Definition: Information Model – An Information Model is a structure of information objects and relations between them that is designed to capture knowledge.
Information Models can be used to model Facility Assets, such as components, systems, and process plants, and can be used for both real-world and abstract assets. In an Information Model properties, relationships, constraints, and rules are used to describe and capture knowledge about an asset. A main objective of an Information Model is to structure and provide the necessary context to interpret the information objects within the scope of the model, e.g., give a context for how a number that quantifies pressure is related to the output pressure from a pump and how this is potentially relevant for a heat exchanger.
An essential characteristic of Information Models is to formalize the description of the model without setting constraints on the implementation of the model. The implementation of an Information Model in a particular software is called a data model. Having an application neutral description of the information is beneficial when we want to exchange the information between different systems since it limits the amount of mapping required between the systems.
IMF is a framework for creating Information Models, where the allowed elements, relations and rules for the Information Model are described. The formalization of the IMF Language is covered in Chapter 4. By conforming to IMF, the created Information Models can be exchanged with other users of IMF, and the Information Models can be integrated with each other to form larger models.
The intended use for IMF is to make Facility Assets Information Models, where the requirements and specifications for building a Facility Asset are modelled. The effort to model Facility Assets requires input from many different parties across the value chain. IMF is designed to allow all levels of detail. The necessary level of details varies between the different parties involved in the design of the Facility Asset e.g., the details for how a particular pump is made is not needed by an engineering contractor, while for the pump supplier these details are essential. By following IMF, the detailed Information Model from the pump supplier can be exchanged with the engineering contractor and integrated into the engineering contractor’s overall Information Model of the Facility Asset.