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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Here you can find questions and answers regarding IMDS content and usage in several categories. To see the content of each category and to read the answer to a question, please click on the category/question to expand the content.

You find OEM-specific IMDS documentation for suppliers in the Help category "OEM Specific Information" (no longer under FAQ).


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Basic Substances

General Information reqarding Basic Substances in IMDS

What are the meanings of the criteria for Process Chemicals?

How do I request a Basic Substance be added to the Basic Substance List?

What happens if deleted MDSs/Basic Substances are contained in an MDS?

Why can one not find Lead or any other element by its Chemical Symbol?

Why is a Substance marked D, P, or D/P in IMDS and it isn't on the GADSL?

How should Hexavalent Chromium (CrVI) in Chromatized Zinc and Zinc Alloy coatings be handled in IMDS?

Why can't I find ions such as Chromium III in the Basic Substance List?


  General Information regarding Basic Substances in IMDS

IMDS Basic Substances include a range of pure elements, chemical compounds and some mixtures that are generally accepted as the constituents of materials used in industrial applications (e.g. automotive, electronic etc.). Where the relationship between a Basic Substance and a Material is uncertain, the determination is made that permits optimal conformance with the ELV Directive and other regulations.

In the IMDS there are about 13,000 substances contained with their names and CAS-Numbers. A Chemical Service is responsible for the regular maintanance of the "list of basic substances" and checks all requests for the addition of new substances.

In the basic substance list in IMDS there are three different types of substances. Since there are limitations in e.g. IMDS Recommendation 001 on how to use these substances it is important to know the difference between them. The following types exist:

1. Regular basic substance - This is a basic substance that has a CAS-No. meaning it is a clearly defined substance. Water (CAS-No. 7732-18-5) is a good example.  With the exception of Pseudo-substances and jokers, you should always search on the CAS or EINECS number and not a text string. Substances may have many synonyms and not all are listed in IMDS. Additionally there is sometimes a difference between US and European spelling of a chemical. If you cannot find your substance, do a search on the CAS number in Google or some other search engine. If you don't find any hits, chances are you have an invalid CAS number.

2. Pseudo-Substance - A pseudo-substance gives an accurate description of the substance or the substance group but does not have a CAS-No. Some examples are "Acrylic resin" or "Cotton-fibre". It is important to point out that these substances are accepted as real substances in IMDS and are not considered as wildcards. They are therefore allowed to be used up to 100% according to the IMDS Recommendation 001 (although a material comprised of 100% of a single subtance is not generally allowed).

3. Jokers or Wildcards - These substances do not define a specific substance. Examples are "Miscellaneous" or "Not yet defined". Please note that any declarable substance is not allowed to be replaced by a joker. According to Recommendation 001 only 10% of the substances in a material are allowed to be covered by a joker. There are only 9 jokers/wildcards and all have the CAS number "system".


  What are the meanings of the criteria for Process Chemicals?

Process chemicals usually used within the production process but don't appear in the finished part. Substances listed in the substance group "Process Chemicals" include liquids (e.g. solvents), reactants (polymerization agent), and gases.

Verification of the use is required when these substances are added to a material in IMDS. Suppliers must indicate the chemical presence type when adding these substances if the portion is >0.1%. If the substance is not present in the final part, the supplier is requested to refrain from adding it in IMDS.

What are definitions of each "chemical presence type"?

"Intended" indicates that the liquid or gas is still present in the finished part at a significant level (generally greater than 0.1%). Most assembled parts are solids, and have no liquid or gas content, but there are a small number of parts that have liquids or gases for a specified use. Volatile substances evaporate during production and are not contained in the finished part. These substances should not be entered into IMDS unless they are declarable, prohibited or SVHC according to GADSL. In this case they must always be declared, even below 0.1%.

"Residue" is used if a small amount (generally less than 0.1%) of the chemical is left in the final part. This residue may be from a solvent where the majority of the solvent has evaporated, or may be a residue from a reaction.

"Impurity" can occur during the manufacturing of the material or part. These substances are not intentionally added to the material or part. The concentration in the material is minimal (generally less than 0.1%).


  How do I request a Basic Substance be added to the Basic
       Substance List?

Please find the answer in this document.


  What happens if deleted MDSs/Basic Substances are contained
       in an MDS?

Deleted MDSs

MDSs can be deleted by all users for a variety of reasons. If such a deleted MDS is referenced in another MDS a warning message comes up when somebody tries to send or check this respective MDS containing a deleted MDS. However, the MDS can still be sent. Usually a customer will not reject for a warning on a deleted MDS.

