NIST Engineer Presents a STEP by Step Process to Evolve Digital Manufacturing

Credit: CTL

In September 2023, NIST’s Rosemary Astheimer presented on efforts capture and leverage product manufacturing information at the 2023 Global Product Data Interoperability Summit (GPDIS) held in Phoenix, Arizona. The conference brings industry professionals together to foster the exchange of ideas, solutions, and methods around emerging technologies.  This year’s theme “The Model-Based Supply Chain: What is Reality?” encompassed multiple tracks including Model-Based Advancements in Engineering and Manufacturing, Digital Twin/Thread, Emergent Technology, and Interoperable Standards.

In addition, the MBx Interoperability Forum, a joint testing effort between AFNeT Services, PDES, Inc., and prostep ivip, co-located their bi-annual in-person meetings with GPDIS to broaden awareness of their efforts to accelerate ISO 10303 STEP (Standard for the Exchange of Product model data) deployment. With support from NIST, the forum organizes test activities between users and implementors to accelerate translator development in the Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) areas.

Astheimer reported on the ISO 10303 standard and ongoing efforts by ISO’s Technical Committee 184/SC4 to standardize industrial data exchange. New capabilities are added to the standard regularly to support the demands of an increasingly digital industry. A current focus of the committee is to completely specify both the information needed to manufacture a product and the information needed to measure that a product is fit for purpose in a machine-readable form. Using this data to drive automated manufacturing devices, such as Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machines, and Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMM) for automated inspection eliminates human error associated with re-entering information, improves efficiency, and reduces cost.

The standard has been widely implemented and is well-suited for archiving purposes, but new requirements are continuously identified during industry implementation. Astheimer ended by speaking to the complexity of organizing and managing the information, which makes continued testing imperative to success.

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