ETIM classification – The powerful solution for global product data exchange


The massive growth of the product offer, the increased need for detailed product information, the need to communicate electronically and the drive for efficiencies in the total supply chain require standards to master the enormous amount of data. Standards, which are applied to classify technical products as well as standards, which enable electronic communication between partners in the supply chain.

Product classification is simply a logical, unambiguous taxonomy for commercial products, designed so that anyone within the sector can communicate about those products without misunderstandings. ETIM is a standard for the classification of technical product data that has grown tremendously worldwide over the past 25 years.

The ETIM model

The ETIM model consists of unique identifiers for specific classes, features, values, and units. This is what allows it to be multi-lingual and automatically translatable. On top of this, each class comes with various synonyms. This makes searching for the right product a lot easier for everyone. This is how the product classification prevents linguistic confusion and mistakes, and enables a uniform electronic exchange of the product data.

When products are classified according to the ETIM standard the benefits for all parties in the supply chain (manufacturers, wholesalers, contractors and industrial customers) are substantial. By adopting one standard across multiple sectors, product information can be shared along the supply chain with ease and served up in print and online with minimal work-arounds. Potentially, businesses can save on the technical resources and labour needed to maintain the current mix of data sets and structures. And, ultimately, the end customer will benefit hugely by having access to clear unambiguous technical information.

The organization

ETIM is an open standard and can be used by anyone for free, except for some local language versions. Support and change requests however are only available for members.

The non-profit association ETIM International is a partnership of national ETIM organizations and has its official seat in Brussels. With the recent new membership of Portugal and Slovenia the number of local ETIM member organizations has reached 20, with also local organizations in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, North America, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

ETIM has been started from the electrical sector and all local ETIM organizations support the ETIM classification for electrical products. But ETIM is active in more sectors nowadays, since long in the HVAC and sanitary sector and more recently in the maritime and building sector.

Standardized BIM object data – Powered by ETIM

The importance of ETIM as standard for BIM is substantial and increasing. ETIM targets offering a single, unambiguous and uniform interface to exchange all manufacturer product data, that should or can be processed electronically in BIM projects. Where the basic ETIM model is already important in BIM, the new development ETIM MC (Modelling Classes) adds parametrical data for generating 3D objects of ETIM classified products. Last but not least ETIM has engaged in a cooperation with buildingSMART International, where the first project resulted in a full representation of the (basic) ETIM 7.0 model as context in bSDD (buildingSMART Data Dictionary). This gives ETIM an interface to the rest of the BIM world and makes it applicable via IFC in all BIM applications that require manufacturer product data.


ETIM International

T: +32-2-5889827 | M: +31-6-54973910


Postal address Excelsiorlaan 91, B-1930 Zaventem (Belgium)

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