs, the Scandinavian Digital team implements parametrization to completely transform your deals and orders, resulting in more sales and a stronger product. Ultimately, product quality is one of the key benefits in Design Automation.


Scenario: Creating a Parametrized Conveyor Belt System
 

In the video below, you’ll witness a scenario where a manufacturing company specializing in conveyor belt systems implements parametrization using Design Automation to adapt to diverse client requirements without the need for entirely new designs. This practical example illustrates how parametrization revolutionizes the customization process in conveyor belt systems used across various industries.

 

 

  • Identification of Adjustable Parameters: The engineering team identifies crucial parameters that can be adjusted in the conveyor belt system. This could include variables such as belt speed, width, material composition, motor power, and sensor configurations. 
    • Designing a Parametrized System: Engineers design the conveyor system with these adjustable parameters in mind. They create a system that allows for easy modification of these key variables without requiring an entire system overhaul. 
      • Adaptability and Customization: When a new client order comes in with specific requirements, such as a conveyor belt for heavy-duty materials or delicate items, the team uses the parametrized design to swiftly adapt the system. For heavy-duty materials, they may adjust parameters like belt width, stiffening, and motor power for efficient handling. Conversely, for delicate items, parameters such as reduced belt speed, softer materials, and adjusted sensor sensitivity are modified without redesigning the entire system. 
        • Efficiency and Cost Savings: The parametrized design approach significantly reduces lead time and costs typically associated with creating customized systems for each client. It streamlines the manufacturing process, ensuring efficient responses to various client needs. 
          • Scalability and Future Adaptation: As the company’s clientele expands or industry demands change, the parametrized design acts as a flexible base for further modifications or scaling. New parameters can be introduced or adjusted to meet evolving requirements. 
            • Demonstrating Flexibility and Versatility: The video demonstration showcases how parametrization enables the manufacturing company to efficiently address different client needs across various industries. It highlights the system’s flexibility in adapting to diverse specifications without compromising quality or efficiency. 
              The belt and the options for customization


              The Game-Changing Impact of Parametrization for Machinery Manufacturers 

              Parametrization emerges as a game changer for machinery manufacturers dealing with complex and varied products. Its adaptability allows for swift adjustments in machinery to accommodate varying requirements or changes in production needs. This capability significantly reduces design iteration time and improves responsiveness to market demands.

              The flexibility of parametrization empowers manufacturers to tailor machinery to specific client requirements without extensive redesigning, thereby minimizing engineering lead time. Moreover, it optimizes resource utilization by enabling efficient reuse of existing designs with parameter adjustments, saving both time and costs associated with creating new systems from scratch. 

              Industries embracing parametrization, such as automotive, aerospace, and semiconductor manufacturing, are leveraging its advantages to drive innovation and rapid adaptation. In contrast, sectors yet to adopt this methodology may face limitations in responding promptly to market dynamics or incorporating cutting-edge technologies into their machinery. 

              Talking about innovation as a benefit is precisely what companies need to stay ahead of the competition. Once these implementations prioritize a more streamlined process, efficiency is ensured, with an emphasis on maintaining overall efficiency as the primary objective. Parametrization presents a forward-looking approach in machinery design offering a blend of adaptability, efficiency, and agility that paves the way for competitiveness and leadership in the market. 

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              Unlocking Efficiency and Advantages: Design Automation’s Impact on Aggregate Crushers

              Design automation is a critical process that cement industries can integrate into their operations. This article will detail the configuration of an aggregate crusher, which serves as the initial step in cement production. Design automation (DA) brings forth multiple benefits for the aggregate crusher configuration. Within the cement industry, proper sizing remains the foremost factor, and once achieved, it leads to various other advantages. Efficiency is enhanced as DA tools automate repetitive tasks like component selection, parameter adjustment, and design optimization. This not only saves time but also reduces errors, enabling engineers to configure crushers more swiftly and efficiently. 

              Another advantage lies in customization. Crushers often need to be tailored to meet specific requirements or adapt to various applications. Design automation tools streamline customization by providing predefined options and configurations based on operational requirements, such as targeted production output and environmental factors like temperature fluctuations in the installation region, humidity, pressure, and even the risk of earthquakes.

              For instance, the process of breaking down limestone into smaller pieces typically involves a combination of compression and impact forces. These crushed limestones are subsequently mixed with other materials to create cement. Cement production may involve different types of stone that require crushing, as well as other materials like gypsum and coal, which transform into dust resembling small rocks.

              Standardized quality is a fundamental requirement, and Design Automation promotes consistency and standardization in crusher configurations. This minimizes output variability, enhances quality control, improves reliability, and boosts machinery performance. While this article focuses on the importance of DA for a single machinery piece in the process, it’s essential to note that Design Automation can be applied to all machinery post-crusher, optimizing the entire process. The objective is to highlight the benefits within each model and process step.

