The difference between ANSI and IEC will be the focal point of this article. What will be discussed are the general differences between the two.

But before anything else, it is first important to know if IEC and ANSI merit a comparison. For that, we must first establish it similarities if there are indeed one.

ANSI stands for American National Standard Institute. It serves as administrator and coordinator of the United States private sector voluntary standardization system for more than 90 years.

It was founded in 1918 by five engineering societies and three government agencies, the Institute remains a private, nonprofit membership organization supported by a diverse constituency of private and public sector organizations.

Its primary goal the enhancement of global competitiveness of U.S. business and the American quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems and promoting their integrity.

IEC on the other hand stands for The International Electrotechnical Commission. It is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization, founded in 1906. Just like the ANSI, its members are National Committees, and they appoint experts and delegates coming from industry, government bodies, associations and academia to participate in the technical and conformity assessment work of the IEC.

ANSI facilitates the development of American National Standards (ANS) by accrediting the procedures of standards developing organizations (SDOs). Accreditation by ANSI signifies that the procedures used by the standards body and has met the Institute’s essential requirements.

IEC publishes consensus-based International Standards and manages conformity assessment systems for electric and electronic products, systems and services.

Both organizations are involved in conformity assessment, also known as compliance assessment. The ISO/IEC Guide 2:1996 definition of conformity assessment is “any activity concerned with determining directly or indirectly that relevant requirements are fulfilled.”  In more tangible terms, conformity assessment refers to a variety of processes whereby goods and/or services are determined to meet voluntary or mandatory standards or specifications.

The most glaring difference between the two would be, is that IEC caters to the standards of the world, while ANSI process serves all standardization efforts in the United States by providing and promoting a process that withstands scrutiny, while protecting the rights and interests of every participant.

ANSI caters all categories for standardization in the US. IEC specifically caters to electrical system design or electrical equipment quality requirement in the world.

ANSI though is a member of IEC, in fact the Unites States is one of its founding members. The US through ANSI could influence IEC. But in general, whatever IEC publishes, it is the world standards. Curiously, IEC is oftentimes mistaken as European Standards. But that belongs to CENELEC.

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