The International Material Data System (IMDS) is a collective, computer-based material data system from automotive OEMs to manage environmental relevant aspects of the different parts in vehicles. Through this system, the automotive industry is able to reconstruct the complete material flow.
The adoption of the IMDS relies above all on a legislative background, namely:
- Laws & Regulations on hazardous substances: OEMs must eliminate these substances from the supply chain.
- End-Of-Life Vehicles Directive (ELV): It forces car-manufacturers to improve their recycling rates. Therefore all suppliers must deliver accurate material information.
The IMDS was conceived from a joint development between 8 OEMs, namely Audi, BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Opel, Porsche, VW and Volvo. Since its establishment further OEMs have also adopted this system.
Hazardous Materials Lists
The base of the system are the black and gray lists of prohibited and declarable substances. These substances, when used in materials and components for the automotive industry, are of concern to human health, environmental safety and/or recycling. Prohibited substances, like hexavalent chromium, are forbidden due to legal or internal regulations. Declarable substances can be seen as substances that should be substituted as soon as alternatives are technically and financially available. Until now, most OEMs had their own list of prohibited and declarable substances.
With the introduction of IMDS, BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Porsche, Fiat, Ford, General Motors, Toyota, VW and Volvo combined their lists to the ILRS (international list of reportable substances) which has been replaced by GADSL (global automotive declarable substance list). The remaining OEMs still have their own lists and currently most of the OEMs accepting the GADSL still have complementary requirements. Because of ongoing research and lawmaking, these lists are subject to change.
Because it is a computer-based system, IMDS recognizes hazardous substances by comparing the entered data with the lists of prohibited substances. Hence OEMs can trace hazardous substances back to the source and eliminate them.
Not only the banned materials (Cr [[Oxidation number|VI] / Hg /...) have to be indicated. Instead, all substances have to be stated in the material data sheet (MDS) of the IMDS with a resolution of 1 gram or better. That is why substances and materials of products must be known in detail. Material information on parts is later delivered from the OEMs to dismantler companies in order to achieve the goals of the ELV Directive.