              Collaboration and communication are integral aspects of Design Automation. Automation tools facilitate collaboration among various stakeholders involved in crusher configuration. Engineers, designers, and team members collaborate using a shared platform, exchanging information, making real-time updates, and accessing a centralized design data repository. This drives effective decision-making, leading to streamlined and higher-quality crusher configurations.

              As previously mentioned, the aggregate crusher marks the process’s inception but holds significant value for subsequent steps like raw mix preparation. Stone crushers ensure uniform and thorough crushing of raw materials, resulting in a consistent and homogeneous raw mix. Secondary crushing might be necessary in cement manufacturing. After the initial crushing, secondary crushers further refine materials to achieve the desired particle size distribution or specific characteristics needed for cement production. 

               To provide a visual demonstration, a video showcases a crusher configuration within the context of the cement industry. The demo features an impact crusher, one of several options employed in the cement industry, alongside jaw crushers and cone crushers.

              For those interested in the cement industry, another DEMO illustrates the configuration of an industrial bag filter. This equipment is crucial in the cement processing industry as an air pollution control device. It removes particulate matter like dust and fine particles from air exhaust generated during cement manufacturing processes, which encompass the handling, grinding, and processing of raw materials such as limestone, clay, and other minerals to produce cement clinker. WATCH HERE!

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              Design Visualisation through CAD systems tools

              Design visualisation through CAD (Computer-Aided Design) system tools plays a crucial role in the manufacturing of industrial machinery products. By utilizing CAD software, manufacturers can create realistic and detailed visual representations of their machinery designs, in which is possible to see details as all angles and perspectives, the different materials to various parts of the product that will be used in the final product, even details as screws, nuts, anchors, pins, clips, clamps and others types of fasteners. This elaborated visualisation enables improved communication, evaluation, design refinement and decision-making throughout the production process. 

              With CAD visualisation, manufacturers can visualise machinery movements, and assess its performance. This helps in identifying potential issues, interferences, or inefficiencies early on, allowing for necessary modifications before physical production, what is extremely important to reduce costs. By conducting virtual tests and analyses, manufacturers can optimize the design for functionality, durability, and safety as well. This results in a reduced product delivery time to customers, leading to faster revenue generation for the company. We already talked about how Design Automation helps with the mentality of preventing problems and not only firefighting when they appear. You can read the article clicking here.

              Before we point the many benefits of CAD visualisation can bring to the marketing and sales team, let’s point the Pros of integration with Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems. Many Design Automation tools can be integrated with PLM systems, providing end-to-end management of product data from concept to manufacturing. This integration improves data consistency, traceability, and overall project coordination, what is indispensable for machinery manufacturers. 


              CAD visualisation also supports the creation of realistic renderings and animations, which are valuable for marketing, sales, and client presentations. Manufacturers can display the machinery’s features, functionality, and benefits in a visually compelling manner, helping clients and stakeholders visualise the final product and make informed decisions. Another word that we listen a lot around here is scalability. CAD visualisation through Design Automation facilitates the handling of complex projects and large-scale design tasks. The automated processes can handle repetitive tasks regardless of the project’s complexity, making it easier to scale up or down as needed, what can easily happen with client’s needs. 


              Additionally, CAD 3D models and 2D drawings visualisation aids in streamlining the production process. By providing detailed visual references, it ensures accurate manufacturing of components, precise assembly, and efficient coordination among different teams. Moreover, CAD visualisation facilitates effective collaboration between design and manufacturing teams. This collaboration ensures the manufacturability and feasibility of the machinery design.


              Here at Scandinavian Digital, we are big fans of Virtual Reality, to us a glimpse of what we are designing or what can be designed, and connecting VR and CAD Visualisation is pure gold to showcase a product. Especially when you can see the industrial machinery in real size, with the components that it will be used in an environment close or equal to the one that machinery will be used. An immersive 3D visualisation brings CAD models created using Design Automation into the VR presentation platform, allowing viewers to interact with the machinery in a realistic 3D environment. Users can rotate, zoom, and explore the machinery from different angles, giving them a comprehensive understanding of its design and functionality.

              In summary, Design Visualization through CAD systems is instrumental in the manufacture of industrial machinery products. It enables manufacturers to create realistic 3D representations and documentation as 2D drawings and Bill of material, that contribute to evaluate design performance, streamline production processes, and enhance collaboration between design and manufacturing teams. By making the most of CAD visualization, manufacturers can optimize designs, reduce costs, and deliver high-quality machinery products to meet the demands of various industries in a shorter period. 


