For twenty years the manufacturing domain has been seeking to share product model data by defining an entity relationship model covering the life cycle of geometrically defined products. The data sharing is implemented by selecting subsets of these entities and relationships to define data exchange standards for CAD, CAE, CAM, CNC and PDM systems. The approach requires agreement on how data will be reused across the domains so an organization has been meeting to manage the required data definitions. Considerable success was achieved in 1995 when a standard was proposed and implemented by industry as a way to move 3D geometry between CAD systems. Now, a new protocol for exchanging manufacturing process information between CAM systems and CNC devices is being released. This protocol reuses much of the data defined for the other domains and will allow CNC manufacturing tools to process 3D data, but the complexity of the specification is causing controversy. In this paper we report on the new specification and analyze the advantages and disadvantages of its approach to defining CNC control programs.

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