The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


Ship Product Model Data Exchange

Wavelengths: An Employee's Digest of Events and Issues (NAVSEA Carderock)

August/September 2002

By James Mays

WEST BETHESDA-Ship design has evolved from a drafting-based design tool to a three-dimensional (3D) product-oriented information database, used for design (Computer-Aided Design (CAD)), evaluation (Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE)), production (Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM)), and service life support (Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)). Carderock Division's Integrated Data Environment Applications Branch (Code 264), has been participating in that evolution.

One of the most significant enhancements has been the incorporation or integration of non-graphic attribute information with traditional graphics data. This expanded information database data have enabled the marine industry to expand CAD use to engineering analysis, production control and logistics support.

NAVSEA 05R and Carderock Division's Computer Modeling Simulation Department (Code 26) are working with industry in cooperative efforts to exchange ship CAD/CAE/CAM information using national and international product model data exchange standards. The use of portable, vendor nonproprietary, standard technical data have tremendous potential to facilitate electronic commerce as ship construction and marine vendor integration proceeds.

International Initiative

Support for ship product model data exchange standards development has come from NAVSEA, the Defense Logistics Agency, DARPA, National Shipbuilding Research Project (NSRP), and cost sharing contributions by industry partners. Organization for International Standards (ISO) 10303, STEP (STandard for Exchange of Product model data), is an international standard for the computer-interpretable representation and exchange of product data. U.S. industry cooperation now includes the Marine e-business Standards Association (EMSA) in Europe, the Japan Marine Standards Association, and the Korea STEP Center. The figure below provides a graphical view of the ship standards that are planned on the ISO TC 184/SC 4/WG 3/T 23 (Ship Team).

T 23 (Ship Team) AP Organization

High-speed and high-quality business and technical data exchanges require the teaming and cooperation of ship operators, designers, manufacturers, component vendors, and software developers to develop a neutral file exchange capability that has the functionality needed by all parties. The benefits from this effort will enhance product design and support while speeding electronic business processes and transactions.

Three ship structural envelope APs are the main T 23 focus. These are AP 216 ship moulded forms, AP 218 ship structures, and AP 215 ship arrangement. AP 216 has been balloted and approved. The standards document is being prepared for publication and will be ready before the end of the year. AP 218 and AP 215 have started the ISO ballot process and should be available by the end of 2003.

Two distributed system APs, ISO 10303 AP 227:2001 Plant Spatial Configuration (piping) and ISO 10303 AP 212:2001 Electrotechnical Design and Installation (electrical), have direct ship industry use and they have completed the ISO ballot cycle. Edition 2 of AP 227 is well underway to add HVAC and cable trays to the Plant Spatial Configuration AP.

DoD STEP References

Many documents have been generated to provide guidance on the use of STEP for supporting DoD systems. These documents go beyond the ship APs NSWC has participated in.


  • DoD Joint Technical Architecture 3.1, 31 March 2000, http://www-jta.itsi.
  • MIL-STD-1840C, Automated Interchange of Technical Information, 26 June 1997. D
  • LA ISO 10303 STEP Application Handbook Version 2, 21 December 2001,
  • Joint Aeronautical Commanders Group, Strategy for Product Data Throughout the Life Cycle, 8 May 2002.


      • DoN Policy on Digital Logistics Technical Data, 02 Nov 1999, http://
      • DoN CIO Information Technology Standards Guidance, 5 Apr 1999.


          NAVSEA INST 9040.3, Development, Maintenance, and Exchange of Product Model Data by Ship and System Programs, 4 March 1998.


          Carderock Division has been the Navy's leading advocate for building an international exchange mechanism that will support the sharing of data through a ship system's entire life cycle. The United States and the international maritime industry are committed to capturing the benefits of ship product model data exchange technology.

          Join the mailing list

          One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias