Design and management of industrial objects produce huge amounts of data, which define the reference for them all along their life cycle, which can take several dozens of years, while applications and hardware quickly evolve. Added to the access during the whole phase of design, industrialization, as well as certification and maintenance activities, as long as products are used, to have such reference as legacy data is also more and more required by regulations.
Hence, archiving product data and making them available for the needs of further work on them poses a challenge – and not only with regard to regulatory restraints : it is not just to keep access to current CAD files.
This has motivated industrial actors to address the concern of long term archiving of product data. The LOTAR group (for LOng Term ARchiving) has been created to develop and promote a standard for the long-term archiving of digital product data. It has been initially created and animated by areospace industrial companies. The objective of the group is to establish methods, processes and a data model for archiving 3D geometry data and product structure information.
To do so, STEP has been considered, as having several advantages for data archiving : it provides a standardized, independent, extensible way of describing data, already widely used in the industry. To help improving the use of STEP for data archiving, the LOTAR group works in conjunction with forums working on STEP, especially the CAx-IF forum, to have addressed its requirements to support long term archiving in the actual data exchanges solutions. This leads to specify requirements on product data to be archived, to propose extensions to the actual descriptions of STEP, to provide test cases to be used in the test activities of CAx-IF, to promote pilot projects aimed to validate the proposed specifications and help making them applied in marketted tools for data exchange and archiving.
To extend the capabilities of STEP for long term archiving, especially the case coverage towards data associated to 3D models like PMI, Datakit provides its expertise in CAD data exchanges in the LOTAR work shops : on mapping of PMI data between native CAD data and STEP, on binding between their semantic data (which bring the real information) and their graphical presentation (to be displayed).
Source: LOTAR international