As An OEM – Can I Choose Which Standards?


This is a frequent question where an OEM is approaching a new design or new machine. And, often this is the case when it’s a start-up OEM.

So, what’s the answer?

Several years back for me I would usually start my reply with “Well, it depends!” Those OEM meetings were usually pretty short. Today, I’ve learned to conduct some analysis of what the OEM is trying to accomplish, what their competitive landscape looks like, and if they’re trying to differentiate their new machine from other’s on the market. So, in my experience, OEM’s have chosen various electrical standards upon which to base their design and they’ve proceeded to build a competitive advantage for their application. On the other hand, I know plenty of OEM’s over the years that have maintained their design around certain electrical standards but have elected to differentiate their design on a proprietary mechanical design. Which approach is better? Or, does it even matter?

In my opinion, the answer to the first question is, yes - you can choose which standards to use in the U.S., today. And, the advice to the OEM is to be ready to support your decision and basis for design when called on! Regarding whether an electrical basis or a mechanical basis is best, that decision really rests on the individual OEM Company involved. My advice, when asked, usually points to the electrical standards because most of the innovative changes over the last ten years have surfaced with these standards. These innovative changes also allow the application of innovative controls with safety functions built into the components. This innovation can frequently deliver savings in engineering and material costs and, via built-in diagnostics, actually reduce the machine check-out time. In addition, all of these factors can actually reduce the time to market for a new machine. In my experience, this same level of innovation has not occurred on the mechanical side.

Here’s the bottom line in considering different standards for the basis of designs and machines. I suggest that you always take the time to determine the “listed” machine types printed within each standard (electrical or mechanical) to make certain that your design/application is covered by that standard.   

 Submit your ideas, experiences, and challenges on this subject in the comments section below.

Related articles:

How To Integrate Safety

Designing In Machine Guarding    

Contact: for “Solutions for Machine Safety”.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.