STEP Tools, Inc. to Perform First Demo of STEP-NC in the U.S.

Troy, New York - September 18, 2000 - STEP Tools, Inc., the forerunner in developing STEP-integration software toolsets for the global marketplace, announced today it will perform the first demonstration of STEP-NC in the United States during the third Industrial Review Board (IRB) meeting for its Model Driven Intelligent Control of Manufacturing program, known as the "Super Model" Project. This historic event will be held on Thursday, November 30, 2000 at the Benet Laboratories of Watervliet Arsenal, the oldest American manufacturing arsenal located in Watervliet, NY across the Hudson River from Troy, NY. The STEP-NC system will allow numerically controlled (CNC) machine tools to be controlled by product design data. The Super Model Project is supported by an Advanced Technology Program (ATP) Award issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department's Technology Administration. A press conference and reception is planned for 5:00 pm at Benet Laboratories

This landmark exhibition will reveal how STEP (Standard for Product Data Exchange) is growing beyond CAD (Computer-aided Design) into CAM (Computer-aided Manufacturing) and NC machining. The Super Model initiative is the driving force behind the development of software and databases for an integrated design-to-manufacturing system. The existing standards for NC Control (M and G codes) were invented in the 1950's when paper tape was the most popular storage medium. The STEP- NC project is slated to replace these antiquated standards with intelligent 3D model data. The projected results for machine shops would be a 37% decrease in set-up times, while original equipment manufacturers have the potential to reduce the data preparation process by up to 75%. STEP Tools will conduct pilot projects to illustrate these savings during the next two years.

STEP Demonstration to Break New Ground in Manufacturing

The STEP-NC demonstration will feature the FB Mach CAM system generating STEP-NC data, and a Bridgeport Machine Tool controller being used to machine the part. FB Mach is a CAM system developed by Honeywell for the Department of Energy. In the demonstration, the FB-Mach program will read a STEP file from a CAD system. The operator will use its advanced feature recognition capabilities to compute a manufacturing plan, and the result will be written as a STEP file containing all the information required to produce a part.

The Super Model will read the data written by FB Mach, then add the information to its database. A Bridgeport Controller modified by Electro-Mechanical Integrators (EMI) will then use the Intelligent Interface of the Super Model to read the manufacturing data. The Intelligent Interface will access the information necessary for a milling machine to produce the part, and present this information in an easy-to-process format on a Windows-based control system.

The Industrial Review Board represents all sectors of the industrial marketplace and will be on hand for the official unveiling of STEP-NC. Members include: Fred Proctor (National Institute of Standards & Technology), King G. Yee (The Boeing Company), Johnny Barnes (IBM Corporation), Paul Horstmann (IBM-NIIIP Project Office), Carla Mapes (IBM Software), Mr. Bob Burleson (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), Mr. Harold T. Frisch (NASA/GSFC), Bill Whitecotton (Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems), Jerry Yen and M.K. Simon (General Motors Powertrain), John Turner (GE Fanuc Automation), Dr. K.Y. Wang and Michael Sobolewski (General Electric CR&D), Carol C. Tierney (General Dynamics Land Systems), Tony Haynes (National Center for Manufacturing Sciences), Bob Callahan (RMC Associates), Lou Pavlakos (CIMPlus, Inc.), and Dave Platts (Hurco Machine Tool Products). The board also consists of sub-contractors: Honeywell FM&T (Alan Updike), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Harry Stephanou), Bridgeport Machine Tools (Marv Kreithen) and Liberty Consulting (Tom Rando).

IRB members from the CAD/CAM software industry include Robert Bean and John Ryan (CADKEY Corporation), Manish Patel (Unigraphics Solutions), Bill Gibbs and John Callen (Gibbs & Associates), Gary Hargreaves (CNC Software, Inc.) and Bob Giese (Alibre, Inc.).

Manufacturing companies from New York's Hudson Valley also reside on the IRB and include: James Moore (Cambridge Valley Machining, Inc.), Chris Healy (Dutchess Precision Industries), John Falatan (Fala Technologies), Otto Scherrieble (Otto-Tech Machine Company, Inc.), Bob Zentner (Tech Industries), Jim LoDolce (LoDolce Machine Company), Jan de Nijs (Monarch Machine Tool Company) and Ed Biro, Sr (The Design EDGE).

STEP Tools takes a leadership role in providing state-of-the art programming services and software tools for writing applications, translators and databases. With over one million end-users of STEP translators and the STEP file format, this international data standard describes and reliably transports 3D model content worldwide.