International Material Data System (IMDS)

By Wally Stegall and Jon M Quigley:

In today’s global economy the laws and regulations governing materials used in products is ever changing. One way to stay ahead or at least know where a product stands relative to laws and a regulation is to know the material content of the product from day one. If you are planning on being an automotive supplier APQP requires IMDS for some PPAPs or a manufacturer of any product today, you need to understand industry approaches to material content reporting to show compliance to laws and regulations. One approach to collecting and reporting your material content is the International Material Data System (IMDS). IMDS is a computer-based material data system used and funded primarily by automotive OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturer of cars, trucks, heavy vehicles, agricultural equipment, construction equipment, industrial equipment, military vehicles, and other apparatus) although other manufacturers use IMDS to manage environmental care aspects of products.

Does this sound expensive? It does not have to be although material content reporting requires integration into the product life cycle from start to legacy. With that said products that are already in production can be documented into the system with minimal effort.

It is now possible and relatively easy to know all base materials making up electronic assemblies to mechanical assemblies. The content may range from capacitors to a label.
• Material reporting starts at the top level of a Bill of Materials. As an example an embedded product is typically made up of a, Printed Circuit Board, solder, resistors, connectors, labels, enclosure and many other individual top level components.
• Each of the Components will be broken down to its sub components. As an example a connector could have a shroud, a terminal, a gasket etc.
• The individual component of the connector is next broken down by its sub components. As an example the terminal used in a connector is made up of a copper alloy and a plating material.
• Once you have drilled down to the lowest level of the component the base materials are detailed. As an example the copper alloy could be composed of cobalt, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, nickel, phosphorus, tin, zinc, and misc. not to declare. (Note: There is a percentage that cannot be exceeded of miscellaneous material not to declare proprietary materials and those materials must not be on the prohibited list.) Additionally each material would have to be broken down by its weight and percentage of the copper alloy of a terminal. A tolerance would also have to be provided for each material.
• An OEM can request the data from the supplier’s compliancy manager from a webpage, call the supplier directly, or look up a contact in the IMDS data base.
• Suppliers and OEM may make the data available to the public domain or in response to request.
• Material Content data may inter into the IMDS Data base directly by a supplier or in manually from the following: an IPC 1752 format, Joint Industry Standard format (JEDEC), simple spread sheet, suppliers lab report, or on a suppliers print.

The International Material Data System (IMDS)
• IMDS is free.
• Data for a product can be assembled from suppliers directly loaded MDS. It can also be manually loaded from the other formats that suppliers may choose to share data.
• Detail data base tools for analysis.
• Data base references many of the global rules and regulations.

Reports can be generated and transferred to other report formats.
• IMDS MDS are expected to be correct and maintained. There can be serious legal and finical repercussions if a company is found not to be in material complacence by a government or regulatory body.

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