CAEX (Computer Aided Engineering Exchange) is a neutral data format that allows storage of hierarchical object information, e.g. the hierarchical architecture of a plant. On a certain abstraction level, a plant consists in modules or components that are interconnected. CAEX allows storage of those modules or components by means of objects. Object oriented concepts as encapsulation, classes, class libraries, instances, instance hierarchies, inheritance, relations, attributes and interfaces are explicitly supported. CAEX bases on XML and is defined as XML schema (xsd file). The original intention of developing CAEX was the industrial lack of a common and established data exchange between process engineering tools and process control engineering tools. However, CAEX can be applied to all types of static object information, e.g. plant topologies, document topologies, product topologies, petri nets, but also for non technical applications like phylogenetic trees.

Technical features

CAEX combines model-techniques with meta-model-techniques. The model-techniques allow storage of object information that is common across different vendors, e.g. objects, attributes, interfaces, hierarchies, references, libraries and classes. The meta-model-techniques allow a flexible definition of object information that is usually individual and application dependent, e.g. certain attribute names, specific classes or object catalogues. CAEX is mainly a static data format and not designed for storage of dynamic information. However, it is possible to define special classes for the description of dynamic behaviour.


The CAEX development started in 2002 as a university project at the RWTH Aachen at the chair of process control engineering (Prof. U. Epple) with the industrial support of the ABB corporate research Ladenburg. In 2003, the first CAEX proposal has been proposed to the german standardization committee DKE K941 (TC65, WG12). In 2004, CAEX has been published as part of the DIN V 44366. After a positive international voting, CAEX has been published as part of the IEC PAS 62424 in May 2005. In 2007, the next IEC standardization step has successfully been passed, it is published as IEC 62424 CDV (committee draft for voting).


CAEX is currently available as CAEX Version 2 (Version 2.15).


- CAEX has been developed within the DKE K 941 together with major industrial partners of the process industry; Bayer, BASF, Linde, Uhde, Wacker, Intergraph, Innotec, ABB and the RWTH Aachen.
- In the manufacturing automation area, CAEX serves as top level data format for the new neutral data exchange format AutomationML driven by Daimler, Siemens, KUKA, Rockwell and ABB .


CAEX is currently applied in the areas of process engineering, process control engineering, oil & gas industry and in the manufacturing automation engineering. The following research institutes are especially involved in the investigation of CAEX (Status 2007).
- RWTH Aachen
- HSU Hamburg
- TU Dresden
- Fraunhofer Institute for Information and Data Processing (IITB)
- Imperial College London
- AutomationML consortium


Wissensbasierte Unterstützung von HAZOP-Studien auf der Grundlage eines CAEX-Anlagenmodells

Objektorientierte Beschreibung einer Chemieanlage - Möglichkeiten und Vorteile

Using the Process Schematic in Plant-wide Disturbance Analysis

IEC PAS 62424 - Grafische Darstellung von PLT-Aufgaben und Datenaustausch zu Engineering-Systemen

An Intelligent Multi Agent System for Integrated Control & Asset Management of Petroleum Production Facilities

IEC PAS 62424, Präsentation auf der Hannovermesse 2007

CAEX 2.0 – Überblick über neue Entwicklungen, 5. Symposium "Informationstechnologien für Entwicklung und Produktion in der Verfahrenstechnik"


CAEX web site of the RWTH Aachen, Germany
Wiki AutomationML site
AutomationML homepage

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