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(analytical chemistry)
A process in which the value of a potential standard is fixed by a measurement made with respect to a standard whose value is known.
(design engineering)
The adoption of generally accepted uniform procedures, dimensions, materials, or parts that directly affect the design of a product or a facility.
The process of establishing by common agreement engineering criteria, terms, principles, practices, materials, items, processes, and equipment parts and components.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the process of establishing and applying standards. Standardization is defined by the International Organization for Standardization as “the process of formulating and applying rules for an orderly approach to a specific activity for the benefit and with the cooperation of all concerned, and in particular for the promotion of optimum overall economy, taking due account of functional conditions and safety requirements.” Standardization can be applied to specific products, as well as to, for example, norms, requirements, methods, terms, and designations commonly used in international trade and in science, engineering, industry, agriculture, construction, transportation, culture, public health, and other spheres of the national economy.

Standardization has a significant influence on the rate of development and level of production. Based on the latest achievements of science, technology, and practical experience, standardization not only determines in large part the level of production attained but also serves as one of the stimuli to progress in science and technology.

Standardization in the USSR. In the USSR, standardization is closely linked to the system of planning and management of the national economy. It is one of the elements of the state policy in the field of technology.

Under a planned socialist economy, standardization plays an active role in the management of the national economy. This role is reflected in the activities of state bodies, enterprises, and organizations concerned with the establishment and application of regulations, norms, and requirements aimed at accelerating scientific and technical progress, raising labor productivity, and improving product quality.

The Soviet government’s first document on standardization was the decree of Sept. 14, 1918, from the Soviet of Peoples’ Commissars of the RSFSR On the Institution of the International Metric System of Weights and Measures. On Sept. 15,1925, the Soviet of Peoples’ Commissars of the USSR adopted a resolution on setting up a committee for standardization under the chairmanship of V. V. Kuibyshev, which was to be placed under the Council of Labor and Defense. On May 7, 1926, this committee adopted the first all-Union standard, OST-1 Wheat: Breeding Strains of Grains: Nomenclature, which assumed the force of law. In the years 1936–40, peoples’ commissariats were also developing and adopting standards; in July 1940 this work was taken over by the All-Union Committee for Standardization under the Soviet of Peoples’ Commissars of the USSR, and in 1948 this committee became part of the State Committee of the Council of Ministers of the USSR on the Introduction of Advanced Technology into the National Economy (Gostekhnika SSSR). In the years 195Í-53, the Administration for Standardization under the Council of Ministers of the USSR was the country’s central organ for standardization, a function taken over in 1953–54 by the Administration for Standardization of the State Planning Committee (Gosplan) of the USSR. In 1954 standardization became the work of the Committee for Standards, Measures, and Measuring Instruments under the Council of Ministers of the USSR, which in 1970 was reorganized as the State Committee for Standards (Gosstandart SSSR) under the Council of Ministers of the USSR. The network of agencies and departments of Gosstandart SSSR includes republic administrations, centers for standardization and metrology, scientific research institutes, and the laboratories of the state inspectorate on standards. As of 1975, there were more than 600 main organizations in the various branches of the economy concerned with standardization, including scientific research institutes in the shipbuilding, aerospace, electrical-engineering, electronics, and radio-engineering industries.

The USSR has a State System of Standardization that coordinates the work being done on standardization at all managerial levels of the national economy. The system’s rules and guidelines set forth the primary objectives and tasks of standardization, the proper organization, planning, and methodology for work on standardization, the procedures for developing, introducing, circulating, and updating normative technical documents, and the procedures to be followed by the state inspectorate and control boards in seeing that the documents are introduced and followed. The system also concerns itself with the condition and use of measuring equipment, the objects of standardization, and the categories and types of standards. It ensures that the rules for structuring, wording, and drawing up standards are uniform. The planning of work on standardization is part of the system of state planning and is coordinated with plans for scientific research, testing and design work, and experimental projects.

