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Announcing eCl@ss Standard for Teamcenter Data Classification

Community Manager Community Manager
Community Manager

Siemens PLM Software’s Teamcenter solutions for data classification will soon include support for eCl@ss Standard. With this announcement, Teamcenter becomes the first among major PLM providers to support eCl@ss Standard in core PLM. 


New Teamcenter classification engine and presentation


Traditionally, Teamcenter classification technology has been based on DIN 4000 Standard constructs. The generic approach taken to classify just about anything has served us well. With the advent of new technology, we are delivering a new presentation for our classification system with the intuitive usability of the Active Workspace client. We’ve also invested significantly in a new library and specification capability.


ecl@ss-1.jpgTeamcenter delivers the next generation of classification in the easy-to-use Active Workspace client


Our goal is to protect customer investment in the re-use processes while moving to a new classification engine that preserves the key existing concepts.


Keeping the digital twin focus, the predominant electronic exchange of product information places increasingly higher demands on data structures and data quality. Teamcenter will meet this challenge by using internationally established classification systems/standards such as eCl@ss, which allows us to provide customers with high-quality data through connected systems.


Introducing eCl@ss data management, powered by new Teamcenter classification


When it is available in Spring 2019, Teamcenter for eCl@ss Data Management can be easily adopted by customers, because all classification systems will co-exist. Customers can seamlessly migrate their data when it makes sense for them. Since the new eCl@ss solution leverages the Active Workspace client, users will appreciate the best in the class intuitive usability and flexibility, which will help customers quickly adopt the eCl@ss constructs and taxonomy.


ecl@ss-2.jpgEasily search and navigate the eCl@ass hierarchy with Teamcenter using the Active Workspace client.

The goal of the eCl@ss support in Teamcenter is to allow customers to leverage standard taxonomy and implement the data model support in order to leverage the class and property definitions. By using eCl@ss in communications with customers and suppliers, Teamcenter ensures that all the involved speak the same language. This reduces customer costs through economical and efficient integration of our product data into customer SCM and CRM systems. 


The benefits of the new solution for customers include: 

  • Quick start with the eCl@ss standard classification hierarchy
  • Accelerates the processing steps required for design, planning, maintenance, support, replacement
  • Simplifies the procurement process through standardized data exchange
  • Improves the quality of exchanged data as there are no translation losses
  • Makes it easier for the customer to select products from standard electronic catalogs
  • Reduces customers' cost of selection, order placement, and data updates

Teamcenter for eCl@ss is an enabler for implementing Industry 4.0 in solutions, products, and systems to realize the digital twin.


 ecl@ss-3.jpgTHE eCl@ss STANDARD


Bringing together the worldwide reference-data standard with the world’s leading PLM


The eCl@ss organization was founded by 12 large German companies (Including Siemens, BASF, AUDI/VW, SAP, Bayer, and others). The aim of the organization is a simplification of the electronic, cross-industry trade through standardized product descriptions.

eCl@ss has established itself internationally over 18 years as the only ISO/IEC-compliant industry standard and is thus the worldwide reference-data standard for the classification and unambiguous description of products and services.


Current version 10.1, spans across 44 segments, over 42,000 product classes and 18,000 uniquely described properties. We believe eCl@ss has a strong presence in EU and is fast spreading in China, Japan, and North America as a master standard where product master data can be exchanged digitally across all borders – across sectors, countries, languages, and organizations. As a simple, machine-readable, one-to-one, ISO-compliant, and yet open system, the standard is growing faster than all others. And because it is defined by its users, it is vital and based on real-world practices. eCl@ss is built on the world’s expert knowledge. Currently, eCl@ss is used in about 3,500 companies both nationally and internationally.


ecl@ss-4.jpgeCl@ss Hierarchy Pyramid structure, image credit: eCl@ss.


eCl@ss integrates the major classification standards such as PROLIST, ETIM, proficl@ss, bau: Cl@ss, IMT, EDMA, eCALS, and CECED.


eCl@ss consists of a four-level hierarchy of classification classes. The 4-layer class structure is associated with the application classes (AC) containing all relevant structural elements such as Blocks, Aspects, Cardinality, and Polymorphism. The fourth level, the commodity class or product group is then further described with the help of properties and property values. Properties and values form the basis for the product description. These core constructs will be available in the initial product offering we have to offer.


ecl@ss-5.jpgExample of the eCl@ss tree structure, image credit: eCl@ss.


