In the past years, development and production processes in many companies have changed in a revolutionary way, leading to new demands in information and CAx technology. The R&D-departments of the German automotive industry installed a working group to develop a common long term CAD/CAM strategy1. A preliminary result is the concept for an open CAx system architecture as a basis for realizing industrial requirements on CAD/ CAM and for the cooperation with system vendors. The project ANICA was started in cooperation with five international CAD/CAM -suppliers in order to show the feasibility of this architecture. The access interfaces of different system kernels are analysed with the aim of developing a concept for a cooperating CAx system network. The concept will be put into practice with a software prototype basing on CORBA and OLE. The communication elements within such an architecture have to go far beyond conventional CAD data. This will lead to an extension of "feature" concepts including CAx functionality and dynamic information about the process chain of a product. The impact on modern concepts for user interfaces, on reverse engineering methods and on product data models will be discussed to finally close the loop to industrial CAx application.
The automotive industry was a pioneer in using CAD/CAM technology. Now the car manufacturers development process is almost completely done with this technology. Substantial initiative for the standardisation of CAD/CAM technics comes from the automotive industry, as e.g. for neutral CAD data interfaces. The R&D departments of German car manufacturers have founded a working group ii with the aim to develop a common long term CAD/CAM strategy. One important result is the concept of a future CAx iii architecture based on the standard data structure STEP iv . The commitment of the car manufactures to STEP and open system architectures is in contradiction to their attitude towards suppliers and subcontractors: Recently, more and more contractors are contractually bound to use exactly the same CAD system as the orderer. The German car industry tries to find a way out of this contradiction and to improve the co-operation between the companies in short term. Therefore they proposed a "Dual CAD Strategy", i.e. to put improvements in CAD communication into practice which are possible today - even proprietary solutions - and in parallel to invest in strategic concepts to prepare tomorrow's open system landscape.