Resources and Key Documents

Glossary of Terms and Acronyms

This document is intended to provide definitions for commonly used terms in the context of STEP. It was compiled from a number of sources.

A downloadable copy of the Acronym List is also available: Acronym List


[A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z]  



AAM - Application Activity Model
This model is one form of requirements documentation for an application protocol. A formal functional description of the processes in a defined application context. The AAM also includes the definition of those data items which act as Inputs, Controls, Outputs and Mechanisms (ICOMS) on those processes. The purposes of this representation are (1) to obtain an understanding and agreement of the application process, and (2) for data discovery.

Acceptance Testing
Formal testing conducted to determine whether a software system satisfies its acceptance criteria and to enable the customer to determine whether to accept the system. (ANSI/IEEE Std 729-1983) Formal testing includes the planning and execution of several kinds of tests (e.g. functional, volume, performance tests) to demonstrate the implemented software satisfies the customer requirements for the software system. NOTE - This does not form part of conformance testing.

a toolkit for solid modelers; ACIS is a trademark of Spatial Technology, Boulder, CO; stores wireframes, surfaces, and solids in a single data structure)

AEC - Architectural, Engineering, and Construction

AECMA - European Association of Aerospace Industries

AFEI - Association for Enterprise Integration

AIA - Aerospace Industries Association

AIAG - Automotive Industry Action Group

AIC - Application Interpreted Construct
a component of an application protocol that is interoperable with another application protocol.

AIM - Application Interpreted Model
A model that describes the interpretation of the STEP integrated resource constructs that provide functional equivalence to the Application Protocol's information requirements as specified in the Application Reference Model (ARM). Required documentation for the AIM includes the description of the usage of the entities of that information model and a summary of the rationale with which the resultant schema was derived from the application reference model (ARM). As well as an EXPRESS definition of a STEP schema - a definition of the information content of a STEP file or database.

AIS - Application Interface Specification
Developed by CAM-I

AIT - Advanced Information Technology for Design and Manufacture European Aerospace & Automotive Consortium

AM- Application Module

ANSI - American National Standards Institute
A voluntary federation of standards-developing and standards-using organisations that manages and co-ordinates the voluntary development of national standards in the U.S. and establishes standards as American National (consensus) Standards. Provides the basis for U.S. participation in the international standards activities.

AP - Application Protocol
A document which specifies implemental STEP constructs and is a Part in the 200 series of the standard. A STEP definition of the context, scope and information requirements for a product model in a particular application domain e.g. AP203. An AP comprises of an AAM, ARM, AIM and ATS.

AP203 - Application Protocol 203
The STEP (ISO 10303) application protocol: "Part 203: Configuration controlled 3D designs of mechanical parts and assemblies''.

AP209 - Application Protocol 209
The STEP (ISO 10303) application protocol: "Part 209: Composite and metal structural analysis and related design''.

AP210 - Application Protocol 210
The STEP (ISO 10303) application protocol: "Part 210: Electronic assembly, interconnect and packaging design''.

AP214 - Application Protocol 214
The STEP (ISO 10303) application protocol: "Part 214: Core data for automotive mechanical design processes''.

AP233 - Application Protocol 233
The STEP (ISO 10303) application protocol: "Part 233: Systems engineering data representation''.

AP239 - Application Protocol 239
The STEP (ISO 10303) application protocol: "Part 239: Product life-cycle support''.

AP242 - Application Protocol 242
The STEP (ISO 10303) application protocol: "Part 242: Managed model based 3D engineering''.

APDE - Application Protocol Development Environment

API - Application Programming Interface
An interface from an external application that provides access to the functional Interface capabilities and database of the PDM system. The interface is usually built from a library of callable routines which can be linked into other applications or programs. These routines are used to call PDM functions and to access or update the PDM database.

Archiving is the intelligent back-up of selected objects (datasets, items etc.) that no longer need to be accessed on a regular basis within the PDM system. These files are removed from the on-line disk storage to a lower cost media such as tape or optical disk.

