(IMDS) International Material Data System

What is IMDS?

The International Material Data System (IMDS) is an online database used by the automotive industry to manage information on materials and substances used in vehicles. Developed in 2000 to comply with environmental regulations such as the European Union's End-of-Life Vehicles Directive, IMDS has grown to include at least 62 global automotive OEMs.

To comply with these regulations and more, automakers needed detailed information about the composition of materials used in their products. This information, however, was not always readily available – and the data that did exist was often incomplete or inconsistent – which made it difficult for automakers to determine if their products were compliant with regulations.

What’s in IMDS and why do I have to use it?

It’s mandatory for automotive suppliers who want to sell their products to automotive OEMs to submit data on the materials used in those products. The IMDS database includes information on the composition of materials used in all automotive parts, including details about the chemicals, substances, and materials used to produce them. This information is used by automakers and their suppliers to verify they comply with legal requirements and environmental regulations, ensure product safety, improve the sustainability of their products, and promote transparency and traceability within the supply chain.

Why is IMDS in PPAP?

IMDS helps OEMs and large tier suppliers verify the contents of their purchased parts before and during the part approval process. The Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) requires IMDS submission for each part number before PPAP approval can be granted to the supplier. If you don’t have the IMDS information, you can’t supply the part.

Why take IMDS training?

The IMDS system is free to use for companies reporting to participating OEMs, but it’s a complex and comprehensive database. Ultimately, you are the final judge of data quality. AIAG IMDS training focuses on more than just how to run the IMDS interface and enter data – it includes the skills and processes needed to obtain and submit accurate quality data.

Product Carbon Footprint (PCF)

What should you know about product carbon footprint (PCF) and how it’s coming to IMDS?

New regulations worldwide require declarations on PCFs in the near future, either on regulations on specific components, like in the EU Battery Regulation (a requirement in 2025) or as part of the corporate reporting requirements or of company pledges on carbon neutrality.

The whole automotive industry is in need of real PCF over the full supply chain, which will include Scope 1-3, however, until now, there was no established system available to communicate this specific information. To tackle this major problem, the LCA Enhancement R246 was created to include PCF into IMDS. Last year, this enhancement was clearly voted a top priority by the OEMs and the supplier associations. There’s a very clear need to add PCF in IMDS as soon as possible.

For one, the PCF value will not be mandatory for each material/component and every actor in IMDS. But rather, it depends on direct legal requirements on yourself and your B2B contracts — basically, if your customer faces legal requirements or PCF is part of their company policies.

Secondly, PCF will not be another rejection reason for IMDS data sheets. Instead, PCF reporting will follow the new enhanced reporting path, which is decoupled from the acceptance/rejection scheme of the normal, standard IMDS process. To make sure it cannot be misused, the PCF will not be visible before accepting the IMDS data sheet.

Lastly, the proper calculation of a PCF does require expert knowledge or even an expert tool to do so. A simple summarization in IMDS is not possible because PCF is a lot more complex. PCF requires additional inputs besides the received PCFs from the sub suppliers, such as internal processing or process waste.

We need to point out that the standard in IMDS that will be followed in reporting of calculated PCFs is bottom-up reporting, so it’s not about raw data. The whole calculation of the PCF is defined in the Catena-X Rulebook V2 and further explained in upcoming guidance documents. The Catena-X Rulebook was decided on after reviewing several rulebooks and was proposed by the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association’s working group on Life Cycle Assessment. As detailed PCF calculation is happening outside of IMDS, only a single PCF value cannot stand on its own, but additional values and information are needed, he said.

It’s important to keep updated on the latest developments with PCF and IMDS. Watch for the annual IMDS Conference where you will hear updates to this topic and more!

Sign Up For Training Now

This course is designed to ensure users are familiar with all aspects of the IMDS system. Students will receive hands on instructions on how to build, receive and submit data related to ongoing customer requests.

