Frequently Asked Questions

What is the basic organization of a STEP-NC control file?
A STEP-NC control program is organized into working steps. Each working step describes an operation that contributes to the manufacture of the part. For example, it might rough out a pocket, spot-drill a hole, or finish mill a surface. An operation is applied to a manufacturing feature and it can be described parametrically or explicitly using a tool path. There are several conformance classes for implementations. For basic implementations, the STEP-NC file always contains toolpaths. In more sophisticated implementations, the control may generate some toolpaths automatically by applying CAM functionality to the GD&T and feature data.

Can STEP-NC define probing operations?
Yes. STEP-NC includes a rich language for describing probing operations. With STEP-NC writing NC programs that probe becomes much easier because the probing program can refer to the design tolerance and manufacturing feature data created by the CAD and CAM systems.

Can STEP-NC files be used to control many kinds of machines?
Yes. One of the main benefits of STEP-NC is that the same file can be used on any machine that meets the basic requirements assumed by the program such as tool-bed size and the required number of axes.

Can STEP-NC describe multi-head machines?
Yes. The STEP-NC model can describe part programs for machines with multiple cutting heads operating simultaneously.

Can STEP-NC be used on turning machines?
Yes. The STEP-NC AP-238 standard is a standard for milling and turning machines.

And other types of machining?
The STEP-NC framework is extensible. In principle any kind of manufacturing process can be described using STEP-NC. The real limit is whether the design data required for the process is described using STEP. STEP-NC models are in development for EDM, inspection and robotics.

Are there any limits to STEP-NC?
Of course, but these limits are not yet obvious and they may not be reached for many years. Please do not assume that a capability is missing just because it is not listed here. Contact us for more information.