ARM - Application Reference Model
An information model that formally describes the information requirements and constraints for an application area in support of AP development. The information model uses application-specific terminology and rules familiar to an expert from the application area. The model is independent of any physical implementation and must be validated by experts from the application area.

ASA - Aerospaces States Association

ASD - AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe

ASG - Automotive Steering Group

ATS Abstract test suite
A complete set of abstract test cases (one or more files, encapsulating the test purpose, which provide the basis from which parameterized executable test cases are derived), possibly combined into a nested test group, that is necessary to perform conformance testing for a standard or group of standards.

AUSDEC - Australasian STEP Data Exchange Center 



Backup A backup is either the process of storing a subset of files on a secure medium or a reference the copied data. Backup's are used for the recovery of the system or lost data. Sometimes the term is used for an Archive.

BOM - Bill Of Materials
A Bill of Materials is an ordered list of the parts, sub-assemblies, assemblies and raw materials that defines a product. Bills of Material have two common methods of display. The first is hierarchical, where the root is usually the product and the subordinate assemblies and components displayed in an inverted tree showing their various levels and relationships. The second is the indented listing, this represents the various levels in the bill by indentation. In the STEP standard this is known as a product structure traversal. Within a PDM system the BOM is normally created and maintained by a dedicated product structure sub-system.

BOM - Business Object Model

BSI - British Standards Institute 

An Object Oriented language based on C.

CAD - Computer Aided Design
Computer Aided Design is generic term applied to all aspects of design using computer software tools. It most usually covers geometry creation, manipulation and the production of plotted drawings. MCAD refers to mechanical engineering design, ECAD refers to electrical engineering design.

CAE - Computer Aided Engineering

CALS - Continuous Acquisition and Life-cycle Support
CALS, MIL-STD-1840A, is a US DoD initiative that defines methodologies and procedures for life cycle management of DoD sponsored developments and procurements. Key features of CALS are its definitions of standard mechanisms for the delivery of digital data and for enabling concurrent engineering. The CALS initiative has endorsed IGES and STEP as formats for the digital exchange of product data. CALS includes standards for electronic data interchange, electronic technical documentation and guidelines for process improvements. CALS was formerly known as Computer-aided Acquisition and Logistics Support.

CAM - Computer Aided Manufacture Computer Aided Manufacture is a generic term applied to the application of CAD system geometry to automate the programming of numerically controlled (NC) machine tools.

CAM-I Computer-Aided Manufacturing - International

CAPP Computer Aided Process Planning

A Commercially available mechanical CAD system supplied by Dassault Systeme.

Refers generically to the family of software tools which include Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM), and Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE).

CAx-IF- Computer Aided "x" (Design, Manufacturing, Engineering, etc. ) - Implementor Forum

CC - Conformance Class

CD - Committee Draft

CDM - CATIA Data Manager
manages CATIA models

CE - Concurrent Engineering
Concurrent Engineering (CE) is a management/operational methodology which optimizes product design and manufacturing by developing environments in which personnel from all disciplines (design, marketing, manufacturing engineering, process planning and support) work together throughout all phases of the product development life cycle. Concurrent Engineering is often referred to as Collaborative Engineering.

CFD - Computational Fluid Dynamics

CGI - Common Gateway Interface
allows programs to be invoked on a remote web server.

CGM - Computer Graphics Metafiles
Used used to exchange vector files. Examples of these are plotted drawings and diagrams. This format can be used for both exchange and storage. The format is similar to a plot file with some enhancements to support drawing structure, this allows easier editing in the receiving system.

Change Control
The process and procedures that manage how changes are incorporated into a product. Change Control is a part of overall configuration management and uses review and release processes to enforce compliance with enterprise change policies.

CIM - Computer Integrated Manufacturing
Computer Integrated Manufacture involves the use of computers to manage an integrated manufacturing environment. Corporate Information Management.

