Product life-cycle management:
There have also been changes in the use of some pre-existing data formats. Open associations have been formed to encourage some formats to become standards. The JT format was originally introduced as a "light weight" format for visualisation of CAD models in other business associated applications. JT enables drawings, 3D models & assemblies to be viewed and utilized throughout an enterprise. It has been illustrated to be quite adequate for some types of CAD data exchange and since the formation of the JT Open association it is likely that it will continue to develop in significance and functionality. One main automotive OEM contain terabytes of data in JT format and it may well decide that this will be the standard for exchange of information between itself and its world-wide supply chain. An action like this does not reduce the number of translations required, it will simply replace or even add to CAD to CAD translation with CAD to JT translation. Perhaps JT to CAD translation will be the next natural development. JT may, therefore, have the effect of increasing the number of translations that take place.
Whereas one "open standard" built up, another is announced, & 3D XML is championed by some as the next "open standard". There is no doubt that 3D XML protagonists contain a vast following and we can expect 3D XML to become widely used, but is it going to replace all the collective CAD data held in different formats? Probably not. The most probable outcome is that both "standards" will be widely used and that they will need to co-exist. Does this mean in the future a translator to move data between JT and 3D XML? Any consideration of standards in the CAD data translation environment must also involved some thoughts regarding STEP. Once considered by some to be nothing more than a "super IGES" STEP has slowly but surely become a real workable standard in some major OEM's and their supply chains. Perhaps one of the best-kept data
exchange secrets is that STEP specifications have now extended to include Feature and History structure. There are formal specifications for a modular extension to AP203 and it will be finalised as AP203 Edition II. It has been tested in productive use by a group of major industrial organizations, and at least one vendor of translators already has a STEP product with Feature and History capability.
So, even in this rather simple overview of the developing requirements of the end user, and the evolution of the new standards from the industry we see a continued state of flux and a continued need for translators and their further development.