Standardization in the USSR has a number of tasks. It establishes the quality and technical requirements for manufactured goods, raw materials, semifinished products, and assembly components; it sets the norms, requirements, and methods that govern the design and production of manufactured goods and that ensure optimal quality and eliminate a needless multiplicity of varieties, brands, and sizes. It also seeks to develop standardized units and assembly procedures for industrial products as a key to specialization of production and full mechanization and automation of production processes and to increase the interchangeabili-ty, efficiency, and repairability of manufactured articles. Standardization ensures uniformity and reliability in measurements throughout the country, and it creates and refines state standards for physical units and highly precise methods and devices for measurements; in addition, it establishes uniform systems of documentation and systems for the classification and codification of technical and economic information. Standardization establishes the terms and designations used in important areas of science and technology and in certain branches of the national economy and provides a system of labor safety standards. It also sets guidelines for environmental protection and for improving the use of natural resources and establishes favorable conditions for foreign trade and cultural, scientific, and technical ties.

Socialist standardization is based on the methods of advanced and integrated standardization. The principle of advanced standardization involves setting norms and requirements that are higher than presently attained levels; the assumption here is that these norms and requirements will, according to forecasts, be optimal in the ensuing period. Depending on the actual conditions, indexes, norms, and characteristics are established in the prospective (graduated) standards in the form of steps in quality with differentiated introduction dates. The principle of integrated standardization involves matching the indexes of the interrelated components of the standardized object and coordinating the times for the introduction of the standards. Integration of standardization is ensured by developing programs of standardization that include articles, subassemblies, parts, semifinished items, raw and processed materials, technical devices, and methods for organizing and preparing for production. Integrated standardization, encompassing all aspects of the manufacture and use of products, permits coordination in production between different branches of the economy and provides for complete and optimal satisfaction of the requirements of organizations and enterprises concerned.

As of early 1975, there were more than 20,000 state standards in effect in the USSR, as compared with approximately 6,000 in 1940, covering the most important types of industrial and agricultural products. In addition, there were more than 6,000 republican standards, 15,000 standards with application in a particular branch of industry, and 100,000 technical specifications recorded at Gosstandart SSSR. Interindustrial systems of standards of national importance include the Uniform System of Design Documentation, the Uniform System of Technological Preparation for Production, and the Uniform System for the Classification and Codification of Technical and Economic Information. In order to ensure a steady increase in the quality of products manufactured in the USSR, procedures have been introduced whereby items are given quality ratings of highest, first, or second, and the State Mark of Quality is placed on goods of high quality. Gosstandart SSSR develops and adopts the scientific and technical documentation on procedures for evaluating the quality level of products and sees that the conditions for certification are met.

Standardization within the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON). Standardization within COMECON is coordinated with the objectives of the Comprehensive Program for Further Extension and Improvement of Cooperation and the Development of Socialist Economic Integration of the CMEA Member Countries. Work in standardization is done by the Standing Commission on Standardization, specialized standing commissions, the COMECON Institute of Standardization, and the standardization department of the COMECON secretariat. The work, which seeks to create systems within COMECON of normative technical documents, has resulted in a system of normative technical documentation on standardization, an automated information and control system for standardization and metrology, a uniform system of planning and design documentation, and a uniform system of tolerances and fittings. Another goal of standardization is the creation of integrated standards for the products traded among COMECON countries. The norms and requirements of COMECON standards conform to international standards. As of Jan. 1, 1975, 4,900 COMECON recommendations on standardization and 120 COMECON standards had been adopted. The 28th session of COMECON (June 21, 1974) ratified the Statute on the COMECON Standard and approved a convention on the direct (immediate) application of COMECON standards, which in turn was ratified by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR by a decree dated Sept. 17,1974. The development and application of COMECON standards has had a decisive influence on the process of socialist economic integration and on the international socialist division of labor, the level and quality of production, and the competitive position of socialist products in world markets; standards have also had a pronounced economic effect. The use of COMECON standards within each of the member states has brought about a harmonization of the national systems of standardization.

