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Like ETIM, eCl@ss is used to characterise products in a defined format. This format is comprised of classes. These product classes can be likened to drawers, into which the products are sorted, and which are tailored precisely to those products. Unlike ETIM, eCl@ss is designed for use with Industry 4.0, and is therefore a cooperation partner to AutomationML, the standard for data exchange between engineering systems.

There are two types of eCl@ss: Basic and Advanced.

Below, we consider the example of class 27-18-01-01 - Electrical cabinet. It contains eCl@ss Basic features such as “Number of doors”, “Floor mounting supported”, “Protection category (IP)” and “power loss dissipation capacity [Pve]”.

These Basic features are also found in eCl@ss Advanced. However, Advanced is transmitted in a different format to Basic and is therefore completely independent and not merely an extension. Furthermore, eCl@ss Advanced includes other features, such as “mounting variant”, “component accommodation”, “blocked area” and “parts relationship”. These features are known as reference features. Unlike the simple features, they are comprised of a block of features. For example, there are multiple mounting variants on one enclosure. Each of them is described by a block of features which includes the mounting reference point, the name of the mounting variant, and the type of mounting. This block can be multiplied any number of times in order to describe that specific enclosure.

As well as full translations into German and English, partial translations into French, Turkish, Chinese, Spanish, Czech, Portuguese and other languages are also provided.

eCl@ss Advanced was developed for use in a variety of CAx systems. Thanks to the depth of information and the clear data structure, it is suitable for all systems, from design through to production. Rittal is an active member of the Cross Expert Group CAx at eCl@ss.

Example: BMEcat 2005, eCl@ss 8 class model