Know your standards
Any engineer knows the importance of understanding and adhering to industry and government standards. Without them, most businesses and manufacturers couldn't operate. It seems, though, that standards are updated or a new standard is created every day. Where is the best place to find out about and keep track of all the changes?The following web sites are good resources to bookmark and che...
Any engineer knows the importance of understanding and adhering to industry and government standards. Without them, most businesses and manufacturers couldn't operate.
It seems, though, that standards are updated or a new standard is created every day. Where is the best place to find out about and keep track of all the changes?
The following web sites are good resources to bookmark and check periodically to ensure up-to-date knowledge of the standards governing industry:
NIST: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (Gaithersburg, Md.), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, works with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements, and standards. It conducts research at its Measurement and Standards Laboratories to improve U.S. manufacturing products and services. It also offers assistance to small and medium-sized businesses through its Manufacturing Extension Partnership. NIST's web site is at www.nist.gov .
ANSI: American National Standards Institute (New York, N.Y.), founded in 1918, is a nonprofit organization with the mission of improving the U.S. competitiveness in international industry by developing, promoting and maintaining voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems. ANSI's web site provides information on standards from many independent organizations. ANSI also distributes a biweekly newsletter detailing standards updates and developments. The National Standards Systems Network (NSSN) is a web-based service of ANSI providing standards information beyond the U.S. ANSI and NSSN can be found at www.ansi.org .
IEC: The International Electrotechnical Commission (Geneva, Switzerland), founded in 1906, is a global organization that develops and publishes standards for electrical, electronic, and related technologies. IEC's web site contains information on its international standards, including the IEC 61131 standards for programmable controllers. Also available is an e-mail newsletter called "Just Published," which provides information on updates of IEC standards. IEC can be found on the web at www.iec.ch .
UL: Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (Northbrook, Ill.), founded in 1894, is a global, nonprofit product safety testing and certification organization. It maintains a list of standards, a products index, and UL testing and certification services for businesses and products on its web site. UL can be found at www.ul.com .
ISO: What standards library would be complete without the latest on ISO 9000 and 14000? The International Organization for Standardization's (Geneva, Switzerland) web site offers standards catalogs and information on ISO 9000 and 14000 defined in easy-to-understand terms. Also available is the organization's newsletter, "ISO 9000 + ISO 14000 News," which touts update information "straight from the source." An area for user feedback allows those affected by the standards to express their comments and concerns. ISO can be found at www.iso.ch .
The organizations listed can give users a good idea of the major standards for industry. Of course, there are standards organizations for specific disciplines. Most of these specialized organizations can be reached through the sites listed via a few short clicks.
Laura Zurawski, web editor, firstname.lastname@example.org