Stimulating Concurrent Engineering in Construction -
The EAPPM Aims and Motivations
Corresponding Author: Goncalves, Ricardo
Author(s): Scherer, R.J.(*),  and Goncalves, R.J.(+) 
Organisation(s): (*) Fakultät Bauingenieurwesen-Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden (Germany), (+) UNINOVA - Center for Intelligent Robotics, Quinta da Torre, Monte de Caparica (Portugal)
Product and process information is a key element for manufacturing operations, from design to business by way of product life cycle, stimulating Concurrent Engineering mechanisms.

The share of common data, and the requirement to find faster and reliable ways for data flow within industrial environments and manufacturer-customer relationships, has raised during last decade a set of proposals seeking methodologies and architectures, towards a potential solution. Most of them were developed within the R&D community with the support of industrial companies, as it is the case of some European projects running under the ESPRIT and Brite/Euram programs (e.g., ToCEE, funStep, FSIG, CIMTOFI, ELSEWISE, etc.). In order to assist data integration, the ISO TC184/SC4 standards, where the ISO 10303 (STEP) is included, have been performing an important role regarding product and process data modeling, delivering a set of Application Protocols covering some of the main industries in the world.

Four years ago the European Association on Product and Process Modelling (EAPPM) was set-up, where its main aim is to help organizations in the PDT field. Having the Building and Construction industry as a starting point, it deserves special attention on the industrial horizontal approaches based on a consolidation of know-how, results and "cases of success" coming from projects in the scope of Integration in Manufacturing. The EAPPM intends to be a pragmatic link between R&D and industry, supported by industrial associations, users groups and networks of excellence.

The EAPPM is taking the experience and results coming from some of vertically very successful experiences (e.g., from building and construction(B&C)-ELSEWISE and ToCEE or furniture-funStep and FSIG projects), enabling the re-use and re-adaptation in the same or other industrial sectors, consolidating and confronting the results in terms of methodologies, architectures and toolkits available to support the project's work, towards a generalized proposal in the field, covering large enterprises as well as very small SMEs.

Integration and mix of different standards created and developed for different purposes should also be encouraged and clarified by EAPPM close to the interested parties, explaining the understanding of the scope of each standard and the suitability of them for the purpose (e.g., UN/EDIFACT and STEP; how can they interact).

The strategy for the near future and the actions already taken and to be taken in short/mid term will be also presented within the paper, showing the natural continuation of the presented work and results within the EAPPM initiative, deserving special attention on those related with Construction. For further information about the project, please consult URL  http://wwwcib.bau.tu-dresden.de/EAPPM.