September 20, 2017


A few weeks ago, I surveyed on whether the ISO GPS or ASME Y14.5-2009 standard is more widely used on drawings in industry. I posted the survey on several group boards on LinkedIn. This article compiles the results of the ISO GPS and ASME Y14.5 standards survey.

Before I discuss the results, I would like to thank all the people that participated in the survey. Their contribution allows all of us to look at the questions in this survey from many users viewpoint.

Since the survey is comparing the use of the Y14.5 (a US standard) and the ISO GPS (an International standard) standards, the results are shown as a comparison of US responses and International responses.

Participation Results

The figure above shows that the International response rate was slightly higher than the US response rate. There were 133 total responses from 27 different countries. The US had 63 responses and their were 70 responses from the International community. The highest response rates of the International participants were from India, Poland, and Brazil.

Type and Size of Industries Surveyed

The survey had participants from a variety of industries. 

The survey responses came from employees working in companies from less than 100 to over 100,00 employees. The chart above shows that 53% of the participants work in companies with more than 10,000 employees.

The first three questions of the survey are focused on gathering information about the participants. Their country and the industry they work in and the size of the company. The next section of the article will explain details about which tolerancing standards are used on drawings in their companies.. 

Current Tolerancing Standards Used on Drawings in US and International Companies.

Whether the ASME Y14.5 or ISO GPS standard is more widely used on drawings is the main question in the survey. My students and customers have often asked me this question. My colleagues in the ISO GPS and ASME standards community talk about it as well.

The survey shows that the ASME Y14.5 standard is widely used (86%) in the US and is used significantly Internationally(56%). 


This survey is based on 133 responses from 27 countries. Although the participation is significant, it is not high enough to make an accurate assessment of the use of tolerancing standards in industry globally. However, it does provide us with information to make useful insights on the use of standards even though it is not a definitive answer.

Survey Participants Recommendation on the use of the ISO GPS or ASME Y14.5 tolerance standards.

Keep in mind; the question below is asking an opinion of the participants.

When asked, "If your company was evaluating which tolerancing standards to use in the future, what would be your recommendation?"

Most of the participants  (67%) responded the ASME Y14.5 tolerancing standard as their preference and both ASME Y14.5 and ISO GPS as their second choice (20%).

The three most common responses from the US participants are below. The standard they recommended is shown in bold. (The number in parentheses is the number of participants with similar comments.)

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    ASME Y14.5 - "We currently use this standard." (12)
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    ASME Y14.5 - "ASME training is a lot easier. Helpful to have nearly all of the info in one document." (9)
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    ASME Y14.5 - "Y14.5 is the most widely used standard." (8)

The three most common responses from the International participants are below. The standard they recommended is shown in bold.(The number in parentheses is the number of participants with similar comments.)

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    ASME Y14.5 -"Easier to understand. Fewer standards. Focused on design intent." (12)
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    ASME  Y14.5 - "Customer requires Y14.5". (12)
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    Both ASME & ISO GPS-"The customer dictates the standards we use"(12)

A few additional interesting comments from individual US survey participants are below.

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     Both ASME & ISO GPS - "I see that ISO shall gain a technical advantage due to GPS approach, whereas ASME is a down to earth shop floor standard."
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    ASME Y14.5 - "ASME Y14.5 is more comprehensive and less volatile. ISO standards may have some elegant solutions; however, I find them very challenging to implement on a corporate and extended enterprise (include supply base) basis."
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    ASME Y14.5 -  "ASME Y14.5 standards are not as complicated as ISO GPS standards over the times about drawings having to refer to multiple versions of standards which are updated and the drawings are assumed to have new interpretations."
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    ASME Y14.5 - "Y14.5 is based on the function of the part. Y14.5 is a complete package, not an unsynchronized collection of many standards like ISO. Y14.5 is less ambiguous than ISO."

A few additional interesting comments from individual International survey participants are below.

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    ISO GPS -"ASME standards are not well spread in European & Africans areas. - Concepts and principles are not at all the same between ASME and ISO.  A Dual life is not realistic. - Theoretically and legally speaking, ASME Y14.5 is a regional standard, not an international one! - "Invocation principle (cf. ISO 8015) gives priority to ISO standards, by default."
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    ASME Y14.5 - Y14.5 is a user-friendly, one book/ISO is a matrix of standards, Y14.5 is revised approx. once per 10 years/ISO standards more frequently. There are enough GD&T books and reference material explaining Y14.5 on the market."
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    ASME Y14.5 - "our company is more than 40 years old. At the beginning, we used ISO standards since 2001. We are using ASME Y14 but we have some old drawings with ISO standard, we realize that is is better to use just one standard and we chose ASME as our standard


Based on the survey responses, I feel that the survey suggests three things:

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    The ASME Y14.5 standard is used in the US and Internationally and is the preferred standard by most of the survey participants.
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    The ASME Y14.5 standard is easier to learn and easier to use than the ISO GPS standards. The ease of use of the ASME Y14.5 standard coincides with my experience in working with standards in industry.
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    The multiple standard approach of the ISO GPS standards seems to be problematic for industry. However, the completeness of the ISO GPS standards may provide a technical advantage over the ASME Y14.5 standard.

I hope you found the survey results informative. If you liked the article, please share it with your friends on Linkedin. Feel free to leave a comment about your experiences with these standards or on any aspect of this article.

For all of my colleagues in the ASME and ISO standards committees, I am just the messenger of the survey responses.

Thanks again to all the survey participants.

About the author 

Alex Krulikowski

​Author of 22 books on GD&T, teacher, mentor, instructional designer, ASME and ISO standards member, product designer, dimensional engineering manager, speaker, and successful entrepreneur.

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