STEP Frequently Asked Questions
- What is STEP ?
- Step is an unofficial name. The actual designation of the
STEP standard is ISO10303 Industrial Automation Systems -
Product Data Representation and Exchange.
The STEP project was initiated in 1984 by the ISO
(International Standards Organization). The objectives were:
- Create a single international standard
- Implement this standard in Industry
- Standardize a mechanism for describing data throughout
enterprise life cycle.
- Separate data description from implementation to
- Neutral file exchange
- Shared product databases
- Long term archiving
For further details, we suggest an article by Julian
Extract from STEP for Data Management, Exchange and Sharing.
- Why is STEP needed ?
- Information on products and processes which the enterprise
uses, is created, modified, and used throughout the life of the
enterprise. This product information may include Computer Aided Design
outputs, Control and Information Systems and Document Databases. In
many cases, this product information has a very long life, since the
products it describes will remain in service for 10 to 20 years.
By contrast,, the computer applications, operating
systems, and hardware used to access this product information has a
lifetime of 3 to 5 years (or less). Thus, it will be necessary to
migrate product data to new generations of hardware and software
several times during the life of the enterprise.
The objective of STEP is to provide a product data
standard which is independant of any proprietary formats. This standard
may be used during the design phases to transfer information between
different computer systems and organizations (e.g. different
engineering and construction contractors). During the operations
phases, the standard will facilitate management of design,
manufacturing and operations data from startup until decommissioning.
Finally, for certain regulated industries, it may also be required to
maintain and access this information in archives for many years
- How is STEP Being Developed ?
- Requirements for a minimal "first release" were issued in
1990. These were published by ISO in 1995 as 12 parts. Work is
progessing on a further 60 parts which will be progressively delivered
over the next several years.
Jim Nell at NIST maintains a 2-page summary of all STEP
standards and their status. Print this on both sides of a
single page and keep it as a handy reference.
The following groups are developing Step Standards:
- PIEBASE is an ISO organization which is coordinating world
wide STEP standards
- EPISTLE is coordinating the Europian ISO standards
- SPI-NL in the Netherlands is working on that
countries version of STEP.
in the United Kingdom has been set up to assist
with implementation of the STEP standard in Process Industries.
- POSC/Caesar is developing Norway's STEP standards
- PlantSTEP is coordinating STEP standards in the Americas
- PlantCALS is responsible for STEP in Asia/Oceania
- Other Step Background Information
- Rensselaer Lab for Industrial
Information Infrastructure - STEP Mosaic
- Step News
News from PDES
by Gary Rathwell
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