Know Your ANSI From ASME - Decoding Acronyms In Manufacturing

Author: Chris Johnson | January 13, 2015 | Category: Resources, Food Safety
AcronymsWhen working in manufacturing, it seems there's an acronym for just about everything. OSHA, API, ANSI, ISO, EHEDG, just to name a few. If BPE or 3A standards come up in your next meeting, will you know the difference? Read on for definitions of some of the most common technical standards and certifications in the manufacturing industry and learn your ANSI from your ASME!

Standards serve several purposes. They help to "ensure interoperability, safety, reliability and quality by establishing a framework of accepted best practices, and serve as fundamental building blocks for research, product development and innovation." (ASME Standards & Certification).

Standards provide insight and guidelines to people involved with the design, manufacturing, installation, inspection, maintenance, and/or the operation of equipment. They give manufacturers and service providers an industry-approved benchmark for which to design and offer their product. 


American Petroleum Institute (API) is the largest U.S. trade association for the oil and natural gas industries. API focuses on developing petroleum and petrochemical equipment and operating standards. API maintains more than 500 Standards and recommended practices related to everything from drill bits to environmental protection in this industry.  

Careful consideration must be taken when selecting equipment for the oil and natural gas industries due to the nature of the product. For example, API-certified pumps meet the requirements of the American Petroleum Institute Standard for General Refinery Service, which means this pump is ideal for applications in the oil refinery industry where it may experience higher temperatures and pressure applications compared to other industries with less aggressive applications.


American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private, non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards, or standards that everyone agrees on. These standards are developed for systems, products, services, processes, and personnel. ANSI works with many domestic and International Standards Organizations to ensure that characteristics and performance of products are consistent. 

For example, an ANSI-certified pump is designed and built to the dimensional standards of the American National Standards Institute. This Standard provides for dimensional interchangeability of pumps from one manufacturer to another. 


International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an independent, non-government membership organization specializing in the development of voluntary International Standards. ISO has over 19,500 International Standards covering nearly every aspect of technology and business. 

ISO International Standards help businesses reduce costs by optimizing operations, minimizing waste and errors, and increasing productivity. They enhance customer satisfaction through improved quality and provide businesses access to new markets. 

For us, ISO International Standards touch our lives in almost every way. When products and services conform to these Standards, we can be sure we're receiving a safe and reliable product or service.


American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) is a non-profit membership organization developing consensus standards related to the field of mechanical engineering. ASME is responsible for more than 500 standards, covering everything from simple equipment, like hand tools, to power plant design and operation. There are multiple subgroups under the ASME that develop standards for technical industries across the board.


The Bioprocessing Equipment (BPE) Certification Program is a standard under the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for equipment used in the bioprocessing, pharmaceutical, and personal-care products industries where hygienic standards are relatively high. The BPE Certification Program leads the standard on how to design and build equipment and systems used in bio-pharmaceutical manufacturing. Companies applying the BPE Certification Program can achieve production efficiencies, lower development and manufacturing costs, and increase product quality and safety, while staying in compliance with regulations. 


European Hygienic Engineering Design Group (EHEDG) is a food production standard for the European market that is starting to make its way to the United States. EHEDG is NOT a government organization, but rather a devoted group of equipment and food manufacturers, research institutes, and public health authorities. Their goal is to promote hygiene during the processing and packaging of food products. EHEDG certification is achieved by inspection and testing of equipment and is being seen more and more in the United States. It's similar to 3A, but is an actual tested certification, where 3A is a design standard only.

3A  3A

3A is a non-profit organization devoted to advancing hygienic equipment design for the food and beverage industry where strict hygiene standards are required. 3A represents the interests of three groups - processors, regulatory sanitarians, and equipment fabricators. 3A is an ANSI-accredited Standards Developer Organization that works to promote and educate the public on proper sanitary and hygiene standards. In coordination with equipment manufacturers and food processors, the 3A organization also develops sanitary standards for the design, fabrication, installation, and operation of equipment and machinery.

There is a growing concern in the hygienic industry of process equipment inappropriately using the 3A symbol, so make sure your equipment is really 3A certified. You can read more about this on our blog: False Advertising and 3A: How To Tell If It's Really 3A Certified

The above Standards definitions only touch the surface of what is available, as they relate to manufacturing and technical industries, so make sure to work with a qualified engineer when selecting equipment and do your research!  

Contact us today for help choosing the right equipment for your industry based on the Standards explained above. We gladly provide technical assistance to businesses in Wisconsin and upper Michigan.

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Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson

Chris is an Account Manager for Crane Engineering. He specializes in sanitary applications. He likes to make sure his customers are well educated on equipment and applications so they can feel confident in the decisions they make for their processes.

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