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NIST Contributes to ISO Standard Enabling Product Data Interoperability

NIST Contributes to ISO Standard Enabling Product Data Interoperability
Credit: CTL

In October 2023, NIST researchers Allison Barnard Feeney, Rosemary Astheimer, and Sylvere Krima participated in a bi-annual meeting of ISO Technical Committee 184 Automation Systems and Integration, Sub Committee 4 Industrial Data (ISO/TC 184/SC 4) in Saratoga Springs, New York. The event was attended by representatives from around the globe who work together to advance standards that support industrial requirements for data in an increasingly digital world. 

The subcommittee develops standards for the content, meaning, structure, representation, and quality management of the information required to define an engineered product. NIST’s research focus is on facilitating seamless digital transfer of product information across disparate systems in the production enterprise. This data exchange is enabled by a family of standards called STEP (STandard for the Exchange of Product model data). In SC 4, Working Group 12 is responsible for developing and managing the information models that are the basis for STEP. NIST collaborator Keith Hunten (PDES, Inc.) is the convener of WG 12.

Early in the week, NIST’s Krima demonstrated NIST’s new Visual Studio Code extension that brings advanced software development abilities to STEP information modelers. The software, easyEXPRESS, significantly reduces the cognitive load on developers, and reduces time needed to author, edit, and validate information models. A coalition of international experts are currently focused on adding new capabilities to the 4th edition of a widely used STEP standard, ISO 10303-242 Managed model-based 3D engineering. They eagerly tested the NIST tool using the STEP Modules and Resources Library and provided feedback throughout the week and at a second, hands-on session at the end of the meeting.

NIST collaborators presented several research contributions targeting ISO 10303-242 edition 4. Keith Hunten presented models for composites material that include new entities identified through a harmonization activity with ASME Y14.37. Tom Thurman (TRThurman Consulting) proposed a new model leveraging universally unique identifiers to provide persistent identification of features for traceability as a product moves through the lifecycle. Ben Urick (nVariate) presented a solution for hybrid boundary-representation modeling, a new feature in some commercial CAD software that formally integrates different geometric models, in particular, boundary-representation solid models and tessellated geometric models (a tessellation is a covering of a surface using one or more geometric shapes with no overlaps and no gaps).

The week concluded with plenary presentations from the working groups, national bodies, and liaison organizations. NIST’s Astheimer presented on behalf of the Digital Metrology Standards Consortium (DMSC), of which she is a board member. She spoke of the need to collaborate and harmonize their ISO 23952 Quality information framework (QIF) standard with STEP. NIST’s Barnard Feeney presented on behalf of the Object Management Group, of which NIST is a member. She introduced a detailed presentation comparing the initial Systems Modeling Language (SysML) with the newly adopted SysML 2.0, in finalization. 

Finally, Barnard Feeney represented the United States in voting on formal resolutions of actions to be taken to move work products forward. Barnard Feeney had convened a U.S. Delegation meeting the previous evening to present the draft resolutions and develop and approve the U.S. positions.

Released November 1, 2023, Updated November 15, 2023