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Automating Equipment Information Exchange (AEX)

NOTE: This Project is completed but associated activities are being pursued within EELCAT, an Active Project.


AEX Project Releases Schema

The AEX Team is proud to announce that the latest equipment Schema (Working Release Version 3.01) has been released to the public and is now available (see Project Deliverables).

The Schema incorporates additions and refinements to support the Hydraulic Institute draft standard data definition dictionary for BidQuote and BidRFQ for centrifugal pumps. These include extensions of seal schemas to meet the requirements defined in the standard for the procurement of pumps. In addition, centrifugal pump performance curve data structure has been updated. The Schema additions cover all data elements of the API 610 tenth edition equipment data sheet.

We have also added a new schema extension (eqHvacChiller.xssd) to describe vapor compression chillers with data covering BidQuote requirements, and have incorporated a new schema extension for air handling units into the AEX cfiXML model.

Key updates to simplify, standardize, and improve the Schema have been undertaken since the last working release. One such update is the creation of the cfiXml.xsd file which includes all Schema document files and therefore all namespaces, for more rapid Schema installation and increased performance in implementations.

Project Contacts

Project Manager: Sharon S. Bickford, 512-452-0835 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Technical Advisor: Mark Palmer, NIST
Contractor: Alar Engineering Software Inc.

The Automating Equipment Information Exchange (AEX) project is developing, demonstrating and deploying eXtensible Markup Language (XML) specifications to automate information exchanges for the design, procurement, delivery, operation and maintenance of engineered equipment.


The design, procurement, delivery, installation, operation and maintenance of capital projects equipment is hindered by the lack of interoperability among the many different software systems used to support these work processes. Many different disciplines and collaborating companies in these work processes use different software systems. This currently requires labor-intensive re-entry of data into multiple systems, introducing additional cost, schedule delay and the risk of introducing costly transcription errors. While software systems integration within large companies has been proceeding to some extent, the external integration needed to share electronic information with customers and suppliers has not been feasible due to a lack of a coordinated industry approach to achieve software interoperability for the life cycle of engineered equipment for capital projects.


5% reduction in equipment capital costs, $millions/year. Quantifying the cost of the lack of interoperability in the capital projects industry is the subject of a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) study, “Cost Analysis of Inadequate interoperability in the U.S. Capital Facilities Industry,” which estimates yearly losses at close to $16 billion within the U.S. A large owner-operator company did an internal study in cooperation with its EPCs and suppliers that estimated the benefits from interoperability for just procurement of equipment to be at least 5% annually. Other studies from the Construction Industry Institute (CII) and NIST have estimated that significant improvements in the automation and integration of software systems in the capital projects industry could be worth up to 8% of total project capital cost, a 14% reduction in project schedule and 5-15% reduction in annual maintenance costs. For any large company engaged in capital projects, the benefits are potentially millions of dollars annually.

Member Project Participants

Current Initiative Team Leads:
Compressors – Leon Gorbaty, S&B Engineers & Constructors
HVAC Equipment – Laird K. Landis, General Motors
Power Industry – Russell Adams, Dominion
Pumps – Mark Palmer, NIST and Tryg Dahl, Intelliquip
RDL Input – Sharon Bickford, FIATECH

Aspen TechnologyAtomic Energy Canada Ltd.AVEVA, Bentley SystemsBurns & RoeDuPont, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI),  General Motors, Jacobs Engineering, NIST, Procter & Gamble, S&B Engineers and Constructors, VTT, Zachry Construction

“DuPont is involved with FIATECH and the AEX project in particular because we believe it is time to move beyond talking about problems and take action. The AEX project has responded to an industry-wide challenge regarding standards and interoperability, allowing owners like DuPont to work with contractors and technology developers to proactively solve problems in the most business effective ways. We will continue to work with the AEX team to ensure successful implementation."- James B. Porter, Jr., Chief Engineer and Vice President, Engineering & Operations, DuPont (retired)

Contributing Suppliers

Applied Flow Technologies, Chempump, Engineered Software, Inc., Flowserve, Goulds Pumps - ITT Industries, Grundfos, Heat Transfer Research, Intelliquip, Moyno, Sulzer Pumps, Sundyne, Weir Floway

Collaborating Organizations

American Petroleum Institute (API), American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Design Institute for Physical Properties (DIPPR), Hydraulic Institute, Institute for Nuclear Power Operations (INPO), Process Industry Practices (PIP)

The AEX project works with FIATECH members, equipment manufacturers, software suppliers and industry associations to demonstrate interoperability through the use of AEX XML schemas - thereby accelerating the adoption across various equipment supply chains. The AEX project works with the American Petroleum Institute (API), Process Industry Practices (PIP) and the American Society for Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to ensure that the AEX solutions support industry requirements, equipment datasheets and standards. The Hydraulic Institute, the industry association for pump manufacturers and related equipment and software suppliers collaborates with the AEX project on pump schemas, industry standards and guidelines and interoperability demonstrations. The AIChE Design Institute for Physical Properties (DIPPR) collaborated with AEX on schemas for material properties. The AEX project also works with other FIATECH projects to ensure close coordination on deliverables and to leverage the AEX results in other projects. This includes the Accelerating Deployment of ISO 15926 (ADI) project, the Global Valve Cross-reference e-Catalogue (GVCC) project, and updating of the Capital Projects Technology Roadmap.

Participants develop priority lists for additional equipment types for XML schema development; provide domain expertise, guidance and review of project technical work; undertake commercial usage pilot projects with AEX project team support; work with the pump manufacturers and the Hydraulic Institute (HI) Electronic Data Exchange Committee to develop HI standards on the use of the AEX schemas; work with equipment manufacturers and industry associations to develop common plans for extending and using AEX for interoperability across equipment supply chains; and work with standards groups, (e.g., API, ISA, ISO and PIP) to use AEX project results. If your company is a member of FIATECH and you would like to participate in this project, contact Sharon Bickford at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For information on becoming a member, contact FIATECH.

Project Status

To date, the AEX project has delivered XML equipment specifications, detailed object information models and example files for centrifugal pumps, centrifugal fans, centrifugal compressors, reciprocating compressors, electric motors, air cooled heat exchangers, shell and tube heat exchangers, control valves, and numerous other types of valves. Work is currently underway to support equipment critical to the nuclear power industry, such as motorized valve operators, circuit breakers, emergency diesel generators, and transformers. Equipment to be considered for future endeavors includes electrical gear, positive displacement pumps, vertical pumps, air cooled chillers, water cooled chillers, and rooftop cooling units.


  • Focus is on industry adoption of AEX and deployment in commercial software and industry standards, through development of industry tutorials, example files, software tools and expanded interoperability demonstrations.
  • Collaborative effort underway with EPRI to develop open-source software application tools to facilitate the adoption and extension of AEX equipment schemas to support data exchanges for equipment needed in power plants.
  • Hydraulic Institute draft standard, HI 50.7, is currently under review for adoption. The Standard specifies the use of AEX for the electronic data exchange of pump information and specifies conformance levels and test suite for assessing compliance by software implementations.
  • Goals: Initiate new pilot projects with project sponsors, continue to deliver new XML schemas for equipment types (member project participants set priorities), engage equipment suppliers and manufacturers develop AEX schemas to meet power industry requirements, and collaborate with allied organizations to adopt and deploy AEX.


  • Hydraulic Institute, American Petroleum Institute / Subcommittee on Mechanical Equipment and American Society of Mechanical Engineers / ASME B.73 adopted the AEX specifications as the basis for their electronic data exchange for pumps.
  • Delivered XML schemas for additional equipment types, such as fans, compressors, and motors.
  • Completed XML schemas for HVAC equipment.
  • Expanded participation in the AEX project, with an emphasis on power facilities.
  • Continued collaboration with the ADI Project, API, HI, PIP and the National Building Information Model Standard initiative.
  • Moved to operational capabilities in pump supply chains.
  • Expanded collaboration with equipment suppliers and industry associations.
  • Completed pilot project with KBR involving heat exchanger datasheet information shared between software applications.

