STEP Tools Awarded Phase One SBIR from the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command

Troy, New York - March 25, 2002 - STEP Tools, Inc., the forerunner in developing STEP and STEP-NC software solutions for the global marketplace, announced today it has been awarded a $70,000 DoD SBIR (Department of Defense Small Business Innovation Research) Grant from the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command. The STEP Tools' "Technology for Shipbuilding Affordability" project provides the research and testing groundwork to examine the technical merits of utilizing STEP-NC (the manufacturing extension of the international STEP product data standard) for manufacturing operations in the shipbuilding industry. STEP Tools will ascertain how the ship building industry can best leverage STEP-NC technology to control pipe bending and cutting, and estimate the economic benefits. The research will also outline how to take advantage of the existing STEP standards for piping systems and ship steel structures.

"STEP Tools is very proud to receive this SBIR Award from U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command," states Dr. Martin Hardwick, president and CEO of STEP Tools. "In the past decade, we have been involved in many development initiatives, such as Harvest and WSME, to improve the manufacturing efficiency of shipyards in the United States. This particular project provides the framework to research the viability of STEP-NC technology delivered from our Super Model project, as it applies to the complex architecture of ship design and manufacturing. We are ready for the challenge."

The DoD SBIR effort is lead by STEP Tools along with subcontractor General Dynamics Electric Boat (Groton, CT). The Department of Defense SBIR program is the largest source of early stage "research and development" funding available in the United States for small, high tech companies. All projects serve a Department of Defense need, and have commercialization potential in both military and commercial markets. STEP Tools retains the intellectual property rights for their innovations, which hold commercialization potential in both military and commercial markets.