CITIS - Contractor Integrated Technical Information Services
A service in which contractors maintain databases of information for a project and provides electronic access to that database to government agencies and suppliers working on that project. This is part of Phase II CALS.

CM - Configuration Management
Configuration Management is the process of defining and controlling a product structure and its related documentation. CM includes maintaining revision control and history information about all changes to a document or product.

Conformance testing
The testing of a candidate product for the existence of specific characteristics required by a standard.

CORBA - Common Object Request Broker Architecture
an architecture specified by the OMG for Object Oriented computing distributed across a network.

COTS - Commercial Off-The-Shelf

CSG - Constructive Solid Geometry

DARPA - Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

Data Dictionary A Data Dictionary is a repository for descriptions of data types or object types. Data Dictionaries are used to store definitions of, for example, item types and their attributes. This allows users to see what item types have been defined and what their uses are. Active data dictionaries are used by software to validate data as it is entered and to provided users with access to definitions on-line.

Data Model The definition of all data elements and their relationships to be maintained within a PDM system. The data model defines the schema for the PDM system. The data model for an enterprise should be consistent across all implementations of a PDM system, this will ensure future integration of systems.

Data Translation Translation of PDM held data from one format to another via direct or standards based translators such as IGES.

DBMS - Data Base Management System

DDE - Digital Definition Exchange

DEX - Data Exchange Specification

DFM - Design For Manufacture
Design For Manufacture represents a new awareness of the importance of design as the first step in manufacturing. It recognizes that a company cannot meet quality and cost objectives with isolated design and manufacturing operations. Design for manufacture, together with Design for Assembly are two key themes and objectives of a Concurrent Engineering Environment.

DFA - Design For Assembly
Similar in concept to Design For Manufacture, Design For Assembly focuses on the need to minimize the cost of assembly within the constraints imposed by other design requirements. As with DFM, Design for Assembly methodologies help focus the designer on manufacturing issues. Drawings, product structures etc. produced during a design, using DFA, should represent the method of manufacture and thus eliminate the need for a separate manufacturing or production bill.

DIS Draft International Standard.

DoD  Department of Defense

DTD- Document Type Definition 

EA- Engineering Analysis

ECAD - Electronic Computer Aided Design

EC - European Community

EDI - Electronic Data Interchange
Standard for exchange of business data. An ANSI standard.

EDIF - Electronic Design Interchange Format.
A file format for communicating two-dimensional graphics and interconnection information that is often used to describe the patterns that are used to fabricate semiconductor chips.

EDIFACT - Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport

EIA - Electronic Industries Association

ENGEN - Enabling Next Generation Mechanical Design.
A joint PDES, Inc./DARPA sponsored project.

ESPRIT European Strategic Program for Research in Information Technology

A portion of a company which is related by a common interest in a product or group of products. An enterprise may also logically include a network of subcontractors involved in the common product. PDM systems are often applied across an enterprise.

EXPRESS The information modeling language used to define the STEP standard.

EXPRESS-G - A graphical version of EXPRESS

An enterprise wide implementation of the Internet, i.e. the network of computers is limited to a particular enterprise.  

FDIS Final Draft International Standard

FEA Finite Element Analysis

FIPS Federal Information Processing Standard

FTE- Full Time Equivalent

FTP File Transfer Protocol.
A client-server protocol which allows a user on one computer to transfer files to and from another computer over a TCP/IP network.  

GDT- Geometric Dimensional and Tolerancing

GOSET Operational Group for the Standard for Exchange and Transfer. The center for SET and STEP Standards activities in France. Its purpose is to solve neutral data format data exchange problems.

GUI- Graphical User Interface 

HTML Hypertext Markup Language

HTTP Hypertext Transfer Protocol. Protocol used to transfer hypertext documents on the Internet.  

