STEP

STEP or "Standard for the Exchange of Product model data" is also referred as ISO 10303. STEP has been initially designed with the idea to supersede the IGES format (which was the first broadly used vendor-neutral CAD file format). However even today both formats co-exist and data in IGES and STEP represent lion share of all CAD files.

Typically, STEP can be used to exchange data between CAD, CAM, CAE, PDM/enterprise data modeling and other CAx systems. STEP addresses product data from mechanical and electrical design, geometric dimensioning and tolerancing, analysis and manufacturing, as well as additional information specific to various industries such as automotive, aerospace, building construction, ship, oil and gas, process plants and others.

STEP is developed and maintained by the ISO technical committee. There are also various technical groups that define usage conventions and recommended practices to ensure better interoperability between software applications. In CAD world, the most prominent group is www.cax-if.org that unites software vendors and industrial users.

ISO10303 is very extremely large and complex and is structured in multiple layers, for example, from physical file format definition (Part 21) to geometrical/topological definitions (Part 42), up to Application Protocols (AP’s) defining higher-level industry use cases. CAD Exchanger supports AP203, A214 and AP242, which are most commonly used AP’s.

Definition scope

The STEP standard defines the following entities:

STEP import (read)

Performance has always been a top priority for us and we always seek opportunities for further optimizations of our product. STEP is one of the most widely used file formats for CAD data exchange, so we pay special attention to it. Recently we have published our STEP V2 processing engine, which showed (according to our users) 16x performance boost due to heavy usage of parallel computations.

STEP export (write)

STEP SDK

Software vendors can use CAD Exchanger SDK to extend their C++, C# and Java applications to read, write, convert, visualize, analyze, triangulate or otherwise process STEP files. For details about STEP support by CAD Exchanger SDK please refer to the User’s Guide. For free evaluation of SDK please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

See how leading companies leverage STEP format with the help of CAD Exchanger SDK