A brief introduction to standards

What is a standard?

A standard is a document that specifies requirements for products, services and/or processes, laying down their required characteristics. This helps ensure the free movement of goods and encourages exports. Standardization promotes efficiency and quality assurance in industry, technology, science and the public sector. It serves to safeguard people and goods and to improve quality in all areas of life. Standards are developed in a consensus-based process organized by a recognized standards body.

How is a standard developed?

Standards are developed by those who have a need and an interest in using them. The broad participation of all stakeholders, a transparent development process and the consensus principle ensure the wide acceptance of DIN Standards. Anybody can submit a proposal for a new standard. All those interested in a specific standards topic can participate and contribute their expertise. Before a standard is officially adopted, a draft version is published so that the public can make comments. Experts working on a standard must come to agreement on its content. To ensure they reflect the state of the art, standards are regularly reviewed by experts at least every five years.

What is a DIN SPEC?

A DIN Specification, or DIN SPEC, is also a document that specifies requirements for products, services and/or processes. However, in contrast to standards, DIN SPECs do not require full consensus and the involvement of all stakeholders. They are drawn up in temporary bodies called workshops. DIN SPECs are a trusted strategic instrument for quickly and easily establishing and disseminating innovative solutions on the market.

How is a DIN SPEC is drawn up?

The economic success of a good idea depends on how long it takes to reach the market. A DIN SPEC is the fastest way for turning research into a marketable product. Drawn up in small working groups, or "workshops", DIN SPECs can be published within only a few months. These workshops are excellent for exchanging ideas with other market participants. DIN's job is to ensure that a DIN SPEC does not conflict with any existing standards or rules of procedure. With its international contacts, Beuth Verlag sees that DIN SPECs are published and sold to a wide circle of customers. Thanks to the worldwide respect for the DIN "brand", DIN SPECs are effective marketing instruments that are widely accepted by customer and potential partners alike. And any DIN SPEC can be used as a basis for developing a full standard.

Who is DIN?

DIN, the German Institute for Standardization, is the independent platform for standardization in Germany and worldwide. As a partner for industry, research and society as a whole, DIN plays a major role to supporting the marketability of innovative solutions through standardization - be it in topics around the digitization of business and society or in the context of research projects. More than 34,500 experts from industry, research, consumer protection and the public sector bring their expertise to work on standardization projects managed by DIN. The results of these efforts are market-oriented standards and specifications that promote global trade, encouraging rationalization, quality assurance and environmental protection as well as improving security and communication. DIN was founded in 1917 and celebrated its 100 year anniversary in 2017.

What does DIN do?

External specialists use their expertise to develop the content of standards, with DIN's project managers ensuring the entire process runs smoothly. DIN staff members coordinate national, European and international projects, making sure all internal rules of procedure are followed. This increases the global acceptance of DIN Standards.

Is the use of standards mandatory?

No. Anyone can use DIN Standards, and their use is voluntary. They only become mandatory if they are referred to in contracts, laws or regulations. Although the use of standards does not absolve one of liability, as generally accepted rules of technology they do make it easier to demonstrate that one has followed best practices.

Income structure of DIN e.V. 2018

  • Own income: 60,6 percent
  • Project fund from industry: 20,3 percent
  • Membership fees: 9,8 percent
  • Project funds from the state: 9,3 percent