An extension of the IMDS Basic Concepts and Application course, this course helps you understand the regulations and anticipate their impact on your business. Students will receive hands on instruction on how to utilize IMDS’ more complicated features, such as Chemistry Manager, Where Used Analysis, MDS Update and MDS Request.

Register To Watch Webinars

The changes in reporting glass, ceramic and enamel materials and how to use the stochiometric analysis to convert a list of ingredients - to the end state material, while still tracking any declarable substances on GADSL.

What’s reported in IMDS?

IMDS reports contain detailed information on the composition of materials down to the basic substance level, used in automotive products, Specifically, IMDS reports contain the following information:

  1. Material composition: Information on the basic composition of a material, including the types and quantities of chemicals and substances used to produce it.
  2. Regulatory information: Information on the regulatory status of the material, including its compliance with various environmental regulations, and its classification as prohibited or declarable.
  3. End-of-life information: Information on the amount of recycled content being used in a material.
  4. Additional Fields: Chemistry Manager for materials with REACH Substances, SVHC, Biocides, etc.

What are the benefits of using IMDS?

There are several benefits of using IMDS in the automotive industry:

  1. Environmental compliance: The automotive supply chain has many regulations - some of which include the EU’s REACH and the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive. These regulations are geared towards prohibiting the use of certain substances in products. IMDS helps automotive companies become compliant with these various regulations by detailing the materials that went into making their products. If there are hazardous substances within their products, IMDS helps automotive companies find them and determine alternatives that are safer and better for the environment.
  2. Data Security: IMDS doesn't divulge lower tier supplier names, and it allows for non-GADSL substances to be represented as confidential or with a wildcard/joker.
  3. Cost savings: When communication between automakers and suppliers is low, supply chain risks and regulation compliance issues increase, which leads to increased (and unnecessary) costs. IMDS helps combat these costs by not only ensuring data longevity with regulatory constant changes and supplier engagement, but also by identifying safer, more environmentally friendly alternative materials to use during production to better comply with international regulations.
  4. Improved sustainability: Safer, more environmentally friendly material options help to increase sustainability in the automotive industry overall. Committing to the improvement of environmental health improves many things: the reputation of automakers and suppliers, sales numbers, customer loyalty, and more.

What other industries use IMDS?

While IMDS was developed originally for the automotive industry, other industries have also recognized its value and adopted its use.

On road vehicles such as commercial vehicles are permitted to use IMDS. Heavy equipment that has automotive as part of their business is permitted to only use IMDS for the automotive portion.

The electronics industry has also adjusted to content material reporting. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has developed a standard called IEC 62474 that outlines the requirements for managing material data in the electronics industry. The standard also includes the IPC 1752B standard that has been widely used for business to business and system to system data exchange for over 10 years. There is talk to work directly with IMDS to exchange data between the two systems.

Recommendation and Documentation Subgroup:

This workgroups focus is on all things IMDS.

Benefits for participating:

  • Developing new enhancement proposals to update future versions of IMDS
  • Model Office Testing and feedback for updated versions of IMDS
    • Identify errors for correction during Model Office Testing and various Recommendations.
  • Provides feedback on action items from the IMDS SC in regards to IMDS or substance of concern requests
  • Discussion on regulation impacts

Note: IMDS SC recognizes AIAG as a key contributor for enhancements.

These companies are participating in this work group:


Current Participants

  • Aptiv
  • BCubed Consulting, Inc.
  • Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC
  • Cummins, Inc.
  • DENSO International America, Inc.
  • DXC Technology
  • Ford Motor Company
  • Garmin
  • General Motors Company
  • Global PCCS Private Limited
  • Harman Automotive Division
  • Key Sustainability Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
  • Kimball Electronics, Inc.
  • Micron Technology, Inc.
  • RSJ Technical Consulting
  • SRG Global, Inc.
  • Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

Program Management: Corporate Responsibility Team - (248) 358-3570