Deleted Basic Substances

In rare cases, basic substances are deleted from the IMDS. This may happen because the basic substance is available in IMDS in a wrong way (e.g. as a duplicate). Then one of the two duplicates will be left in the system but logically deleted in order to keep existing references in those MDSs using this basic substance. The second version of this duplicate remains in the system and can be used as before.

For the deleted substances, the CAS number will still be in the system but internal to the system it has a different pointer in the database and the old pointer is no longer valid - generating a warning message. The old reference is no longer available for further referencing.

Technically, you can still send an MDS with this warning message. It is not a problem with IMDS. However, as each customer requirement is different, we cannot say whether it will be accepted by your customer if there are warnings.

Rejecting an MDS for this reason is possible, since the client can check before accepting/rejecting if a deleted MDS/basic substance is referenced. An exception is the use of in-house systems for analysis - those users might have more possibilities to search for deleted items.

To resolve the warning, you will need to either create a new version of the material or have your supplier create a new version and put on the proper substance and release it, and then go to wherever they had the problem MDS and delete off the old version of the material and add the new version.

With Release 7.0 replacement suggestions for deleted substances can be available. If this is the case, it will be shown in the MDS for the respective deleted substance in the details.

Depending on the structure, this may require several levels of change - for example if a component has a sub-component (with a black dot in the icon) attached and the material is attached to the sub-component, they will need to:

  1. Change the material and release the MDS,
  2. Edit the sub-component deleting off the old version of the material and adding the new one and releasing the sub-component, and
  3. Edit the component deleting off the sub-component and adding in the new version of the sub-component and send it to your customer.

You may wish to use analysis to find where the material with the deleted substance or deleted MDS is attached.


  Why can one not find Lead or any other element by its Chemical

Due to how IMDS searches are conducted (implied * at the end of a character string) and the number of hits you would receive, Searching by the chemical symbol is not currently in the design requirements of IMDS. Elements from the periodic table have been entered with their name in European English or German. However, be aware that for some elements, the European English spelling is different from the American English (e.g. sulfur/sulphur) so searching by CAS number is best.

For sites where you can locate the CAS number of elements, please use an internet search engine (e.g. Google, Bing, Yahoo) and the phrase: periodic table CAS numbers.


  Why is a Substance marked D, P, or D/P in IMDS and it isn't on
       the GADSL?

The GADSL is not meant to be an exhaustive list although users consider it as such. GADSL contains only substances that are expected to be on the vehicle as sold or at its end of life. There are many substances in the basic substance list that are under legislation as reportable or prohibited, but these are processing chemicals. Basic substances are added per user request with no quality judgment as to whether they would be on the vehicle as sold.


  How should Hexavalent Chromium (CrVI) in Chromatized Zinc
       and Zinc Alloy coatings be handled in IMDS?

Please read the related IMDS recommendations 008 and 009 in the IMDS application. After login to IMDS you can find it under the menu item Recommendations. Please be sure to download both files in each Recommenation as the 2nd file is referenced by the first file.


  Why can't I find ions such as Chromium III in the Basic
       Substance List?

As some ions do have CAS numbers, they were included initially in the Basic Substance List. However, in the past 10 years opinions evolved and it was determined that it did not make sense to include them as pure ions do not exist as substances they never can be present in a material. Ions always are combined with other counter ions of different charge. Therefore you can no longer use ions in your material as an ingredient - only salts containing these ions.

In November, 2008, most of the ions were deactivated from the Basic Substance List: Borate, Bromide, Carbide, Chloride, Chromate (CrO42-), Fluoride, Iodide, Nickel, ion (Ni3+), Nitrate, Nitrite, Phosphate, SO4 radical, Sulfate, Sulfide, Sulfite, Thiosulfate, Zinc, ion (Zn2+), Zyanate, Zyanide

Due to the large number of MDSs that contained the Chromium III ion, it was left active until late July, 2009.

The reason that there are no replacement suggestions is that the manufacturer of the material needs to know what the ion combines with and what salt it makes. The system cannot offer a suggestion because it does not manufacture the material. You need to contact a chemist familiar with the material in its final state.

This is why the ions were removed. A chemist needs to state what the final compound is. You cannot have free ions in a final product. It is expected that someone who knows the material will enter the data for the material.

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Here you can download the most recent IMDS User Manual.

Here you can download the User Manual in Czech language.

ELV and Annex

Where can I find the European ELV Directive and the latest version of Annex II?

Here you can download the EU ELV Directive 2000/53/EC (including the latest version of the Annex II, Version: 2023).

Here you can additionally find an IMDS Steering Committee document on the application changes for your support (Version: June 2016).