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STEP - Compliant NC Research: The Search for Intelligent CAD/CAPP/CAM/CNC Integration



Xun W. Xu, H Wang, Jian Mao, S T. Newman, Thomas Kramer, Frederick M. Proctor, John L. Michaloski


Since the first generation of NC machine tool was developed in 1950s, there have been many developments, which make today's NC machines completely unrecognisable from their early ancestors. These developments however are now being significantly limited by the current programming language (ISO6983, or RS274D) that has been supporting NC manufacture since day one. Today a new standard, informally known as STEP-NC, is being used as the basis for development of the next generation of CNC controller. The Application Reference Model (ARM) of this new standard is given the number of ISO 14649, and the Application Interpreted Model (AIM) ISO 10303 AP 238. This standard gives CAM and CNC vendors the opportunity to integrate the capabilities of the CAD/CAM system with a new breed of intelligent CNC controllers, which has bi-directional communication of information representing standardised geometric and manufacturing data. This paper presents a comprehensive review of STEP-NC developments for a range of CNC processes. These developments include some major projects collaborated at the international level as well as those carried out by different groups of researchers in countries such as Germany, Switzerland, UK, Korea, USA and New Zealand. This paper also tries to portray a futuristic view of its applications for CAD, CAPP, CAM and CNC integration, identifies the issues and challenges for STEP-NC, and provides a vision of a STEP-NC compliant process chain supported by a product and manufacturing model.
International Journal of Production Research


computer aided manufacturing (CAM), computer numerical control (CNC), computer-aided design (CAD), manufacturing features, STEP, STEP-NC


Xu, X. , Wang, H. , Mao, J. , Newman, S. , Kramer, T. , Proctor, F. and Michaloski, J. (2004), STEP - Compliant NC Research: The Search for Intelligent CAD/CAPP/CAM/CNC Integration, International Journal of Production Research, [online], (Accessed April 19, 2024)
Created May 30, 2004, Updated October 12, 2021