The CAE Implementor Forum (CAE-IF) is a joint testing effort between AFNeT, PDES, Inc. and prostep ivip.

The objective of the CAE-IF is to accelerate the development of solutions for CAE interoperability (data exchange, visualization, long term archiving and retrieval) based on the ISO STEP AP209 edition 2 standard “Multidisciplinary Analysis and Design”, by organizing periodic tests (tests rounds) based on user needs defined functionalities. These solutions rely on STEP translators that can manage input and output data from CAE analysis as well as process data and metadata to capture the context in which this data was created (fig 1.). The CAE-IF offers a unique opportunity to CAE vendors to use the tests rounds as a sandbox in which they can evaluate and check new modules in their translators within a fully confidential framework. Finally, the CAE-IF initiative is expected to increase user confidence when using ISO STEP AP209 ed2 interfaces.

The CAE-IF is part of the global CAx-IF initiative whose scope covers CAD interoperability.

Figure 1: CAE interoperability using STEP AP 209 ed 2

Project Scope

The scope of the CAE domain is wide and can address a variety of simulation disciplines and analysis methods. In the initial phase, the CAE-IF project focuses on quasi-static linear Structural Finite Element Analysis (FEA), which commonly generates a significant amount of CAE data and represents a strong foundation to address later more complex simulations.

Project Schedule and Organization

The first CAE-IF test round was launched in Q3-2017.

The CAE-IF runs test rounds every 6 months (fig 3.) with the following steps:

  1. Select the scope of functionalities to be tested and create original tests accordingly during the preparation phase,
  2. Generate STEP files and related validation properties from original test data, check syntax and compliance with recommended practices,
  3. Share and consume other participant’s STEP files, retrieve validation properties and other relevant statistics, and
  4. Compare native and retrieved validation properties as well as other statistics.

Figure 2 : CAE-IF test round breakdown

After the preparation phase, each test round starts with a kickoff meeting and ends with a technical review meeting during which the results and conclusions are discussed. Both are generally physical meetings organized alternatively in the USA and in Europe. Additional conference calls are organized during the test rounds to promote direct exchanges between participants and to enable efficient problem solving.

During the technical review, the statistical results are presented in an anonymous format. When appropriate, “Recommended Practices” documents are established or updated and necessary evolutions for the STEP standard can be initiated.

Figure 3: the CAE-IF test round « Clock »

Tests are selected according to the business needs from the users, with increasing complexity. The LOTAR Engineering Analysis and Simulation Working Group (EAS WG) is strongly involved in the selection of the functionalities to be addressed during each test round.


The participants in the CAE-IF are CAE software vendors or Tier 1 and 2 developing STEP based translators. The activities of the CAE-IF are driven by the Users Group, which defines and prioritizes functionalities to be addressed in each test round.

Project Coordinator

  • Jean Marc CREPEL, AFNeT

To join the CAE-IF Community