STEP AP242 Benchmark 2022 (STEP-BM)

Task and objective

Neutral standardized formats are becoming increasingly important to the product development processes at leading companies, not only when exchanging data with partners but also when making data available in downstream processes. The ISO standard STEP AP242 provides specifications for a large number of use cases, but how they are implemented and used in practice depends on the respective software vendors and user companies. The objective of the STEP AP242 benchmark, which is organized by the MBx Interoperability Forum (MBx IF), a joint project created by AFNeT, PDES, Inc. and the prostep ivip Association, is to test implementation of the standard by different software vendors and document the results in such a way that user companies can use them as the basis for making decisions.

Focus and concrete results

In 2022, the activities of benchmark team in the MBx IF focused on developing the project and budget plan, with the aim of obtaining firm commitments from participating vendors. It also defined the content of the tests for the benchmark based on the user requirements and use cases from the PDM IF. Two advanced use cases will be tested in addition to basic PDM functions. The first use case, "Product Structure", evaluates the exchange of assembly data in accordance with valid or specification-based criteria. The "Alternate and Substitute Parts" use case describes the option of using alternative supply sources to manufacture parts using alternative manufacturing methods or to manufacture items using substitute parts or materials. A survey was conducted to determine the vendors’ level of interest in the test cases. The test contents were then specified in greater detail and once again coordinated with the stakeholders.

Organizational and technical challenges

Developing the project plan and budgeting for the benchmark were the major challenges faced last year. Commitment to the benchmark from the vendors required a cost estimate, which in turn depended on the scope of the benchmark and the number of systems participating. With the help of empirical values obtained from previous benchmarks and an iterative approach, the project team was ultimately able to develop a project plan that was accepted by all those involved.

Planning for the current year 2023

The 4th STEP AP242 benchmark will be carried out during the course of the current year. In the first half of the year, all participating vendors will be given an opportunity to examine the test suite more closely and prepare for the test cases. In the second half of the year, all the tests will be performed and documented on the basis of the test suite. Publication of the results in a short report that will be available to the public, and a detailed long report for members of prostep ivip and AFNeT is planned for the end of the year.

What the project coordinator says:

"The planning and organization of the benchmark in 2022 was carried out in close coordination with representatives of the PDM IF and AFNeT and was very harmonious. The efficient collaboration both within the project team and with the user companies and software vendors means that, following a longer break, we are finally able to conduct a STEP AP242 benchmark again this year."

What the project manager says:

"The new STEP AP242 benchmark will make it possible for user companies to compare the current range of functions for STEP export and import provided by different PDM/PLM systems in a concise overview. We want to exploit possible synergies with the JT IF when defining test cases and thus persuade more vendors to participate in the benchmark."

Project management

Bernd Feldvoss, Airbus

Project coordination

Philipp Kremer
Tel.: +49 175 1975 650
E-Mail: philipp.kremer(at)


Dassault Systems
T-Systems International GmbH