The Cover PagesThe OASIS Cover Pages: The Online Resource for Markup Language Technologies
Advanced Search
Site Map
CP RSS Channel
Contact Us
Sponsoring CP
About Our Sponsors

Cover Stories
Articles & Papers
Press Releases

XML Query

XML Applications
General Apps
Government Apps
Academic Apps

Technology and Society
Tech Topics
Related Standards
Last modified: August 04, 2003
Product Life Cycle Support


[Provisional document, under construction.]

Standards and Initiatives

OASIS Product Life Cycle Support Technical Committee

[August 07, 2003]   OASIS Members Form Product Life Cycle Support Technical Committee.    Representatives from five OASIS member companies have formed a new Product Life Cycle Support Technical Committee relating to owners/operators of complex products and systems such as aircraft, ships and power plants. The purpose of the PLCS TC is to "establish structured data exchange and sharing capabilities for use by industry to support complex engineered assets throughout their total life cycle. These Data Exchange Sets (DEXs) are based upon ISO 10303 (STEP) Application Protocol 239 (Product Life Cycle Support). The TC proposers have identified more than thirty (30) candidate DEX specifications to meet particular industry needs, and will begin work initially on ten (10): Product Breakdown for Support, Functional Structure and Related Faults, Tasks Linked to Product, Work Schedule, Maintenance Plan, Product as Realized, Task Set, Support Drivers, Failure Feedback, Extended Task Set). The PLCS TC will be responsible for defining, developing, testing and publishing of DEXs, and for liaison with ISO TC 184/SC4. Participants will coordinate these activities with relevant OASIS Technical Committees and promote the use of DEX's across industries and governments world-wide." The TC co-chairs are Howard Mason (BAE Systems) and Jerry Smith (US Defense Information Systems). The first meeting of the PLCS TC will be held September 26, 2003 at the Lockheed Martin Facility in Manassas, Virginia, USA.

The new OASIS activity continues work begun in the Product Life Cycle Support (PLCS) initiative, described below. Whereas the ISO STEP technical activity is a broad and complex standards effort, the PLCS activity focusing upon application protocols and data model subsets (DEXs) represents a goal of making the relevant parts of ISO 10303 STEP useful in the ERP and PDM areas. PLCS provides the high-level data model, together with business rules and usage guidelines. The OASIS TC will also be developing reference data consisting of canonical lists (enumerated data types) that can be directly incorporated into applications.

Product Life Cycle Support (PLCS) Initiative

The Product Life Cycle Support (PLCS) Initiative described at PLCSINC.ORG is "a joint industry and government project to accelerate the development of a new international standard for exchange of assured product and support information." Sponsors as of 2003-08 included Aerosystems International Ltd, The Boeing Company, DNV, EDS PLM Solutions, BAE SYSTEMS, Finnish Defence Forces (FDF), Industrial and Financial Systems (IFS), Lockheed Martin Government Electronic Systems, LSC Group Ltd, Norwegian Defence, Pennant Information Services Ltd, PTC, Rolls-Royce (plc), Saab Technologies / FMV / Alvis Hägglunds, UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), and United States Department of Defense (DoD).

PLCS Summary

The Product Life Cycle Support (PLCS) initiative is being undertaken within the framework of the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) and aims to produce a full international standard by 2004. PLCS is supported by both industry and national governments with the aim of accelerating the development of a new international standard for the exchange of product support information. The standard will be the mechanism to ensure product and support information is aligned with the evolving product definition over the entire lifecycle, from design to disposal.

The standard will be an extension to the existing proven exchange capability of the Standard for Exchange of Product Data, also known as ISO 10303 (STEP). The PLCS Standard will be published as an Application Protocol to the STEP standard and will be known as ISO 10303, AP 239. The PLCS Standard (AP 239) will enable the exchange, sharing and archiving of support data. The compatibility with STEP will enhance the utility of PLCS in enterprises where STEP already supports design, analysis and manufacturing, e.g., automotive and aerospace industries. AP239 will also provide extension to the capabilities of AP203 (Configuration Controlled Design) and AP214 (Automotive Design Process) and hence the PDM Schema/Modules, to address the requirements for Configuration Management over the full product life.

The following capabilities are enabled by the proposed standard:

  • Activity Management: Capability to request, define, justify, approve, schedule and capture feedback on activities (work) and related resources
  • Product Definition: Capability to define product requirements and their configuration, including relationships between parts and assemblies in multiple product structures (as-designed, as-built, as-maintained)
  • Operational Feedback: Capability that describes and captures feedback on product properties, operating states, behaviour and usage
  • Support Solution and Environment: Capability to define and maintain the necessary support solution for a product in a specified environment including the opportunity to provide support (scheduled downtime), tasks, facilities, special tools and equipment, and personnel knowledge and skills required. PLCS will also relate organizations, personnel and facilities with the product needing support.

