STEP Tools, Inc. Launches ATP with Industrial Review Board Meeting

Troy, New York-December 13, 1999 - STEP Tools, Inc., the forerunner in developing STEP-integration software toolsets for the global marketplace, today announced it will formally launch its Advanced Technology Project (ATP) with a meeting of its venerable Industrial Review Board consisting of leading manufacturers, software vendors and machine tool controls companies. STEP Tools will hold the kickoff meeting on December 15 and 16th in Troy, NY.

STEP Tools recently received the prestigious $2M ATP Award issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department's Technology Administration.

STEP Tools will also host a ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration on Wednesday, December 15, 1999 at 5:30PM at the historic Rice Building (Troy, NY), the new site for STEP Tools corporate headquarters. Honored guests include Senator Joseph Bruno, U.S. Congressman Michael McNulty, Lt. Governor Mary Donohue, and Troy Mayor Mark Pattison. This invitation-only event will be catered and co-hosted by Troy Savings Bank. All members of the Press are cordially invited to attend the celebration.

The Industrial Review Board (IRB) will include a cross-section of members from all sectors of the industrial marketplace - NIST Intelligent Systems Division, IBM Software, The Boeing Company, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, NASA/GSFC, General Motors Powertrain, Lockhead Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems, General Electric, GE Fanuc Automation, Hurco Machine Tool Products, Monarch Machine Tools, and Alibre, Inc. CAD/CAM software vendors include Unigraphics Solutions, CADKEY Corporation, CNC Software, Inc. and Gibbs and Associates. The board also consists of sub-contractors, Honeywell, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Bridgeport Machine Tools and a range of small users from the Hudson Valley in New York state.

The prestigious ATP award will fund STEP Tool's "Model Driven Intelligent Control of Manufacturing" project, dubbed the Super Model project, to develop an integrated design-to-manufacturing system that allows numerically controlled (CNC) machine tools to be controlled by product design data. The Industrial Review Board will participate in an advisory capacity for over a three year period, as STEP Tools leads the development of a prototype integrated data-sharing system for design-to-manufacturing.

By replacing a data exchange process that has been in place for over 50 years, STEP Tools believes it will provide manufacturers with increased productivity, reduced product variation and process faults, improved supply chain management, and reduce production costs by between 35% and 75%. In addition, the introduction of a new manufacturing system will provide a boost to software suppliers and the machine tool control industry. The major impact would be in the durable goods sector, which ships over $500 billion in goods annually.