Improving the use of STEP : CAx-IF forum

Actual engagements of DATAKIT are active technology watch with participation STEP CAx-IF forum, jointly managed by ProSTEP iViP in Germany and PDES.Inc in the USA.

This forum focuses on implementation of STEP in CAD systems (mostly 3D mechanical CAD). While other forums concern other domains : PDM-IF for PDM, EA-Team for Analysis and Computation …

The motivation of CAx-IF, as "Computer Aided X Implementor Forum", is to manage joint efforts to make easier and quicker the implementation and use of STEP in CAD data exchanges, to ensure that user's requirement are satisfied : this forum has been opened to manage joint efforts. Its approach is to establish a common test activity in the CAD area, jointly managed by PDES.Inc (USA) and ProSTEP (Germany). Its goals are to :

  • Implement functionality for today's needs,
  • Identify functionality for tomorrow's needs,
  • Avoid rollbacks by establishing agreed upon approaches,
  • Increasing user confidence by providing system and AP interoperability testing,
  • Ensure that new functionality does not adversedly impact existing implementations.

Experience shows that one of the major barriers to interoperability using STEP and to its use in production is the initial quality of models, not STEP itself : many STEP translation failures and errors occur due to user modeling practices and/or CAD system algorithm errors. Join works allow check, improve, and prove, interoperability in real cases.

By working in CAx-IF , we share informations on the actual and coming needs for exchanges by STEP and how to address them : which definitions are involved (data schema), how to use them ("recommended practices"), interoperability use cases and tests, limits and issues met with the actual standard and coming evolutions : for actual needs not yet satisfied or for expressed needs, in particular about long term archiving.

So, participation in CAx-IF Work Shops and Test Rounds allows DATAKIT to

  • Generally speaking, keep ahead of the STEP move,
  • Keep informed about news and changes to the STEP standards, and influence on these changes when we are involved in,
  • Maintain up-to-date level of our STEP reader and writer and ensure their compatibility with STEP processors of other vendors, including interoperability with other Protocols which have data definition in common (like 3D geometry),
  • Implement and test new functionality,
  • Improve the quality and case coverage of DATAKIT's STEP processor, as needed.

Source: PDES Inc website

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