STEP unravelled: step by step

Many engineers may still not know exactly what the Standard for the Exchange of Product data (STEP) is all about and how it is intended to make engineering with CADCAM systems easier.

If that rings some bells with you, you may be interested in a guide now available from the CADCAM consultancy Cimdata.

Unfortunately for the publishers, standards, and in particular STEP, are a very fast moving target. Nevertheless, one of the co-authors, John MacKrell, is convinced that enough of the standard and tools to utilise it have been developed for STEP to be useful in a number of industries. There are also some successful examples of STEP-based solutions, which can be used as models for further implementations.

STEP is now officially known as ISO 10303 and has been under development for more than ten years. It aims to provide not only improved data exchange among product development systems, but also the basis upon which truly interoperable, extensible open systems can be built. Data need no longer be translated, merely re-used.

Cimdata assures us that `STEP – Towards Open Systems’ has been written for the lay reader and explains the field in non-technical terms. It is available at £55 a copy with discounts for volume purchases.

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