Application Protocol 239 (PLCS) is being developed to meet the needs of Governments, original product and/or equipment manufacturers, operators and third party service providers. The common attributes that make PLCS attractive to this user community are: (1) Complex high value products; (2) Many unique parts and product configurations; (3) Long service life; (4) Demanding in-service support requirements; (5) In-service support costs that encompass a significant portion of the total cost of ownership. The following industry groups could equally benefit from the adoption of PLCS:

  • Transportation - Commercial and Military Aircraft and associated Aero engines
  • Transportation - Commercial and Military Truck Fleets
  • Transportation - Commercial and Military Ships
  • Transportation - Locomotives and Trackside equipment
  • Heavy Industrial Machinery
  • Power Generation
  • Oil and Gas Process Plant [adapted from the Overview and FAQ

PLCS Data Exchange Sets

For the purposes of developing the PLCS standard, a modular architecture has been used to construct a single integrated information model. This model has been developed in the EXPRESS language and will be published in XML (Extensible Markup Language) format. The basic building blocks of the integrated information model are referred to as modules.

A Data Exchange Set (DEX) is a subset of the overall PLCS information model, comprising of one or more data modules. DEXs support a specific business process or purpose and can be related to existing information. PLCS, Inc. members have used their knowledge and support domain expertise to identify and define the capabilities enabled by each DEX. The use of DEXs will facilitate modular implementation of AP 239.

Those applying PLCS and/or vendors providing software applications may claim conformance against a single DEX or a combination of DEXs. DEXs differs from conformance classes (as defined in many of the STEP Application Protocols) in the following ways: (1) DEXs are defined to support specific business processes; (2) DEXs are defined in a separate document from the PLCS Life Cycle Core AP; (3) DEXs may have additional constraints; (4) DEXs (as part of the PLCS) may specify the use of specific reference data.

The development of DEXs is an ongoing task. As of July 2003, thirty-three 33 DEXs had been identified, covering the following topics: Requirements (1); Product Design and Behaviour (9); Work (10); Support Environment (8); Support System (5). Each DEX is supported by a description that defines its scope and relationship to the individual modules required to provide the desired exchange capability. It is intended that usage guides will be produced for each DEX to ensure consistency in implementation and business application. [adapted from Q21-22 of the FAQ]

PLCS Application Activity Model (AAM)

Application Protocol 239 will include an informative process model called an "Application Activity Model" designed to illustrate how the information standard can best be exploited. AP239 itself is an information standard, not a process standard. The process model was developed during the first year of the PLCS project in an effort to identify the generic exchange requirements likely to be applicable to all industries within the identified target profile (i.e., Original product and/or equipment manufacturers, operators or third party service providers). "Experienced engineers and managers from a representative cross section of the target industry profile developed the model. The Application Activity Model provided by AP239 will assist business managers and software implementers to: (1) Understand the information model and exchange sets [conformance classes] defined by AP239; (2) Identify targets for process improvement; (3) Identify the required exchange standards at organisational or system boundaries between organisations." [adapted from Q9 of the FAQ]


STEP and PLCS (STEP Application Protocol 239)

[References to STEP standard and PLCS draft modules]


Articles, Papers, News

  • [TBD]
  • See provisionally the white papers on the PLCS Inc website
  • [September 16, 2002] "Product Life Cycle Support (PLCS): Progress to Implementation." By John Dunford (Program Manager PLCS, Inc). Eurostep Open Day, Stockholm, 16-Sept-2002. 21 presentation slides. "International Standard for product support information based on ISO 10303 STEP (AP 239). (1) Complete product lifecycle from concept to disposal; (2) Single source of assured product support information; (3) Data independence - Processes, Systems, Format; (4) Interoperability across enterprises and systems through: [a] Standardization of semantics for product support, [b] Integrated suite of data models for data exchange and information sharing, [c] Utilization of ISO STEP standards, methods and tools (including XML/XSLT); (5) Extensibility and tailoring through the use of Reference data libraries... Capabilities enabled by PLCS (ISO 10303 AP 239): (1) Product Description: Capability to define product requirements and configuration, including relationships between parts and assemblies in multiple product structures (as-designed, as-built, as-maintained); (2) Work Management: Capability to request, define, justify, approve, schedule and capture feedback on work (activities) and related resources. (3) Property, State and Behaviour: Capability that describes and captures feedback on product properties, operating states, behaviour and usage (4) Support Solution and Environment: Capability to define the necessary support for a given set of products in a specified environment and to define support opportunity, facilities, personnel and organizations... PLCS Technical Approach: (1) Accelerate technical development of the ISO standards; (2) Encourage early implementation commercial software vendors; (3) Encourage early industry participation in the development and testing of the standard..." [cache]

Hosted By
OASIS - Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards

Sponsored By

IBM Corporation
ISIS Papyrus
Microsoft Corporation
Oracle Corporation


XML Daily Newslink
Receive daily news updates from Managing Editor, Robin Cover.

 Newsletter Subscription
 Newsletter Archives
Globe Image

Document URI:  —  Legal stuff
Robin Cover, Editor: