Martin Hardwick
2019-12-10

Year In Review!

As 2019 draws to a close, we can take a moment to reflect on some interesting developments in the past year:

STEP-NC AP238 used to make 1,000,000 parts in 2019

  • It is being used across the aerospace sector — even for satellites.
  • Argument won — STEP-NC is the machine control data for future aerospace.
  • Engineer who did the work promoted to Technical Fellow.
  • Should assume FAA will want STEP-NC for digital twins of machined parts.

STEP AP242 Edition 2 is finished

  • Semantic PMI for on-machine CNC, and off-machine CMM measurement.
  • Machine tool kinematics for dynamic product and process placement.
  • Biggest and most widely tested information model for engineering.
  • Every CAD system has a STEP translator.

IFC very popular for building models

  • Technical meetings with thousands of attendees.
  • Translators being upgraded to include STEP facet models.
  • Very large multi-gigabyte models.

The original STEP definitions were for product geometry in AP203, they were extended to include assemblies in AP214, tolerances in AP242, processes in AP238, and kinematics in the new combined AP238/242 model. Other standards may do bits of STEP better, but they are less well tested, and less widely implemented.

STEP reduces the cost of manufacturing by allowing products, processes and machines to be assembled digitally for testing before delivery, and assembled physically after delivery using 3D control processes that are more flexible for adaption, more robust for validation, and more economical for operation.