Standardization in capitalist countries. National organizations carry out the work in standardization in capitalist countries. In most industrially developed countries, the organizations are nongovernmental and include associations, societies, and institutes whose members are firms, companies, corporations, and private individuals. In many cases, the organizations receive financial support from the government. In Japan, Italy, Mexico, and certain other countries, there are governmental organizations concerned with standardization.

The overwhelming majority of national standards do not have the force of law; exceptions include the standards pertaining to safety equipment and the equipment used in public health and environmental protection. Firms and companies also develop and use trade standards, which take into account demand and competition in domestic and foreign markets. International standards are coming into wider use.

International standardization. Standardization here is linked to the development of multilateral scientific, technical, and economic cooperation. The 1970’s have witnessed an intensive development of work in international standardization. In addition to national organizations, there are more than 300 international and regional organizations (1975) working on questions of standardization, metrology, and product quality. Major international organizations for standardization include the UN Economic Commission for Europe, the International Organization for Standardization, and the International Electrotechnical Commission.

The international standards and recommendations developed by these organizations establish indexes corresponding to current scientific technical requirements regarding the quality, reliability, safety, and other crucial features and characteristics of products exchanged in international trade. The standards and recommendations also stipulate the methods and devices to be used in testing and certifying materials and goods. The application of international standards promotes broader scientific, technical, economic, and trade ties. International standards are extensively used in developing national standards, which permits a significant reduction in the time and cost of establishing standards and has a pronounced economic effect.


Krzhizhanovskii, G. M., V. V. Kuibyshev, and P. S. Osadchii.
Perspektivy standartizatsii i rekonstruktsiia narodnogo khoziaistva SSSR. Moscow, 1929.
Boitsov, V. V. Standart i kachestvo. Moscow, 1966.
Standartizatsiia v narodnom khoziaistve SSSR, 1917–1967. Moscow, 1967.
Standartizatsiia i sotsialisticheskaia ekonomicheskaia integratsiia. Moscow, 1974.
GOST 1.9–67.
GOST 1.11–75.
GOST 1.13–75.
Standartizatsiia v SSSR, 1925–1975. Moscow, 1975.




in technology, the reduction to a rational minimum of the number of standard sizes, makes, shapes, and properties characterizing manufactured articles and the means for the articles’ production. The basic purpose of standardization is to eliminate diversity among articles that serve the same purpose and to attain a high degree of uniformity in the manufacture, assembly, and testing of articles. Standardization is an important trend in modern technology, encompassing aspects of the design, production, and operation of machines, mechanisms, apparatus, and devices. With the scientific and technological revolution, the principles of standardization are applied not only to industry but also to other areas of human endeavor.

Standardization is most common in machine building and instrument-making, where it is applied to articles of the same type and of different types. Examples of articles of the same type include screw-cutting lathes whose tapered centers are at various heights and lathes that have tapered centers at the same height but that differ with regard to operating features, number of carriages, and ability to perform threading and facing operations. Standardization can also be applied to such diverse articles as planomillers, planers, and piano-type grinders. The principle of continuity is at work in standarization; that is, to the maximum extent possible, a new article will include parts and subassemblies that have already proved themselves in use. Designers will make the characteristics and properties (especially the basic mounting dimensions) of the new article compatible with those of similar articles, thus ensuring interchangeability and adaptability.

Standardization of articles is preceded by the articles’ typification, that is, the development and adoption of standardized designs that apply to series of articles and that accommodate themselves to the latest advances in science and technology. The standardization of production processes is preceded by the development of technology for the manufacture of similar parts or for the assembly either of similar components or of finished articles of a particular type. Simplification, a variety of standardization, consists in reducing the number of types or kinds of articles to a quantity that is sufficient to satisfy requirements at a particular time. In contrast to standardization, simplification does not concern itself with technological improvements.

