STEP Tools, Inc. Wins Air Force SBIR

Troy, New York, July 16, 1998 - STEP Tools, Inc, has won an Air Force SBIR to develop "SESAME: A STEP Entry System for Small and Medium Suppliers". SESAME will be a suite of Internet tools to share product information across the supply chain. Over the next six months you will be able to watch a prototype of SESAME grow on our web site: www.steptools.com.

Currently full benefits of STEP product sharing can be realized only by large enterprises with the wherewithal to manage STEP's high cost of implementation. The objective of the SESAME project will be to provide a tool-set that makes STEP product sharing available to Small and Medium-sized enterprises. The SESAME project will bridge the technology gap that currently separates the tiers of an industrial supply chain.

The SESAME tool-set will demonstrate that a judicious selection of Internet protocols and technologies can be used as a new implementation method for the STEP standard. The SESAME tool-set will use HTML and HTTP for navigation, across enterprises, of product data containers. The Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) will be used as the means to publish a queryable product structure on the Internet as well as a means for federating product structures among enterprises. Java will be used to provide a platform-independent, object-oriented representation of product definition information. Java serialization will be used as the Internet standard vehicle for transporting product information between enterprises. VRML2.0 will be used to integrate visualization within SESAME. The goal of the SESAME tool-set is to provide a distributed, standards-based, user-friendly product information management system.

The ISO Standard for the Exchange of Product Model Data (STEP) grew from the need to represent digital product information for design and manufacturing. STEP accelerates the flow of product information, including CAD geometry, within and between engineering activities. The ability to condense and manage all the data related to a part, a process, or any related function can produce significant improvements in productivity. Using STEP, information pertaining to initial design, revisions, bill of materials, production, performance, and so on, can be centrally stored and electronically shared through networks, from LANs to the Internet.