The STEP File Analyzer (SFA) is a software tool that generates a spreadsheet or CSV files from a STEP (ISO 10303 –STandard for Exchange of Product model data) Part 21 file. STEP files are used to represent product and manufacturing information (PMI) and data exchange and interoperability between Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Manufacturing (CAM), Analysis (CAE), and Inspection (CMM) software. STEP is also used for the long-term archiving and retrieval product data (LOTAR).
A spreadsheet simplifies inspecting information from the STEP file at an entity and attribute level. Typical STEP file viewers show a 3D visualization of the part or model represented by the STEP file. The viewers usually have a high-level hierarchical display of the information in the STEP file where the user can drill down to individual attributes of parts. However, there is no way to view all of the actual STEP entities and their attributes at once. The STEP File Analyzer provides this capability by creating a spreadsheet from the STEP file.
The CAx Implementor Forum (CAx-IF) tests software implementations of AP242. The CAE Implementor Forum (CAE-IF) tests software implementations of AP209. The objective of the CAx-IF is to advance CAx (mainly Computer-Aided Design and Engineering) software system STEP translator development and to ensure that user requirements for interoperability are satisfied.
To test how well your CAD system implements STEP AP242 PMI, download the NIST PMI CAD models, open one of the models, export an AP242 file with PMI and process it with the STEP File Analyzer. The STEP File Analyzer results will indicate how well the AP242 PMI matches the expected PMI in the test case definition.
The STEP File Analyzer also generates reports for PMI Representation, PMI Presentation, and Validation Properties based on Recommended Practices defined by the CAx Implementor Forum.
PMI (Product and Manufacturing Information) consists of annotations and attributes that define product geometry and product specifications. PMI includes annotations to specify Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T), as well as non-geometric data such as surface texture specifications, finish requirements, process notes, material specifications, and welding symbols. GD&T is a symbolic language used to communicate tolerances on manufactured parts.
PMI Representation (also known as semantic PMI) includes all information necessary to represent GD&T without any graphical presentation elements. PMI Representation is associated with CAD model geometry and is computer-interpretable to facilitate automated consumption by downstream applications for manufacturing, measurement, inspection, and other processes. The PMI Representation spreadsheet report includes information related to GD&T such as Dimensional Tolerances, Geometric Tolerances, and Datum Features. PMI Representation is typically found in AP242 files.
PMI Presentation (also known as graphical PMI) consists of geometric elements such as lines and arcs preserving the exact appearance (color, shape, positioning) of the GD&T annotations. PMI Presentation is not intended to be computer-interpretable and does not carry any representation information, although it can be linked to its corresponding PMI Representation. The PMI Presentation spreadsheet report includes the type of the PMI and geometry entities such as polylines that make up the PMI Presentation. Associated geometry, PMI Representation, and Saved Views are also reported.
Validation Properties are quantities related to features of a CAD model that are computed by the native CAD software used to validate the import of those quantities. The Validation Properties spreadsheet report include geometric, PMI, assembly, annotation, attribute, and tessellated validation properties.
Coverage Analysis worksheets for PMI Representation and PMI Presentation are also generated when processing single or multiple STEP Files. Coverage is based on characteristics of PMI defined in the Recommended Practices. If a STEP AP242 file from a NIST CAD model is processed, then the PMI found in the STEP file is checked against the expected PMI in the corresponding NIST test case. The coverage analysis worksheets are color-coded by the expected PMI in each test case.