A standardized series includes articles (and their subassemblies and parts) that are derived from the same basic design but that may or may not have the same intended use. On the basis of common principles of design, standardization makes it possible to apply the principle of unitizing, to use a single process in producing articles having different modifications, and, using identical components and subassemblies, to produce equipment that is identical with regard to use but that has different dimensions. Standardization and unitizing are widely used in assembly lines and machine tools, in construction, road-building, and agricultural machinery, in chemical production facilities, and in other technological equipment. These principles also underlie the design of integrated unified systems for industrial automation.

When applied to the assortment and brands of various kinds of products and semifinished goods, standardization makes it possible to reduce the variety to a rational number, to shorten the time needed for resetting equipment, and to increase the number of units in a production run. When applied to production processes, manufacturing practices, and methods of production, control, and testing, it leads to a significant reduction in the number of types of equipment, tools, instruments, and fixtures.

In the USSR, standardization in industry may be applied at the level of the plant, economic sector, or group of sectors. With the first type, it covers only the articles produced by a single enterprise, for example, the heavy dump trucks manufactured by the Byelorussian Automobile Factory. Sectoral standardization covers articles manufactured by several or by all the plants within a given economic sector. Examples here include the tractors produced by the Kharkov and Volgograd works and the television sets manufactured by many plants. Intersectorial standardization applies to articles that are produced and used in several sectors of the national economy, for example, the reduction gears, variable-speed drives, and lubricating devices used in machine building. As a result of intersectorial standardization, it became possible to replace the approximately 100 models of tower cranes with eight models having standardized units and superior operating characteristics.

When applied comprehensively to machines, equipment, and instruments, standardization makes it possible to reduce substantially the volume of design work and the length of the design period, to shorten the time necessary for creating new equipment, to lower the costs incurred in introducing new products, and to raise the degree of mechanization and automation in production processes. These benefits derive from larger production runs, lower labor inputs, and increased specialization. Standardization also improves the quality, reliability, and durability of products owing to the attention given to the technological effectiveness of design and to the technology of production. Standardization reduces the required assortment of spare parts, simplifies the maintenance of production equipment, and lowers maintenance costs; it also improves technological and economic indicators both at enterprises that produce the goods and at enterprises or organizations that consume them. In many cases, standardization culminates in the issuance of plant, sectoral, intersectorial or all-Union design standards.

The principles of standardization extend to many areas of industry, education, and science. Thus, from the 1950’s through 1970’s, standardization has played an important role in the construction industry, where standardized parts and designs proved necessary for large-scale industrial and housing construction. In the area of documentation, standardization has made it possible to ensure uniformity in the content and form of documents to reduce to a minimum the volume of documentation and the number of types of documents, and to accelerate the completion and reproduction of documents with the aid of business machines. In the USSR, standardization of documents is guaranteed by unified systems of technical documentation, including the Uniform System of Design Documentation, the Uniform System of Technological Documentation, and the Uniform State System of Office Procedures. Standardization methods are also reflected in the Uniform System for Certification of the Quality of Industrial Products.

Standardization principles can be effectively applied on the international level, where they act to promote specialization and cooperation. Among the member states of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, for example, standardization measures covering computers have been adopted, and a standardized series of computers built with integrated circuits have been introduced. Measures dealing with railroad tracks, communication lines, and electrical equipment are also standardized internationally.


Standartizatsiia v narodnom khoziaistve SSSR, 1917–1967. Edited by V. V. Boitsov. Moscow, 1967.
Kubarev, A. I. Unifikatsiia v mashinostroenii: Obosnovanie riadov tiporazmerov. Moscow, 1969.
Metodika i praktika standartizatsii, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1971.
Vzaimozameniaemost’ i tekhnicheskie izmereniia v mashinostroenii. Moscow, 1972.
Iakushev, A. I. Vzaimozameniaemost’, standartizatsiia i tekhnicheskie izmereniia, 4th ed. Moscow, 1975.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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