IDEF ICAM (Integrated Computer Aided Manufacturing) Definition

IDEF0 ICAM Definition 0, a "function model"

IDEF1 ICAM Definition 1, an "information model"

IDL Interface Definition Language

IEC International Electrotechnical Commission

IEEE Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers

IF- Implementor Forum

IGES Initial Graphics Exchange Specification - Used to represent the two and three-dimensional drawings and geometry of objects (An ANSI standard).

INCOSE- International Council on Systems Engineering

Internet a world wide interconnected network of computers communicating using a standard set of protocols such as TCP/IP and HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol).

Intranet a corporate wide implementation of the Internet i.e. the network of computers is limited to a particular company or corporation.

Interoperability Related to acceptance testing, but specifically applied to the examination of the information exchange between two specific schema's and the ability of each to use such information.

IPC Institute for Interconnecting and Packaging Electronic Circuits

IPO IGES/PDES Organization
A U.S. activity composed of volunteers from industry, government and academia who are dedicated to the development and implementation of world-wide standards for the digital representation and communication of product data.

IR - Integrated Resource

IS - International Standard

ISAP - International STEP Automotive Project.

ISC- International Industry STEP Centers

ISO- International Organization for Standardization

ISO 10303 - ISO Standard 10303: STandard for the Exchange of Product model data (STEP) 

JAMA Japanese Automotive Manufactures Association

Java An Object Oriented language developed by Sun Microsystems. Designed as a highly portable language intended to be used to develop Internet applications. See for details.

JSTEP Japan STEP Promotion Centre 

LAN - Local Area Network.

Life Cycle - The description of the distinct phases through which each product passes during its product life. This includes phases such as requirements definition, concept design, product etc.

LOTAR - LOng Term Archival and Retreival 


MBE - Model Based Enterprise

MBe - Model Based Engineering

MBm - Model Based Manufacturing

MBs - Model Based Sustainment

MIL-STD 31000 - Military Standard - Technical Data Packages

MIME - Multi-purpose Internet Mail Extension

MOU Memorandum of Understanding

MRP - Manufacturing Resource Planning 

NC Numerical Control. Usually used to refer to a machine such as a milling machine.

NIDDESC Navy/Industry Digital Data Exchange Standards Committee

NIIIP National Industrial Information Infrastructure Protocols
National Industrial Information Infrastructure Protocols. A US consortium investigating the technologies required to enable a "Virtual Enterprise". See for details.

NIST National Institute of Standards and Technology 

Object The term Object is used to mean a collection of attributes that represent either a physical or logical artifact. For example an Object can represent all the information required for an item or a drawing, it can also be the data used by the PDM to store a dataset. The key feature of an Object is that it represents data that can be manipulated as a group, so copying an item Object copies all the attributes associated with the object in one action.

Objects are specialized into Classes. An object representing a particular type of bolt, for example, could be in the Class of Objects called bolts. In PDM systems there are often several classes such as item, dataset, folder etc.

Objects have 'methods'. Methods are ways in which the object can be accessed, modified, displayed, etc. The object stores the action associated with a method of access, for example 'print', so that when a message is sent to the object asking it to print it will carry out its print method. Asked to 'print', a text dataset will print the text to a printer, a dataset representing a CAD drawing to plot the file to a plotter. Methods allow programs to handle objects of any type, without the need to write specialized code to deal with each type of object.

Another feature of Objects is inheritance. One class can be based upon another, the new class is called a subclass. The new class will inherit all the attributes of the other class. So you could have a class call bolt with attributes, length, thread type and pitch. You can then create a subclass called plastic. The new class would inherit the attributes length, thread type and pitch from the bolt class and have new attribute 'type of plastic'.

OEM- Original Equipment Manufacturer

OAG- Open Applications Group

OMG - Object Management Group
An international consortium founded in April 1990 to promote non-proprietary standards for open computing, in particular standards for distributed Object Oriented systems. They are responsible for the CORBA standard. (See:

OODB Object Oriented Data Base Management System (OODBMS) is a DBMS in which data objects are encapsulated by classes that have predefined characteristics. Objects added to the database automatically acquire (inherit) the characteristics of their class. Data within a class of objects is only accessible by predefined methods of access, known as "methods", which have been defined for that class.