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              Overlooked value potential with Supplier Integration

              Supplier integration plays a crucial role in achieving operational excellence, driving innovation, reducing costs, and consequently improving customer satisfaction with better results. By building strong relationships and integrating suppliers into business processes, companies can create a competitive advantage in today’s dynamic and complex business environment. The Scandinavian Digital team, expert in Supplier Integration implementation presents a “6 value areas” diagram, where supplier integration values areas divided in Lead Time, Cost Transparency, Cost of Quality, Cost of Hours, Project Time and Partnerships.

              Scandinavian Digital Supplier Integration 6 Value Areas

              To comment on the values, we invited our CFO Christian Andersen, key player to these 6 areas to be established as our value areas. Starting with Lead Time, he explains as: “Supplier integration will significantly reduce lead time by streamlining product specification and procurement processes, enabling seamless configuration and ordering, and improving communication with the supplier, resulting in faster project turnaround and enhanced operational efficiency.” 

              Continuing talking about the areas, Cost of Transparency stands out as a very important one since it becomes easier to compare prices based on your needs. In addition, it becomes much easier to discover and compare various solutions. If they from a technical point of view, all are according to the requirements, then the optimal choice have the lowest cost since additional overperformance, or oversizing will only add extra cost to the project the end customer initially did not ask for. Still talking about cost but with the focus on quality, Christian adds: “Uniform information leads to fewer errors in a configurator environment, resulting in a better cost of quality.” The last cost area that we talk about in our values is the Cost of Hours, since automating repetitive tasks facilities better utilization of the team, it is possible to focus on more value adding tasks while avoiding unformal procedures that may lead to the loss of critical information. As our CFO says: “Secure and structured flow of information bring back faster results”.

              The fifth value area, Project Timing, is a consequence of the previous areas. With shorter Lead Time, better transparency of cost, lower errors on the cost of product, reduced use of Hours and Partnerships, the Project managers will experience a solid foundation for delivering large and complex project on time, as specified by end customer and within the agree time.  

              The partnerships are a great way to end all of the areas and no further explication is needed as Christian states: Supplier integration fosters stronger partnerships by improving collaboration, enhancing communication, and facilitating a seamless exchange of information and resources, leading to mutual growth, increased business opportunities, and improved overall efficiency.

               

              Christian Andersen, Scandinavian Digital’s Senior Partner and Chief Financial Officer


              The concept from Scandinavian Digital is to be a facilitator between manufactures, product and project companies, and suppliers offering a platform for both vendor and buyer.  The use of web API’s helps to provide a secure and centralized space for sharing information, conducting transactions, and collaborating on various activities. It’s possible to facilitate communication, document sharing, and real-time updates on order status, delivery schedules, and product specifications.

              In this environment, suppliers can switch roles with manufacturers. After all, often the supplier requires technical information to create or assemble their product before bringing it to market. We can say that this type of platform is a two-way street that can be highly beneficial for long-lasting partnerships with a good cost-benefit ratio, low lead time, high quality, and minimal errors in the process due to automation.

              Our CFO, Christian Andersen, responsible for leading many of the supplier integrations projects signed by our team makes sure to state what the SD team brings to the table,In a certain way we broader the market for the companies as well as for the suppliers. We display their products in an easier way to the right target group. And consequently, the more complex the product is, the more work can be automated and less errors made in the entire process.”

               Another important part of Supplier Integration is the Advanced Analytics and Reporting, since data provide valuable insights into supplier performance, supply chain risks, and cost optimization opportunities.Supplier integration is one of the most overlooked areas to reduce lead time and costs of goods in projects companies.” this is a statement of our CFO, reaffirming that Supplier Integration is a must to enhance end to end processes in projects, especially considering that it is very often overlooked or not solved in large companies since is require top-management buy-in for the end-to-end process optimization.

              With Supplier Integration projects for products like gears, elevators, fans, filters, and hydraulics listed in our curriculum, it becomes evident to our team that Supplier Integration has the potential becoming a game changer within and beyond an organization. For that reason, it’s important with top-management buy-in in order to avoid sub-optimization in individual departments. For that reason, Scandinavian Digital have developed a well-proven framework to safeguard, the integration project offers a multitude of advantages, primarily by effectively connecting individuals with their specific needs in a trustworthy environment for both sides. 

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              The outputs of implementing Engineering Automation

              These are 10 aftereffects of implementing Engineering Automation:

                • One product model for all commercial requirements.
                • Easy to configure for non-technical people.
                • Configurable down to the detailed technical requirements.
                • Able of being extended to a sales configurator.
                • Capable of outputting sales Documents automatically.
                • Proposal documents, sales order documents data sheets and more.
                • Automated generation of 3D CAD models.
                • Automated generation of 2D Drawings.
                • Automated product sizing and engineering designs.
                • Automated generation of Technical Documents.
                  BOM (Bill Of Materials), BOQ (Bill Of Quantity), Step-Files, flat patterns, manuals cost calculations, etc

              Now, that you know the return you can have with the implementation. Let’s see one of our products, the 3D models, 2D drawings and Technical Specifications.


