Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce and GE Aircraft Engines have now implemented a new DPA exchange process based on STEP (ISO 10303-203). This new process was developed through the PowerSTEP project, which built on technology developed by the PDES Inc. AEROSTEP pilot project. These projects were joint development efforts involving Boeing and the engine companies and their CAD system suppliers: Dassault Systemes (CATIA), EDS (Unigraphics) and Computervision (CADDS).
To date, more than 500 production models have been exchanged between Boeing and the three engine companies via STEP. Between 80 - 90% of the models transfer successfully without any intervention. In the remaining models, typically only one of the components will have a problem and old processes and/or manual intervention are used in those cases. Processes are in place to improve the success rate with the goal to eliminate the old process and all manual intervention. The exchange process is performed by the end users, not STEP specialists, and is capable of hundreds of exchanges per week.
The STEP process is based on open systems standards and software products from the computing system suppliers. The STEP process will return significant cost and flowtime reductions compared to the old process. The data are exchanged using STEP translators offered by the CAD suppliers, and the results are verified using a comparison of the mass properties (volume and center of gravity of the solids) between the sending and receiving system. The software is integrated to provide a complete end to end validated solution to the business process for DPA data exchange. A successful exchange requires the exact assembly tree as well as the creation of a valid solid model for each of the component parts. Each model file may contain up to several hundred solids. The STEP data exchanged is an integrated structure of solid model geometry, product identification, assembly/component relationships and administrative data.
Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, and Rolls-Royce are members of PDES, Inc., a joint industry/government consortium specifically formed to accelerate the development and implementation of STEP. PDES, Inc. is composed of more than 25 major industrial companies and government agencies who represent more than $600 billion in annual revenue.