Troy, New York - November 19, 2010 - STEP Tools, Inc. is pleased to announce an award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to evaluate technology options for a "National Simulation Service" that will make it easier and cheaper for users to check, correct and optimize machining programs defined by a new ISO machining standard called STEP-NC.
"STEP-NC machining programs are much easier to use than traditional G code ones," said project leader Dr. David Loffredo. "A STEP-NC program contains product models for the setups, cutting tools and the machine tools so the simulator is ready to go as soon as the program is loaded." A STEP-NC program also contains Geometric Dimensions and Tolerances (GD&T) for the parts it makes so these can be checked before, after and during machining to ensure better quality control.
In Phase I, STEP Tools will research the various methods available for material removal simulation and pick the best one for a world where every workstation has multiple processors. The Phase I SBIR will be followed by a Phase II if the research is successful. DARPA has selected the project for its "Manufacturing in Quantities of One" program in which it is searching for new technologies to make it easier to make complex products in very low quantities. Manufacturing simulation is a key technology for this program and making it more widely available and easier to use is a promising line of research.