               

              Watch the configuration DEMO here.

              Industrial Bag Filter: Small Capacity (2D drawings and Technical Specifications).

              The Scandinavian Digital team developed three types of an industrial Bag Filter: Small, Medium and Large capacity. The different configurations were generated from the same model using Tacton Design Automation Studio. For this project we calculate that the amount of engineering hours saved was around 80% from days to hours.

              In addition to the relevant reduction in engineering time we have 5 more important points: Higher quality because of the reduction in errors on-site and in manufacturing workshops also centralized design changes due to a pre-established master model, faster sales with an almost immediate response to customers and to conclude gains throughout the supply chain, for example, manufacturing, sourcing and logistics.

              The models used within the configurator are described in an efficient programming language which makes it easy to build the product structure, attributes and other product/business rules, and speeds up response times seen from an end-user perspective.

              The Technical Specifications are on the right up corner.

              Industrial Bag Filter: Medium Capacity (2D drawings and Technical Specifications). 
              Before the SD solutions, the existing engineering process was deemed too costly and error-prone by management and the risk of introducing even minor errors in the design due to simple human oversight was sought eliminated. 

              Sometimes it is shown that not only the engineering work should be in scope but rather the full customer flow; from the initial creation of a quotation over the manufacturing at the production workshop, to the final delivery, installation and commissioning at the customer site.

              Industrial Bag Filter: Large Capacity (2D drawings and Technical Specifications).

               

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              The 5 FAQs about ETO Automation

              The most frequently asked questions about ETO Automation answered by the Scandinavian Digital experts!

              At SD we are constantly questioned about what ETO Automation is, the benefits and what the relevance is to the industry.

              Q: What is Engineering-to-Order Automation?
              A: ETO Automation allows companies to reduce errors and the time used to manually modify heavily engineered models and elevates the quality of the design outputs. By creating processes and rules to catch engineering knowledge, a configurator delivers a 3D model, which is based on specific parameters defined by the client. Any modification needed is quickly implemented by changing the parameters and consequently a new 3D model is created.

              Q: For which companies would it be relevant to automate the engineering work?
              A: Companies with complex products within the industries of mechanical engineering, process, cement, mining, renewable energy, dairy and similar industries where there is high degree of product customization for each customer requirement.

              Q: Why should companies consider supporting the Engineering Order Execution with ETO automation?
              A: It is in essence a “must-have” if you want to beat the competition. The world is moving towards increased automation and if you do not obtain the first-mover advantage, your competitors will. The payback time is between 1 to 3 years and ETO Automation should be on the top of the winning agenda of all companies that spend time in customized engineering during the proposal stage or order execution of products.

              Q: How does ETO Automation work ?
              A: ETO Automation enables companies to capture all engineering knowledge in rules by utilizing a configurator platform. The outcome can be used both in a commercial setting but and also at the engineering level. Based on user inputs, ETO Automation will generate 3D models and 2D drawings automatically, as well as the bill-of-materials (BOM), and will ensure a high consistency and in the quality of the output. The time used for making proposals or order work is reduced from weeks to hours or even minutes.

              Q: What tools are used for ETO Automation ?
              A: We use Tacton Software integrated with CAD Systems from SolidWorks , AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor or PTC Creo.

              Q: Why choose Scandinavian Digital to automate the Engineering Order Execution with ETO Automation?
              A: The approach of a high-level team can definitely change the pace of a digital transformation and facilitate profitable growth for the customers. SD is probably the most experienced team world-wide when it comes to combining product configuration, design automation, modularization, standardization, IT integrations, change management and strategic advisory. Having already a considerable portfolio of automated products, we have – to date – never encountered a problem which could not be configured and automated.

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              Supplier integrations

              Through a collaboration between an engineering to order company and one of their supplier the team behind Scandinavian Digital have implemented a web based solution. This maintain up-to-date information about suppliers and integrates directly with them by accessing the suppliers configuration program from the companies configuration platform. In short two configurators in different companies finding the best solution.

              Complete, accurate and well-maintained supplier records are crucial for the smooth running of engineering company business operations. It helps in improving efficiency, productivity and significant reduced lead time.

              The company configurator is implemented with a supplier’s configurator which means the two configurators will “negotiate” the most optimum solution during sizing and pricing of the equipment.

              The configurators platform is a highly modularized web-based system with a web API that allows to create new interfaces for engineering software tools like SolidWorks, Inventor, SmartPlant, MathCAD, STAAD.Pro, Excel to be used a cloud-based services. This technology enables the end-users to have easy knowledge of the engineering tools they use via the configurator platform.

              The configurator fulfills the industry 4.0 standard and can work directly with suppliers for calculating correct prices and retrieving the correct customized product documentation based on the specification created by users.

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