STEP Tools, Inc. Awarded "Operate, Orchestrate and Originate (O3)" Contract from Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII)

Troy, New York - February 10, 2016 - STEP Tools, Inc. is pleased to announce a contract research award from the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) for DMDII-14-06-05 "Operate, Orchestrate and Originate (O3)".

STEP Tools, Inc. is the lead organization, with project participants Mitutoyo, System Insights, and International TechneGroup Incorporated.

O3 will develop a web environment to enable the orchestration of machining and measurement processes from tablets and smart phones. The new environment will operate on 3D digital models that include fully associative Geometric Dimensions and Tolerances (GD&T). The service will validate that a machining program is going to conform, or has conformed to the tolerances of the design application. It will reduce lead times by allowing these checks and adjustments to be performed remotely from tablets.

Mitutoyo America is developing a measurement services for machined parts. ITI is developing a translator that will be used by Mitutoyo and other CMM vendors to read STEP digital model data. System Insights is prototyping an extension to the MTConnect standard for STEP-NC machining. Mitutoyo America is participating because it is a market leader for CMM systems. ITI is participating because it is a market leader for CAD interoperability solutions. SystemInsights is participating because it is a principal architect of the MTConnect standard.

STEP Tools, Inc. is the prime and it is developing and marketing a next generation simulator for model based machining. This simulator will become more functional and cost effective when it can be operated from tablets, and when its results can be validated by a real or virtual CMM.

The new tablet environment needs be able to operate and orchestrate a wide variety of machines which requires standards for the digital data. The project will seek a solution by combining the data of STEP, QIF and MTConnect standards into a unified stream that can be used to evaluate the overall quality of a product. In the first phase we will demonstrate the remote initiation of CNC machining processes using tablets. In the second phase we will demonstrate the remote orchestration of optional aspects of the process from the tablet. In the third phase we will demonstrate interoperability using the unified data stream.

Time and money are wasted when a machining program creates a part that does not conform to the design requirements of the customer. The new service will allow machining programs to be checked for conformance from remote locations. When conformance is not going to be met it will allow the process to be adjusted using apps developed for the purpose by STEP Tools, Inc.

The servers necessary to run the tablet environment will be installed at the DMDII. They will be seeded by with the STEP Tools apps to enable machine program adjustment for the O3 test parts. The new apps will be delivered as open source, via the digital commons, so that similar apps can be developed for other parts and applications. Machining shops will be able to install similar servers. In order to make use of the new server and apps they will need pre and post-processors that produce data for the ISO 10303-238 STEP-NC standard. Open source solutions are already available. MTConnect and QIF will be necessary to connect measurement systems to the machining systems. System Insights will show how to analyze the new data to evaluate the overall performance of a solution.