Over a product lifecycle, many engineering tools are used to create computer-based models that need to interact. This poses interoperability problems because of the conflicting formats of the models and differing scopes of the tools. One proposed solution is an open standards-based product lifecycle management (PLM) framework. However, the use of open standards is hindered by the lack of knowledge regarding their actual and potential usage in current engineering processes. To overcome this hurdle and evaluate the opportunities and extent to which open standards can be used in such PLM frameworks, we develop three metrics for degree-of-openness of engineering information: compatibility, coverage, and completeness. To demonstrate the usefulness of the proposed metrics, we assess circuit board design information that is transferred between native models of an electronic CAD system and the STEP AP210 standard (ISO 10303-210). This preliminary experience shows that each of the three useful metrics provides a limited aspect of degree-of-openness, and the combination of these metrics provides a single more holistic degree-of-openness indicator.

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