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What you need to know about BS and ISO gear standards.

The BGA is actively involved in supporting the review and development of both British Standards and ISO standards. This is facilitated by a team of volunteers who give their time to ensure that the UK needs and opinions are properly represented and considered by the international gearing community.

BSI report that ‘Independent research on the economic contribution of standards to the UK economy and businesses finds that standards boost UK productivity and improve performance, kick-start innovation, and support UK domestic and international trade.’ So, it’s a good thing to be involved with and UK businesses need to be aware of relevant standards, their current status and the potential impact from revisions which are being implemented.

What are standards?

ISO state ‘A standard is a document, established by a consensus of subject matter experts and approved by a recognized body that provides guidance on the design, use or performance of materials, products, processes, services, systems or persons.

Furthermore, they state ‘The formal definition from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and its sister organization, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is: a document, established by consensus and approved by a recognized body, that provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context.’

Some things you should know about standards

  • Unless invoked in a law, statute or a contract, compliance with a standard is not mandatory.

  • If a standard is invoked in a specification or contract, it becomes mandatory to invoke the whole standard, unless exceptions are formally agreed.

  • The use of the word ‘shall’ imply a statement is mandatory.

  • The use of the word ‘should’ imply a statement is recommended or optional.

  • The word ‘must’ is usually avoided because it is ambiguous.

  • A standard may contain Annexes. Annexes are used to provide additional information to the main body of the document and are developed for several reasons, including visual clarity, to set apart special types of information (tables, charts, software) or to present information on a particular application of the document. There are two types:

Normative Annex. A normative annex is considered part of the standard. For example if you specified the spur and helical gear tolerance requirements for a BS ISO 1328-1:2013 class 6 gear, you will include the specification of radial runout from Normative Annex E in the tolerance specification.

Informative Annex. This contains information relating to the standard but should be considered part of the standard. Informative annexes may contain guidance information, background or historical information regarding something in the standard or information for which a consensus could not be reached consistent with ISO rules and regulations.

  • An ISO Technical Report (TR) or BSI Published Document (PD) are not standards. They are technical documents that contain guidance information that may be independent or support full standard documents.

  • An ISO Technical Specification (TS) is also not a standard. These documents should be considered draft Standards for trial and to seek feedback from end users. They may still be useful, but after 3 years it is usual to review and revise their status and publish them as either full Standard documents or TRs, as appropriate.

The BGA standards library

The BGA maintains a library of 25 ISO and BS gear related standards that are free to access and download by BGA members. This keeps you up to date with the latest versions of these standards.

The link below will take you to the BGA standards library.

Get involved

Getting involved with standard development will bring many benefits to individuals and organisations:

  • It will keep you up to date on the latest ideas and analysis methods

  • Make sure that standards support your business needs

  • Ensure the UK is represented at the ‘top table’ of standards work

  • Provides a great way develop your understanding of gear technology and the important issues we are facing

  • Great experience for less experienced staff who simply want to learn

If you want further information about standards or BGA’s role developing them, please contact BGA staff who will be happy to answer your questions.


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