Design engineers should benefit if a government agency succeeds in its latest endeavor before the International Standardization Organization. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) seeks a worldwide guideline for computer-to-computer exchanges of dimensional inspection information. Following a series of workshops, NIST officials report that manufacturers often are frustrated because computer-aided design packages do not include inspection planning and dimensional requirements. Companies also complain that incompatible data formats undermine sharing of part data and inspection results among software applications. As proposed by NIST, the new inspection standard would be a component of STEP, a standard that provides an unambiguous format for communicating data relevant to all phases of a product's life cycle.
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