Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
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LAYMOD; A Layered and Modular Platform for CAx Collaboration Management and Supporting Product data Integration based on STEP Standard

Authors: Omid F. Valilai, Mahmoud Houshmand


Nowadays companies strive to survive in a competitive global environment. To speed up product development/modifications, it is suggested to adopt a collaborative product development approach. However, despite the advantages of new IT improvements still many CAx systems work separately and locally. Collaborative design and manufacture requires a product information model that supports related CAx product data models. To solve this problem many solutions are proposed, which the most successful one is adopting the STEP standard as a product data model to develop a collaborative CAx platform. However, the improvement of the STEP-s Application Protocols (APs) over the time, huge number of STEP AP-s and cc-s, the high costs of implementation, costly process for conversion of older CAx software files to the STEP neutral file format; and lack of STEP knowledge, that usually slows down the implementation of the STEP standard in collaborative data exchange, management and integration should be considered. In this paper the requirements for a successful collaborative CAx system is discussed. The STEP standard capability for product data integration and its shortcomings as well as the dominant platforms for supporting CAx collaboration management and product data integration are reviewed. Finally a platform named LAYMOD to fulfil the requirements of CAx collaborative environment and integrating the product data is proposed. The platform is a layered platform to enable global collaboration among different CAx software packages/developers. It also adopts the STEP modular architecture and the XML data structures to enable collaboration between CAx software packages as well as overcoming the STEP standard limitations. The architecture and procedures of LAYMOD platform to manage collaboration and avoid contradicts in product data integration are introduced.

Keywords: CAx, Collaboration management, STEP applicationmodules, STEP standard, XML data structures

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