Virtual Material Modelling in Manufacturing

Addressing the Challenge – Interoperability in CAE Workflows

The lack of software standards in virtual engineering workflows and incompatible interfaces for the transfer of virtual material information not only cause additional costs and complex manual adaptation but also lead to inflexible IT solutions, loss of information and significant delays in the overall design process. The standardisation of material interfaces in CAE is therefore vital for all industry segments where material behaviour is central to product and process design.

The goal of the ITEA project VMAP was to create the first open vendor-neutral standard for computer-aided engineering data storage, thereby enhancing the interoperability of software tools and reducing costs and effort for companies. An open standardisation community will help push this into domains beyond the scope of the project, guaranteeing these benefits in both the short and long term.

A wide range of computer-aided engineering (CAE) software tools already enable virtual material and product design, virtual manufacturing and machining process parameterisation and virtual product testing of high-tech materials. However, these tools are rarely interoperable and contain multiple native formats for storing the CAE data to be transferred between simulation codes, such as geometrical information, simulation results and metadata. The corresponding lack of standardisation means that companies have to implement customised data transfer solutions – a huge effort in terms of both time and money.

Fraunhofer SCAI as Lead Partner for Standardisation

  • Project initiation
  • General project management
  • Technical coordination of interface specification
  • Reference implementation of VMAP IO lib
  • Adaption of MpCCI Mapper tool
  • Technical support for various use cases

The VMAP Standard

The VMAP project (A new Interface Standard for Integrated Virtual Material Modelling in Manufacturing Industry) has filled this gap by creating the world’s first CAE workflow interface standard. This is vendor-neutral, cost-free and completely open to any interested party, helping to maximize its uptake amongst companies of all sizes. Input/output (I/O) routines have also been provided for easy implementation. With the uptake of this standard, VMAP’s end-users will enjoy a faster time to market and lower production costs through a decrease in the amount of manual work and corresponding human error in their CAE workflows. 

VMAP is a vendor-neutral standard for CAE data storage to enhance interoperability in virtual engineering workflows.


  • Strong community including the VMAP project plus many new partners including industry, software companies and vendors, experts from academia, etc.
  • Meta and user data
  • Geometry and discretization
  • Coordinate and unit systems
  • Result and state variables
  • Parameters for (material) models
  • Reference Implementation of the VMAP IO Library can be directly built into any simulation software
© Fraunhofer SCAI
VMAP Software Architecture

The VMAP Standards Community

The VMAP Standards Community (VMAP SC) will be open to any interested party, that wants to use or contribute to the standardization efforts. Specification documents and directly related software components of the VMAP Standard shall be made available to any interested party - VMAP SC members as well as external institutions - on a royalty-free basis.

The purpose of the Association /is the dissemination of the VMAP Standard and its further development, and the assurance and maintenance of a uniform library standard. This comprises the coordinated standardization and development of software technology and methods in the area of engineering and other data transfer within Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) simulation processes and related areas such as virtual product development, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML). In particular, VMAP SC e.V.  develops and promotes the VMAP Standard and VMAP IO Software Libraries for specification, modelling, simulation and other analysis, design, learning methods, as well as systems operations of physical and technical systems and processes. The VMAP IO Libraries will be licensed to interested parties on a royalty free basis.

Industrial Use Cases



Integrative simulation and optimization workflow for blow moulded plastic parts considering residual stresses and geometry changes due to shrinkage and warpage.

Composites for Lightweight Vehicles

Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) is an established technology to produce complexly shaped composite parts.

Plastic Injection Moulding

For Short- and Long-Fibre Reinforced Thermoplastics (SFRT and LFRT) an integrated simulation will be performed.

Additive Manufacturing


Establish an integrated simulation and optimization workflow for additive manufactured plastic parts (SLS process) to optimize the building process, the part design and the part function.

Hybrid Modelling of Consumer Products

Simulate a multi-stage manufacturing process and product performance for a hybrid material component.

Composites in Aerospace

Virtual autoclave manufacturing for commercial aerospace parts.

Proposed Solutions

The concepts generated within the VMAP project will be concretised in an open software interface standard and implemented in a number of software tools. The advantages of integrated material handling will be demonstrated by six industrial use cases from different material categories, manufacturing domains and industry segments. In brief, VMAP will generate universal concepts and open software interface specifications for the exchange of material information where necessary, translation tools that follow the open interface specification. VMAP will also implement virtual industrial demonstrators for relevant material domains and manufacturing processes as well as provide best-practice guidelines for the community. The establishment of an open and vendor-neutral ‘Material Data Exchange Interface Standard’ community will ensure that standardisation efforts continue into the future.

Projected Results and Impact

Interoperable virtual material models and a seamless transfer of material data history in a CAE workflow enables industry users to develop and produce better products in a shorter time and in more efficient manufacturing processes. Interface standards will also help CAE software developers and vendors to realise further virtual material models that can be easily integrated in holistic design, simulation and optimisation workflows. In Europe’s growing and future manufacturing market whereby materials technology is a key factor, especially in the rapidly emerging market of additive manufacturing for metal and plastics, an open software interface standard for virtual material modelling can have significant benefits.


Austria: 4a engineering, Wittmann Battenfeld

Belgium: MSC Software Belgium

Canada: Convergent Manufacturing Technologies

Germany: Audi, Dr. Reinold Hagen Stiftung, DYNAmore, EDAG Engineering, ESI Software Germany, Fraunhofer SCAI, Hagen Engineering, inuTech, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Kautex Machinenbau, NAFEMS, Rikutec Richter Kunststofftechnik, Robert Bosch, Simcon Kunststofftechnische Software

Netherlands: Delft University of Technology , DevControl, In Summa Innovation, KE-works, Materials innovation institute M2i, MSC Software Benelux, Philips, Reden, University of Groningen

Switzerland: BETA CAE Systems International, Sintratec


VMAP Standards Community e.V.

Industry oriented and neutral association to further develop and maintain the VMAP Standard.  


Project Start / Supported
September 2017
Funded by German BMBF - 01|S17025A

Project End
September 2020

Supported by

PDF Download

  • SotA
  • MpCCI Mapper – VMAP Support
  • Whitepaper

Project Website