Project Deliverables

The latest equipment Schema has been released to the public and is now available. All current and previous releases of the Schema, as well as supporting documentation can be downloaded from the Capital Facilities Industry XML website:



Releases on Capital Facilities Industry XML website:

Working Beta Release Version 3.01 of the XML Schema (November 11, 2009)

Public Release Version 3.0 of the XML Schema (June 16, 2009)

Working Beta Release Version 2.02 of the XML Schema (February 14, 2008)

Public Release Version 2.0 of the XML Schema (December 6, 2006)

Public Release Version 1.0 of the XML Schema (July 19, 2004)



Documentation on Capital Facilities Industry XML website:

"Using XML Schemas for Facilities Equipment" Version 2.0 (July 19, 2004)

"cfiXML Schema Architecture" Version 2.0 (June 2004)

"cfiXML Process Document" Version 1.5 (April 18, 2004)

"XML Schema Development Guidelines" Version 1.0 (February 3, 2004)



Other Documentation:

"Summary of AEX Schema Update and Supporting Rationale" (June 15, 2009)

"Working Release Version 3.01 Notes" (June 15, 2009)

Related Industry Research

ISO 15926 and the ADI Project

The AEX project and its deliverables are complementary to the emerging process industry life cycle data integration standard, ISO 15926. The AEX project is focused on enabling interoperability across the equipment supply chains and the software applications used for equipment design, selection, procurement and installation. The AEX project is working with FIATECH's ADI project to ensure that the information requirements for equipment and system handover, operations and maintenance are supported by the evolving library of templates and reference data for ISO 15926. The RDL Input Team investigates the available versions of the ISO 15926 Reference Data Library (RDL), provides comments and recommendations for improving the RDL information for engineered equipment and makes changes to the AEX XML schemas to improve the alignment with RDL. The AEX project plans to continue collaborating with ADI and ISO 15926.


The AEX project produces object information models for equipment that largely complements the work of the emerging International Alliance for Interoperability - Industry Foundation Classes (IAI-IFC standards) for building information models. NIST completed a research study that documented a semantic mapping between the IAI-IFC schemas and the AEX centrifugal pump schemas. The AEX project also has a long-standing cooperative relationship with ASHRAE to cooperate in the development of equipment information models for HVAC equipment, which will ultimately be useful for building information models. The AEX project is committed to continue working with IAI and ASHRAE to promote harmonized industry standards for equipment.




Presentation from 09/27/06

Introductory Presentation

AEX Interoperability Demo

AEX Project Overview, AEX Project Meeting - September 2006

AEX Team Workshop, AEX Workshop - February 2006

Achieving Interoperability for Equipment Supply Chains (AEX), Process Industry Data Integration Workshop - August 2005

Achieving Interoperability for Equipment Supply Chains, CII/CPI Conference - July 2005

AEX Project Overview and Interoperability Demonstration, Daratech, January 2005


AEX cfiXML Schemas for Capital Facility Industry Data Exchange, Wikipedia

XML for Capital Facilities. Journal of Leadership and Management in Engineering 3(2), April 2003, pp. 82-85. Reprinted with permission of the American Society of Civil Engineers

FIATECH AEX Project Publishes XML Schemas for Construction and Buildings Industry, XML Cover Pages, July 28, 2004

Semantic Mapping Between IAI ifcXML and FIATECH AEX Models for Centrifugal Pumps Begley, E. F.; Palmer, M. E.; Reed, K. A.

FIATECH AEX Project Publishes New XML Schemas for Capital Facilities Equipment, AVEVA Pipeline, 2004.

Cost Analysis of Inadequate Interoperability in the U.S. Capital Facilities Industry, NIST GCR 04-867, August, 2004