The International Organization for Standardization has approved a new edition of a format for product engineering data devised with future engineers in mind.

AP203 Edition 2 is a new Standard for Exchange of Product Data, or STEP protocol. It handles sophisticated descriptions of designs and processes, including 3-D mechanical plans and assemblies, which should help tomorrow’s engineers work with today’s design data long after the originating software has moldered away.

The Geneva, Switzerland-based ISO will publish the protocol in April for implementation. It was developed by the National Institute of Science and Technology, with private sector partners from the aerospace, automotive, shipbuilding and software industries.