CoConut: Computer Support for Concurrent Design Using STEP
Open CAD design environments gain more and more importance in the last years. International efforts have been started to define architectures and environments for new open CAD systems. This paper presents the major concepts and components of the CoConut envirnment in the context of a mechanical CAD scenario. CoConut provides an open environment in the area of CAD, concerning two major aspects: the integration of already existing applications and their data in the environment, and the integration of new techniques in a CAD environment. To reach these goals, CoConut provides an open architecture and different integration strategies, based on an underlying object-oriented model and on the adaptation of international standardization efforts. Taking real production environments into account, CoCnut is designed to wirk in heterogeneous computing environments. The ability of cross-platform working fits to the needs of several specialized applications, designed for a specific computing environ ment. Thinking of designing and manufacturing a product as a complex chain of different processes, continous and homogeneous support by an environment will help to improve the product development process in the direction of enterprise integration based on an underlying product model. To support the communication between different staff persons as a result of the continuous support, the CoConut environment includes components based on CSCW techniques. This aspect is fundamental in reducing costs and time effort for discussions and technical needs during the integration of parts of a new product. Besides this, basic concepts of Coconut are the concepts of distribution and data sharing in heterogeneous environments. These concepts lead to the requirements for the several components and are regarded in the applied scenario and in the architecture of CoConut. These aspects are discussed briefly at the components dealing with data and the underlying schema management.