The grouping of various properties under one name. Using a block, the properties of one class -- especially if there is a large number of them -- can be grouped and organized. This makes it easier, for instance, to search for and reuse properties.


An aspect is a special variation of a block that is found in the top level of a class. It describes non-product-specific properties for a class from certain perspectives. The “manufacturer” aspect of a motor vehicle, for example, covers properties such as make, manufacturer’s product number, and model. These properties depend directly on the manufacturer and are not subject to any product-specific restriction. This means that this aspect can be used universally with any other class in order to collect manufacturer data.


ecl@ss-6.jpg.pngAttribute blocks, image credit: eCl@ss.



Defines the attribute of being able to use a block with different property values multiple times in a class. Cardinality expresses how often a block with different property features (values) is assigned to the respective class.


In our “motor vehicle” example, cardinality can be used in describing the doors. The doors are described using the properties of “color”, “type”, and “power window”. These properties are consolidated in a “door properties” block and can be invoked as often as you wish through the “number of doors” reference property.


The properties are filled in as follows:ecl@ss-7.pngCardinality behavior, image credit: eCl@ss.



Often, the content that a block requires within a class is not determined in advance. For this reason, polymorphism offers the option to decide dynamically when assigning values to properties which specific block content is required. From a data standpoint, which block from a series of blocks is used is determined only at this point.


In the “motor vehicle” example, you can use polymorphism to describe the door type. The properties of the driver’s door and hatchback are then assigned differently:

 ecl@ss-8.pngPolymorphic behavior, image credit: eCl@ss.

Watch for more information on Teamcenter for eCl@ss Data Management with the Spring 2019 release.



Dear all, it is very good to read, that Teamcenter is moving and implements eCl@ss ... Great!!! But :-( eCl@ss is not an international standard ... it is just a first and good (!) implementation of an association (German: Verein). The big advantage is, that it relays on international standards like IEC 61360 and ISO 13584 in combination with ISO 29002 and some more... From my point of view, the message should be: We have implemented the IEC/ISO standards for international data storage and exchange ... and the first (but not necessarily the only) concrete realization is done with the eCl@ss specifications. With this message, we really address the whole world ... Another important message is, we should state very clear, what is implemented out of the IEC/ISO standard, and what is not implemented (up to now!). This would give us (Teamcenter) a real and high reputation among the expert in this area. Best regards Klaus
Siemens Genius



Thanks for your comments and interesting observations.



Solution Partner Esteemed Contributor

@Klaus_KA, like not having a lot of Aerospace and little US Military (Federal) content which I guess is to be expected from an "International" point of view. Seems more oriented to Automotive but at least describes a framework. Likely will require country specific "flavors" to be truely useful unless they expect everyone to write their own data exchange classification which kind of defeats the purpose of the standard.

@RandyEllsworth only by using international standards we are able to overcome country and/or industry specific flavors ... with the big aim industry 4.0 in front of us, it is mandatory for every player in the game to avoid different standards and declare inconsistent, outdated or incomplete mapping tables as state of the art. Different devices and services will need a consistent data model ... and this should be applied from the beginning of a product live cycle in a way which is very similar (or identical) to the complexity and to the further needs during the whole live time. An experience, I made time over time is, if the initial data are inconsistent (wording, standards, data formats, ...) every player in the PLM chain takes the (small) packet he/she needs or wants to see and add only the needed data for the specific use case to fulfill the next step. At the end, we have a mixture out of different wordings, standards, data formats, complexity etc. ... From my point of view, every industry should have an interest to adapt to the available standards ... and invest into the further development of the standards ... because also the standards are underlying an everlasting development. Best regards Klaus (the only constant factor is the permanent change ... and development ... :-)