I entered this idea in 2012 in the Creo Elements/Direct Express, but I received no responses from PTC, so I thought I would give it a try here. Although I submitted the idea in the Creo Elements/Direct Express community, it actually applies to all PTC CAD applications. The aerospace company I work for already uses some PTC products.
From September 2012:
"I am working on a system, for the company that I work for, that will be storing and managing assembly and detail files all as individual STEP files. The system will then be able to download all individual STEP files for all assembly components (detail parts and sub-assemblies) for any specific assembly number. We need an application that is able to open an entire assembly as a batch process by loading the STEP file for the top assembly, and then continues loading all components from the other STEP files in the same folder.
I have done this with Catia V5, but we would need a less expensive application for downstream users of this product data, and Creo Elements/Direct Modeling Express would be great. I have not found a way in Modeling Express to batch import an assembly from individual STEP files in this manner. Is Modeling Express capable of doing this (or any other PTC CAD system), or is this a feature that might be added?"
An application(s) that could import STEP assemblies in this manner would be a good candidate for use in a LOTAR (an aerospace standards initiative for LOng Term Archiving and Retrieval) compliant system that our company is moving toward. Here are some relevant requirements for such an application:
Ability to automatically open a STEP detail part in an existing instance of the application (or a new instance if one is not already running).
Ability to automatically open a STEP assembly comprised of individual STEP files, beginning with a specified top level STEP assembly file and then the application would continue to automatically open in succession all component subassembly STEP files and STEP detail part files (inserting each into the top level assembly structure) contained in the same folder.
Support for STEP 242 (Edition 1 & 2) and STEP AP 203 (Edition 1 & 2).
Preferably the ability to also open compressed versions of the STEP files.