PlantSTEP Demonstrates True Neutral Data Exchange of Plant Design Data Using STEP

Monday, June 17, 1996 - PlantSTEP, Inc., a consortium of the largest and most progressive leaders in the process and construction industries, has been working since mid-1994 to develop and implement the STEP standard for the exchange of data used in the design, construction, and operation of large facilities. PlantSTEP announced today that its Demonstration Project has reached an important milestone in the completion of this goal. Four of its vendor members, Bentley Systems, CADCentre, Dassault Systemes and Jacobus Technology will demonstrate this capability at the A/E/C Systems Show on June 18, 1996 in Anaheim, CA.

In a set of exchanges demonstrated at the PlantSTEP seminar, the four vendors showed that they could support the representation and transfer of data, via the ISO AP227 PlantSTEP neutral file, between the various design life-cycle partners. A simple 3D model of equipment, pipe and fittings, and associated engineering data served as the test case.

In the demonstration, CADCentre's PDMS exported both full and partial STEP models, Dassault Systems' CATIA imported the partial STEP model, whereupon the arrangement was modified, and the result exported, and Bentley's MicroStation imported the resultant models and displayed the results. Jacobus' PlantSPACE then integrated the 3D model with the original Piping and Instrumentation Diagram (P&ID).

Several other vendors, including Intergraph and EA Systems have indicated that STEP exchange capabilities are part of their future development plans.

This success comes just a few months after the ISO member countries gave a favorable response to the Balloting of the AP 227 standard. The project hopes to release a "technically complete" version in the fourth quarter of 1996.

PlantSTEP industry members include: Bechtel, DuPont, Merck & Co., Black and Veatch, H.B. Zachry and Eastman Chemical. The PlantSTEP vendor members, which include Dassault Systemes, Bentley Systems, Computervision, CADCentre, Intergraph Computer Systems, Jacobus Technology, John Brown Systems, EA Systems, and Rebis, represent over 90% of the plant design systems market. The development and implementation of AP 277 has been technically directed by P.D.I.T., in cooperation with NIST's Computer Integrated Construction Laboratory, which is a government associate member of PlantSTEP.

Vendor Participant's Statements

Bentley System

Bentley is committed to supporting STEP as a method of data interchange. We will provide capabilities within MicroStation to ensure that third party applications will be able to fully utilize AP 227 and other STEP application protocols. This may include supporting certain APs in MicroStation and/or providing STEP functionality for 3rd party MDL application developers who need to exchange data using industry-specific Application Protocols. A PlantSTEP to MicroStation translation utility has been implemented. Currently supported entities include geometric shapes as well as non-graphic product data such as weight, part number, weight, material, etc. The implementation experience indicates that a full-scale PlantSTEP translation utility within MicroStation is feasible for most PlantSTEP conformance classes.


CADCentre is very pleased to participate in the PlantSTEP Demonstration Project. CADCentre has had previous experience on AP221 (P&ID) demonstrators for PISTEP, SP-INL and Process Base. We are very pleased with the progress of the demonstration within the available timescales.

For this demonstration we are creating an AP227 step file, from PDMS, with Piping and Equipment Engineering Data, Connectivity, Geometry and making use of Catalogue Information. We have used P.D.I.T.'s AP227 ARM Translator Interface (ATI) to create STEP files, and used NIST's CIC testing support for validation of our STEP files.

CADCentre will fully continue to implement AP227 into its 3-Dimensional products as customer demand increases in the future. We look forward to completing AP227 with PlantSTEP partners.

CADCentre is the host for the next AP227 meeting on July the 11th in our Cambridge, UK offices.

Dassault Systemes of America

Statement from Bernard Charles - President of Dassault Systemes:

"Dassault Systemes is committed to open systems. By implementing STEP natively inside CATIA/CADAM solutions, we demonstrate a fundamental commitment to CATIA/CADAM open architecture. We will continue to be on the front edge in the industrial implementation of this technology. It is our intent to provide the Process and other related industries with AP227 data exchange capabilities in the near future following our currently available AP203, and the soon to be available AP214, data exchange products. Also, we will support other relevant STEP APs for the Process Industry such as AP221."

Jacobus Technology's position on PlantSTEP

Statement from Buddy Cleveland, President:

"Jacobus Technology is committed to support PlantSTEP and other data standards as they become available for the plant industry. Our goal has always been to enable our customers to have a high degree of flexibility in the implementation of their information technology systems. The support of PlantSTEP by all vendors will enhance the degree of flexibility and interoperability our mutual customers require. Our participation in the PlantSTEP demonstration project has validated both the PlantSTEP concepts and our technology for implementing it and has served to reinforce our commitment to support the standard."

What others say about PlantSTEP

"The U.S. process and construction industries have a vital stake in STEP. Economics require us to work together to shape the emerging international digital product data exchange standard so critical to quality design, construction, and life-cycle support. We cannot afford to let others define the nature of the tools we need to build and prosper. This challenge is our opportunity. Companies with STEP expertise will have a competitive edge in the increasingly tough global marketplace."
-Dr. Mary L. Good, Secretary of Commerce (Acting)
"The effort to create a STEP approach for large capital facilities requires a broad team of companies from all aspects of planning, creating, building, and maintaining those facilities. PlantSTEP has attracted such a team. Within two years, the capabilities of STEP will allow forward-thinking firms to advance the state of managing large project facilities."
-P.J. Adam-CEO, Black & Veatch