A different organization will take over the job of guiding the evolution of STEP, the global Standard for the Exchange of Product model data. For the past 14 years, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has filled the role. NIST officials no longer want their agency to be the secretariat for the Subcommittee on Industrial Data of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Rather, they want NIST to shift from administering manufacturing and enterprise integration standards and focus instead on technical contributions to those standards. NIST performed much of the manufacturing research that led to STEP, a universal language for exchanging product information among computers. ISO officially adopted STEP as ISO 10303 in 1994. Major automotive and aerospace manufacturers have adopted STEP-based technologies and are spreading them to their supply chains. The American National Standards Institute, the U.S. member of ISO, is expected to choose a successor secretariat by October 1999. For more information, phone NIST experts Lisa Phillips at (301) 975-5021 or Steven Ray at (301) 975-3524.
Two researchers from Cornell University have won a $100,000 grant from NASA to continue work to develop an energy-harvesting robotic eel the space agency aims to use to explore oceans on one of the moons of Jupiter.
Is the factory smarter than it used to be? From recent buzzwords, you’d think we’ve entered a new dimension in industrial plants, where robots run all physical functions wirelessly and humans do little more than program ever more capable robotics. Some of that is actually true, but it’s been true for a while.
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