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Product Model Exchange Using STEP

Exploitable results

In the face of intense cost pressures, Europe's manufacturing industries need to reduce lead times in product design, so as to speed up time to market. Standards for the exchange of information between production units electronically are being applied in the mechanical engineering industry. Under the PRODEX project a series of applications and software tools have been developed based on Standard for the Exchange of Product Data (STEP), a generic standard for electronic data interchange (EDI) in manufacturing. PRODEX has 3 principal components. Firstly, a 3-dimensional Product Design and Visualization tool generates 3-dimensional product data using 3-dimensional computer aided design (CAD) systems. New visualization tool techniques are used including, 3-dimensional holographic images, providing maximum visual perception and offering excellent visual quality checking. Secondly, a Finite Element Analysis tools provides fully integrated analysis of product behaviour with respect to stress, vibration and temperature during the design phase. Finally, a virtual reality, interactive simulation environment allows the rapid verification and optimization of assembly processes. The CAD++SDAI environment, the first product to be released under the PRODEX toolkit includes a direct interface to 14 CAD systems, while STEP-based interfaces are implemented through an Express-M compiler. All STEP environment protocols are therefore supported using a single environment rather than using one interface for each application. PRODEX project brought together 6 European suppliers of CAD and Finite Element software and 5 engineering consultancy companies and users. The resulting toolkit provides a means for meeting the complete requirements of all processes involved in mechanical design.

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