Archive Monthly Archives: August 2020

Which Versions of Y14.5 are Most Common in Industry?


In May of 2020, I conducted a survey to find out which versions of the Y14.5 standard is dominant in various industries. The survey also included a few questions on related topics that often come up in discussions about standards. The results are a bit of a surprise.

First, I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all who participated in the survey. Without your help, I could not have found this information.

The survey had 178 responses from over 20 different industries. The number of responses is not huge, but I feel it does give a fair indication of which standards are made use of in various industries.

Survey results


I recognize the survey results are not entirely representative of all companies due to the limited sample size. However, I believe it provides information that is worth analyzing. I concluded five main points from the survey. These points are my opinions based on the survey responses and my observations working with companies across many industries.

Main Observations

  1. The Y14.5-2018 standard has been out for about two years now. The implementation of the standard is off to a slow start. Only about 7% of the respondents use the 2018 version of the standard. The slow start may be due to several factors
    • Minimal new information. The 2018 standard only contains a few significant changes or new tolerancing tools. Many companies could continue with the existing tolerancing tools and avoid the costs involved with adopting the 2018 standard.
    • Costs. There is a significant cost involved in adopting a new tolerancing standard. (e.g., internal training, software updates, supplier coordination, etc.)
    • Need. Companies may not see a driving need to update to a new standard. If you analyze the cost vs. benefits of adopting a new version of Y14.5, it may be hard to justify the change.
    • Business factors. COVID-19, ROI, etc.
  2. The Y14.5-2009 standard is by far the most common version used in various industries today. One hundred twenty-four respondents (70%) use this standard.
  3. It was a surprise to see that 41% of respondents using the Y14.5 standard also use a document to supplement the standard. It would be helpful if some of these company-specific items could become part of a future version of the standard.
  4. It was somewhat of a surprise to see that 34 responses indicated the 1994 version of the standard is the most common standard in use in their organization. The ongoing use of the 1994 standard supports my point number 1 in the conclusions.
  5. I estimate that it will take at least 5-7 years before the 2018 standard becomes the majority standard used across various industries. Only thirty-five (about 20%) of the respondents replied their customers drive the decision to change to another version of the standard. Only 6% responded that they think their organization may switch to another version of the standard within one year.

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