The concept of aspects is that when viewing something from different perspectives the resulting information will be different. The ISO/IEC 81346-1  standard formalizes this concept by introducing a few defined aspects. The concept of aspects is embedded in the IMF vocabulary. In theory, there is no limit to how many aspects can be applied. For the purpose of modelling a Facility Asset, understood as describing the intended one, the aspects Function, Product and Location are needed as a minimum (see Section 4.2.2). To extend the Information Model with information about the actual Facility Asset, the Installed aspect is also included. Each aspect has a color assigned. The colors are included in the list below and are used in later figures to indicate the belonging aspect. Figure 7 illustrates these aspects as being different perspectives on the information about an intended pumping activity.
- The Function aspect (Yellow) ❶ is about the intended activity, in this example: to pump, providing information about required activity, performance, and function.
- The Product aspect (Cyan) ❷ is about the specification of a solution that is intended to perform the activity, in this example the specification of a particular type of pump.
- The Location aspect (Magenta) ❸ is about the spatial envelope – the size and shape – of the specified pump and the requirements imposed by the location (ambient temperature etc.).
- The Installed aspect (Dark blue) ❹ is about information about the actual pump, with information such as serial number, run hours, and status.
It is valuable to structure the information about something into aspects, but more importantly, this enables relating different aspects of something into different Breakdowns (see Figure 8) that each represent different perspectives of the Facility Asset as a whole. Figure 8 illustrates how an object relates to different Aspect Breakdowns here exemplified with a Function, Product and Location Aspect Breakdown.
Relations between aspects may arise when something (the cube in Figure 8) has several aspects that each relate to a different aspect of the Information Model. This example revolves around the intended pumping, where ❶ is the functional aspect of the pumping, which is part of a pumping system, which again is part of a separation system. Note that the breakdown in the Function aspect is about breaking down a main activity (separating) into sub-activities. The Product aspect ❷ gives the specification of the pump as a product and the breakdown reflects how the product is part of a larger assembly of products. The Location aspect ❸ is information about the space occupied by the product. The space occupied by the product is a part of a spatial breakdown, where its relative location and the requirements specific to the space is specified.