The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) was founded in 1919 as a private non-profit organization to promote U.S. voluntary standards and conformity for industry. Standardization became important at the onset of the industrial revolution with the development of standard products, interchangeable parts, and precision machine tools. Originally formed under the name American Engineering Standards Committee, the present name was adopted in 1969. Present day ANSI promotes standards and policy for everything from Nuclear Energy to homeland security.


ANSI was originally founded by five engineering disciplines including the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), American Society of Civil Engineers ((ASCE), American Society of Mining Engineers (AIME), and the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) to establish conformity and interchangeability in processes and manufacturing. The Institute has now defined standards for such diverse organizations as Homeland security, the Defense Department, I.D. theft protection, and Healthcare fields. As innovative new technologies and manufacturing processes evolve, there is a growing need to establish new standards and practices to ensure compatibility around the world. In a global economy, manufactured components are often purchased internationally and then assembled into a final product in the United States.  United States manufacturing firms may also provide components to an assembly plant somewhere else in the world. ANSI works together with International standards organizations to insure America’s interests are realized in the world market. ANSI was founded to strengthen the United States position in the global market place by insuring product integrity and conformity in U.S. manufacturing. Through the years, ANSI has developed a worldwide presence and is heavily invested in promoting worldwide standards in cooperation with organizations such as the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Global standards ensure conformity, safety, and quality of products no matter the country of origin.



As new technologies emerge or an existing need is recognized, there is a defined process for introducing, approving and publishing new standards. Below is a short outline of the basic process.

1)   A standard is proposed by a “consensus body” that includes representatives from effected interested parties.

2)   The standard is drafted with input from appropriate engineering disciplines or other expert opinion as required.

3)   A broad based public review and comment on the drafted standard is initiated.

4)   A review is conducted and all comments and responses by voting members and public review are considered.

5)   Approved changes are adopted and incorporated into the drafted standard.

6)   At this time there is a right to appeal by any participant who believes that due process principles were not sufficiently respected during the standards development process in accordance with the ANSI-accredited procedures of the standards developer.

7)   If all parties are satisfied, the standard is accepted.



ANSI manufacturing standard specifications, for the most part, must be purchased.  Since ANSI is a non-profit organization, most of its funds are acquired by the sale of various standards documents. However, a large number of ANSI standards and specifications for tooling, fasteners, drafting practices, and piping can be found in the Machinery’s Handbook.

The Machinery’s Handbook has been the shop Bible of just about every engineer and machinist since its first edition in 1914, only a few years before the founding of ANSI. Manufacturing facilities that produce parts to be sold domestically or internationally conform to ANSI and ISO standards in order to be a legitimate competitor in the marketplace. Most customers will require a supplier to state the standard a part was manufactured to and many customers will specify a standard before purchase. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) remains the manufacturing watch dog for American interest throughout the world and has significant influence with the International Standards Organization (ISO), ensuring a voice in world manufacturing standards in the future.

For more information on ANSI standards and plastic engineering, check out our complimentary Glossary of Plastic Manufacturing Terms. 

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