A technical explanation of the ETIM Standard

This section explains the ETIM data model and data exchange formats in more detail for anyone who wishes to implement ETIM data into their Product Information Management (PIM) system, web site or other digital business processes.

Use the menu on the right to click through to the section you are interested in.

If you need more information, please contact the EDA’s Richard Appleton on 020 3141 7350

Fundamentals of ETIM

The ETIM product classification is a logical, unambiguous classification or taxonomy which is both manufacturer and system independent.

ETIM is designed to facilitate the smooth transfer of product data through the supply chain, without any re-working or re-keying, ready to be served up on a website, printed catalogue or BIM product data template.

Thus, the ETIM model includes the most important technical characteristics required for a buyer or specifier to find and select the correct product.


One major advantage of ETIM is that it is multilingual.   All elements of the ETIM standard are created in three core or base languages which are open for anyone to use:

  1. German
  2. Dutch
  3. ETIM English

Each country translates ETIM into its own language(s) using local terminology. In general, with the exception of the three listed above, these translations are only available to members of the appropriate national ETIM organisation.

As the ETIM English version (or ‘System English’ as it is often referred to) is not necessarily created by native/UK-based speakers, the sector lead organisations in UK have created an English (UK) translation of the standard for use by UK manufacturers, wholesalers and merchants. The English (UK) version of ETIM, which is significantly different from the standard ETIM English version, is only available to members of ETIM UK.

Globally consistent

The structure and content of the ETIM data model is identical in all member countries. An ETIM Class, for example, has exactly the same features, with the same Identifier Codes, in every country.

The ETIM data model

The ETIM data model contains six key elements:

  1. Product Groups
  2. Product Classes
  3. Synonyms (and Keywords)
  4. Features
  5. Values
  6. Units

Below we’ve created a visual representation of ETIM’s structure, using Compact Fluorescent Lamps as an example.

An illustration of the ETIM Classification Model

An example of the ETIM Classification using the Lamps Product Group

Identifier codes

All text values in ETIM are linked to a unique 8 character identifier code comprising a (normally) 2 character alpha prefix and 6 character numeric suffix.

The alpha prefix identifies which data element is identified by the code e.g. all ETIM Product Classes are identified using codes prefixed EC.

Each identifier code is linked to all language versions of the associated text, enabling simple translation of data between languages.

For a multi-national manufacturer this means that data created in, say, Germany can be auto-translated for re-use in the UK.

Product Groups

The Product Group is a high level classification enabling a number of Product Classes, containing similar products, to be grouped together under one umbrella heading.

For example, Lamps is a Product Group, as is Cables or Circuit Breakers or Fuses and so on.

All Product Groups have an Identifier Code prefixed EG, for example EG000028 is the code for “Lamps”.

Product Classes

The Product Class is the fundamental building block of the ETIM model and is used to group similar products together (regardless of manufacturer).

Every Product Class is linked to one Product Group, but there will be multiple Classes in any Group. For example, the Product Group for “Lamps” may be linked to classes for “LED lamp”, “compact fluorescent lamps with integrated ballast”, “high voltage halogen lamp” and so on.

All Product Classes have an Identifier Code prefixed EC, for example EG000819 is the code for “Compact fluorescent lamp with integrated ballast”

Synonyms (or Keywords)

Multiple Synonyms may be linked to each Product Class. Each national ETIM organisation is responsible for creating synonyms in its local language.

Synonyms provide alternative names for each Class, to aid searching. As Synonyms are linked directly to classes, they do not have a separate Identifier Code.


Features are the technical attributes which define each product in a Product Class. Thus each Product Class may be linked to multiple features. A Feature may be linked to more than one Product Class. This is a useful facet e.g. when dynamically building filters on a web site.

There are 4 types of feature available in ETIM:

  1. Alphanumeric (A): Alphanumeric features (e.g. Colour, Material) are linked to a defined set of allowable Values (see below)
  2. Logic (L): Logic features have allowable values Yes or No
  3. Numeric (N): Numeric features will have a numeric value.  Some have an associated Unit in which case the numeric value must be the value in this Unit.
  4. Range (R): Range features will have two associated values marking the two ends of a range (e.g. frequency 50-60Hz).  As with Numeric features they may be associated with a Unit.

All Features have an Identifier Code prefixed EF, for example EF000007 is the Identifier Code for “Colour”.


To maintain consistency ETIM does not allow free text entry of values for Alphanumeric features. Instead, each Alphanumeric Features is linked to a pre-set list of allowable Values.

This list is defined both by the Feature and Product Class so the list of allowable values for Colour may differ between, say, a Socket outlet and a Steel pipe. A Value may be linked to more than one Feature.

All Values have an Identifier Code prefixed EV, for example EV000080 is the Identifier Code for “Blue”.


Units, or units of measurement, may be associated with both Numeric and Range type Features, in which case the values entered must be in the specified Unit.

Units have an Identifier Code prefixed EU, for example EU570054 is the Identifier Code for “Watt (W)”

Access to the ETIM Data Model & Data Exchange Formats

Classification Management Tool (CMT)

The CMT is a custom-built online software tool which gives you access to the international multilingual ETIM master database. You can use the CMT to:

  • Look up essential information about the ETIM Model.
  • Check the progress of Request For Change (RFC) or additions.
  • Take part in online discussions regarding RFC or additions (log on needed).
  • Set favourites, or Personal Interest Filters (PIFs), so you can receive weekly status updates on the products you are interested in (log on needed).

How to access the Classification Management Tool (CMT)

You do not need a log on or password to access the main ETIM International site to check essential ETIM information, including Groups, Classes and Values.

A log on and password is only required if you wish to monitor, or take part in, online discussions regarding Requests For Change (RFC) or to set your Personal Interest Filters (PIFs). For example, if you are a cable manufacturer you may wish to add ‘cable’ as a PIF.

To request a log on and password, or you have any questions, please contact Richard Appleton at the EDA on 020 3141 7350.

CMT: the Movie

This short video will help you understand the some of the basic functionality of the CMT. Simply click on the image below to launch the video.

Export from CMT

The ETIM data model can be viewed using the ETIM CMT (Classification Management Tool) which also supports a range of export formats including:

  • ETIM IXF – XML file designed specifically for the ETIM model
  • CSV File
  • Excel

The data is also available in JSON format via the ETIM API.

ETIM BMEcat®: the standard ETIM exchange format

BMEcat® is an international standard XML format for the exchange of product catalogue data including provision for product classification and feature sets.

ETIM International recommends ETIM BMEcat®, a subset of the basic BMCat 2005 version but with specific country and user-defined extensions, to exchange ETIM data.

ETIM BMEcat® Certification Tool

The ETIM BMEcat® Certification Tool validates XML files for conformance with ETIM BMEcat V3.1 and V4.0 standards, and the classification releases ETIM 6.0. and ETIM 7.0.

In the event of failure, the tool will provide an error listing and downloadable error report with suggested corrections that need to be made to achieve validation.

The ETIM BMEcat® certification tool can be accessed here by ETIM UK members, but we will need to register you before you can log on for the first time. Please email Richard Appleton or phone 020 3141 7352.

Further Information

Further information about the data model, CMT and BMEcat can be downloaded from the ETIM International website.