Who Sets the Standard? A Guide to the Standards Organizations Governing FastenersPhoto From unsplash

Originally Posted On: Who Sets the Standard? A Guide to the Standards Organizations Governing Fasteners (mudgefasteners.com)


The primary activities of standards organizations, bodies, standards developing organization (SDO) or standards setting organization (SSO) are developing, coordinating and producing technical standards that address the needs of a relatively wide base user base. Many of these organizations affect the fastener industry, and depending on which parts you’re dealing with, one or more of the organizations listed below may be involved.

ASTM International: American Society for Testing and Materials
ASTM International is the leader in development of international standards around the globe. At least 12,000 ASTM standards that are currently in use throughout the world, improving product quality and enhancing safety of the products bearing the ASTM seal.

SAE International: Society of Automotive Engineers
Based in the United States, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) is global consortium of 138,000+ engineers and technical experts. These experts use their collective knowledge to primary focus on aerospace, consumer automotive and commercial vehicles. The SAE is committed to life-long learning and developing standards via voluntary consensus.

AISI: American Iron and Steel Institute
North American steel producers formed the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) over a century ago, earning it the title of the oldest trade association in the United States. AISI advocates for policies supportive of domestic manufacturing that also provide high-quality products to a wide range of customers, with the goal increasing the market for North American steel in both traditional and innovative markets.

ANSI: American National Standards Institute
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is best known as the voice of the United States standards and conformity assessment. ANSI oversees creation, promulgation and use of thousands of guidelines that impact nearly every sector of business, with topics ranging from construction equipment to acoustical devices, and from energy distribution to dairy and livestock production. ANSI also offers accreditation programs to assess management systems and conformance standards.

ASME: American Society of Mechanical Engineers
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) provides manufacturers with standards for guidelines and tolerances for bolt conformity.  Some types of bolts, like the hex cap screws used in automotive applications, require very narrow tolerances, while construction grade fasteners have more broad tolerances. All of the tolerances are laid out by the ASME specifications are crucial in the manufacturing process.

IFI: Industrial Fasteners Institute
Established in 1931, the Industrial Fasteners Institute (IFI) is a standards organization and publisher based in Ohio, whose primary focus is representing North American mechanical fastener manufacturers. IFI standards are regularly used as a guide to design by machinists, mechanical engineers and manufacturers of bolts, nuts, machine screws and other engineered fasteners.

When it comes to fasteners, IFI does not create standards, but rather manages standards, creating technical information and handbooks to represent, support and protect fastener manufacturers.

ICC: International Code Council
The International Code Council (ICC) is a member-focused association, dedicated to the development of model codes and standards. These codes and standards are used during the design, build and compliance processes of construction, with the goal of creating safe, affordable, sustainable and resilient buildings. Most commodities in the United States, as well as many global markets for commodities, implement ICC code compliance for regulation.

UL: United Laboratories
United Laboratories (UL) aims to advance the building products industry’s goal of achieving safety and innovation. To do this, UL provides cost-effective, reliable product testing and certification with flexible, customized service options.

ISO: International Organization of Standards
The International Organization of Standards (ISO) is an independent, international, non-governmental organization that brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant International Standards. With a membership of 161 national standards bodies, ISO supports innovation to provide solutions to global challenges.

DIN: German Institute for Standardization
The German Institute for Standardization (DIN) creates standards that have been developed at the national, European and international level. With DIN, anyone can submit a proposal for a new standard, and if accepted, DIN carries out the standards project according to procedures authored by relevant Standards Committees. When it comes to fasteners, DIN standards are typically only for parts manufactured in metric sizes.

JIS: Japanese Industrial Standards
The Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) organization is the primary body specifying standards for industrial activity in Japan. The JIS standardization process is coordinated by their Standards Committee and published through the Japanese Standards Association. The most common place JIS standards show up in the fastener industry are in relation to the automotive field.

COLA / LARR: Los Angeles Research Report
While not exactly a standards organization, here in Los Angeles the Department of Building and Safety reviews and approves the use of building, electrical, mechanical products within the City of Los Angeles. If a product is approved by LADBS, a letter is issued that contains a Los Angeles Research Report (LARR) Number, which require renewal every two years. During plan check, an engineer may ask for the LARR numbers of products used to be clearly identified. Fasteners, especially innovative, branded fasteners like those from Elco and DeWALT, are the most common products in construction to require an LARR.

RCSC: Research Council on Structural Connections
The Research Council on Structural Connections (RCSC) is a non-profit volunteer organization. RSCS is comprised of more than 85 experts in the fields of design, engineering, fabrication, erection and bolting of structural steel connections. Research projects funded by the RCSC seek to provide reliability, safety and standard practices for the international steel construction industry.

MS: Military Standard
This United States defense standard is used to help achieve standardization objectives by the U.S. Department of Defense. Often informally called mil-spec, this standardization helps achieve interoperability, ensuring fasteners meet certain requirements of reliability, total cost of ownership, commonality, logistics systems compatibility, and other similar defense-related objectives.

AN: Air Force-Navy Aeronautical
Like MS, AN is applied to fasteners and other parts that meet a specified standard put forth by the Air Force and Navy, generally regarding items used in aeronautical manufacturing. In some cases, MS and AN parts share the same item numbers, but that is not always. If you have any questions about which fasteners meet either MS or AN standards, please contact us.

NAS: National Aero Space
Developed by the aerospace industry, the National Aerospace Standards (NAS) are voluntary standards created by experts on certain subject matters from member companies, who participate in committees and working groups. The library of NAS standards, which contains more than 1,400 documents, cover a wide variety topics including bolts, rivets, washers, screws, nut plates, pins, knobs and more.

If you need help finding parts to meet any of these standards, please contacts us.