ORB Object Request Broker
The CORBA mechanism for passing messages between objects distributed over a set of applications which may in turn be distributed over a network of computers.

OSEB- Object Serialization Early Binding 

Part 21 File
An ASCII file of STEP compliant data.

PAS-C PDES Application Protocol Suite for Composites

PCA Printed Circuit Assembly

PCB Printed Circuit Board

PDD Product Definition Data

PDE Product Data Exchange

PDES Product Data Exchange using STEP (see STEP).

PDES, Inc. A consortium of industry/government/university partners with the mission to accelerate the development and implementation of STEP.

PDM Product Data Management
A database system used to manage all documents, CAD drawings and other data relevant to a product.

PDM-IF- Product Data Management-Implementor Forum

PLCS - Product Life Cycle Support (ISO 10303-239)

PLCS-IF - Product Life Cycle Support-Implementor Forum

PLM - Product Lifecycle Management

PORT Partnership Order Retrieval Tool

Product Model The Product Model is the entire product information database which describes the product completely and unambiguously. It contains two general types of information: physical product design information represented by the design model and process information, represented by the process and data model.

PPC Policy and Planning Committee (of SC4)

Product Structure Product Structure refers to the way that parts, components, sub-assemblies and assemblies fit together to form a product.

ProSTEP The center for STEP in Germany.  

RAMP Rapid Acquisition of Manufactured Parts - A U.S. Government project formed to accelerate the automation and integration of generating weapon system technical information in digital form.

RPG- Recommended Practices Guide

SASIG STEP Automotive Special Interest Group

SC4 Subcommittee 4 (of ISO TC184)

SDAI Standard Data Access Interface
STEP application programmer interface (API) to applications such as databases and CAD systems.

SE - Systems Engineering

SEDS SC4 Enhancement and Discrepancy System

SIB - Systems Integration Board

SGML Standard Generalized Markup Language. An international standard for the markup of text, ISO 8879. SGML is a language for describing the structure of documents (or information) and for describing a tagging scheme to delineate that structure within text.

SMRL - Semantic Markup Rule Language

SOLIS SC4 On-Line Information Service

SQL Structured (or Standard) Query Language

STEPStandard for the Exchange of Product model data
The ISO standard for product modeling: ISO-10303 ``Industrial Automation Systems and integration -- Product data representation and exchange'', or as it is more commonly known: ``STEP -- STandard for the Exchange of Product model data'' The goal is a complete, unambiguous, computer-readable definition of the physical and functional characteristics of a product throughout its life-cycle.

STEP ml- STEP Markup Language

STIR STEP TDP Interoperability Readiness Project.

STEPwise STEP Web Integrated Supplier Exchange pilot

SysML - Systems Modeling Language
An extension to the UML language that is a modeling language for Systems Engineering  

TAC Technical Advisory Committee

TC184 Technical Committee 184 (of ISO)

TCP/IP communication protocol used on the Internet.

TDP Technical Data Package

TS- Technical Specifications 

UG- Usage Guide

UoF - Unit of Functionality

UML- Unified Modeling Language

US Pro - U. S. Product Data Association

US TAG - U.S. Technical Advisory Group 

VHDL - Very High Speed Integrated Circuit (VHSIC) Hardware Description Language
A computer language (IEEE Standard 1076-1987, ANSI Standard 1076-1988, used internationally) that provides designers with the ability to model computer simulated descriptions of digital electronics, to communicate the logical and physical interconnection between the models created, and to exchange the resulting digital electronic product data among the several producers of systems using the digital products described.
WAN - Wide Area Network

WBS - Work Breakdown Structure

WG - Working Group 

XLink- XML Linking Language

XSL- Extensible Stylesheet Language

XSLT- Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformation

XML- Extensible Markup Language