What are Standards?
Standards are documents that provide rules, guidelines and requirements for the design, production, use or performance of materials, products, processes, services or persons. They are the result of voluntary national, European and international standardization activities. The use of standards is voluntary. Standards only become binding if they are the subject of contracts between parties, for example between vendor and buyer, or if compliance with them is mandatory by law.
Advantages of Standards
Standards provide a common language for an efficient communication and work flow between designers, manufacturers, vendors, end-users, certification bodies.
Standards can serve as a catalyst for innovations and help in anchoring solutions more quickly on the market.
Standards define compatibility requirements. As everybody knows, compatibility between individual components and systems is essential.
Standards as a global language of technology facilitate market access and help to reduce technical trade barriers.
Standards help to save costs, for example overhead costs of every part bought or sold. Standards improve product safety by defining quality and minimum requirements, that help to protect users, their health and safety, and the environment.
Standards reduce product liability risk by providing clarity about the properties of a product and are considered to be clear and recognized rules of technology. In contracts, reference to standards increases legal certainty.
Who creates Standards?
Did you know? Standards are developed by the interested parties themselves and not by the legislator, government authority or a national regulator. All parties interested in the specific topic can get involved with the professional work within the standard committees and contribute with their expertise. Industry experts drive all aspects of the standard development process, from deciding whether a new standard is needed to defining its technical content.
Organisation of ISO
ISO is a global network of national standards bodies. ISO has one member per country, i.e. each member represents ISO in its country. P-members can actively participate by sending nominates into the working groups and by voting on the standards at various stages of their development. O-members can observe the standards that are being developed, and can offer comments and advice.
A technical committee (TC) or subcommittee (SC) consists of nationial bodies (e.g. AFNOR, DIN, SNV…) indicated their involvement in the work as a P-member to participate actively or O-member to observe the work done in the specific committee.
Working groups (WG) are established by a technical committee or subcommittee and consist of individual specialists, such as designers, manufacturers, end-users and academia. These specialists are put forward by the ISO member bodies who have indicated to work actively in the committee (P-members).
How is an ISO Standard developed?
The proposal for a new standard can be submitted by ISO member bodies, ISO technical committees or partner organizations (liaison). ISO checks if there is a global market need by asking the countries to vote. ISO members can choose to actively participate in a technical committee. Depending on the size of the committee, there is a minimum number of P-members (4 or 5) needed for active contribution. If it is approved, the proposal gets added to an ISO committee’s work program. They can nominate experts to write the draft standard in the working group. After consensus, the document is sent up to the parent technical committee for review. The technical committee shares the draft standard with the national experts for comment. Once the national standards bodies receive their feedback, they will then vote to approve or disapprove the draft. The technical committee sends the draft to the ISO central secretariat which sends it to all ISO member bodies for voting. If the ballot was closed and the vote passed, then it can be published as an International Standard.
The standard is reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that it is in line with the technical progress and either confirmed, revised or withdrawn. The review takes into account the feedback from national experts.
Types of ISO Documents
Beside the International Standard (IS), as discussed before, we also know Technical Specifications (ISO/TS) and Technical Reports (ISO/TR). ISO/TS is published for immediate use, but it also provides a means to obtain feedback, because work is still in development. The aim is that it will eventually be transformed and republished as an International Standard. An ISO/TR is informational only and may contain, for example, technical research, tutorials or information on ‘state-of-the-art’ developments.
How to get involved?
You are interested in getting involved? Contact your national association or the national standards body that represents ISO in your country:
Belgium: NBN Bureau de Normalisation [email protected]
Germany: DIN Deutsches Institut für Normung e.V. [email protected] Finland: Finnish Standards Association SFS [email protected]
France: AFNOR Association française de normalisation [email protected] Italy: UNI Ente Italiano di Normazione [email protected]
Switzerland: SNV Swiss Association for Standardization [email protected]
Türkiye: TSE Türk Standardlari Enstitüsü [email protected]
United Kingdom: BSI British Standards Institution [email protected]
Examples of ISO Standards in the field of Drive Technology
Author: Andre Thuswaldner
Dirk Decker, General Secretary
Phone: +49 69 66 03-16 85
Fax: +49 69 66 03-26 85
Email: [email protected]