What Is the Difference Between ASME & ANSI?

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The American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American National Standards Institute are non-profit professional organizations for engineers. The combined goal of ASME and ANSI is to collaborate in advancing technical knowledge and uniform voluntary standards and codes used in engineering. Together, they function on the national, as well as global, scale, but they have differences in their projects and goals.

ASME and ANSI Missions

  • ANSI is the primary entity representing the U.S. standards and conformity assessment system. It works to strengthen the position of the U.S. marketplace in the global economy. The organization is also interested in green initiatives -- the protection of the environment -- while working to ensure the safety and health of customers. ASME works on the global level in the mechanical engineering community to enable the collaboration, career education and development of skills across the multi-disciplinary network of engineering disciplines. Its primary educational interest is in testing and evaluating mechanical engineers for the professional engineer license, PE. But this organization also promotes the role of the engineer in society, ASME codes and standards, conferences, publications and continuing career education.

Standards and Codes

  • Engineering standards and codes are essential guidelines and norms that impact nearly every business sector from construction, manufacturing, acoustical and visual devices, dairy and livestock production and energy production. ANSI seeks to further global competitiveness of U.S. businesses by promoting voluntary consensus standards and ensuring their integrity. ASME is an important resource for engineering professionals to find solutions to real world challenges. It works with other interdisciplinary engineering agencies to promote and coordinate standards development, approve national consensus standards and develop user acceptability for standards and codes.

Development of Standards

  • Engineering codes and standards ensure the safety and quality of materials and equipment. There are two types of organizations that supply standards and codes: standard developers and standard providers. Standard developers, such as ASME, work with engineers, industry technicians and scientists to produce non-biased specification documents that serve industry and protect the public. Professional engineering societies, trade organizations and private businesses work together in writing the standards for their particular industry. Standard providers, such as ANSI, distribute standards and codes. They also provide access to the standards though a constantly maintained database. The provider is not always the standard developer.

Enforcement and Regulation

  • Government agencies define industry standards and codes. Legislation controls the practices of the manufacturers that impact the environment, public health or worker safety. Standards ensure that companies, manufacturers and others adhere to accepted professional practices. Engineering regulations are defined by the government to ensure the public's protection and uphold ethical standards for professional engineers. ANSI has a major role in addressing the academic qualifications and licensure issues. It also describes how misconduct should be handled. If a professional engineer is involved in an incident concerning noncompliance with the standards, codes or specifications, he may lose his professional license and have to refrain from working as an engineer for a certain period. If the incident was life-threatening or potentially dangerous, the engineer may never work in his engineering field again. ASME cannot force any inspector, installer or manufacturer to follow ASME standards because their participation is voluntary.

Membership and Following

  • ANSI's membership is composed of governmental agencies, corporations, organizations, academic and international bodies and individual engineers. ASME has a large following of professional engineers and various companies. It ensures that those who work in mechanical engineering or affiliated companies can keep in touch with current technology affecting their fields.

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