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ETImail is an online publication devoted to geometric dimensioning & tolerancing featuring a host of GD&T resources and links, as well as dimensioning tips by noted GD&T author and ETI founder, Alex Krulikowski.
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Alex Krulikowski
Founder, ETI


Known as the "Doctor of Dimensioning," Alex Krulikowski is a noted educator, author, and expert on Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T). He has more than 30 years of industrial experience putting GD&T to practical use on the shop floor. 

Alex has taught GD&T to thousands of professionals through his workshops and seminars, and to countless others through his books, self-study courses, videos, and computer-based training programs.

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ETI offers convenient public workshops on a variety of GD&T-related topics.

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ETI Resources


How Well do You Know GD&T?
Do you know the geometric symbols, each symbol’s requirements, tolerance zones, and limitations?

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GD&T Fundamentals (ASME Y14.5M-1994)

GD&T Fundamentals (ASME Y14.5-2009)

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The Stacks Skills Survey measures how well an individual can use tolerance stacks to determine part distances or assembly conditions, like clearances, or part travel.

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Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design.

–Charles Eames

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ETI Staff

Content Development Manager/ETI Founder
Alex Krulikowski

Corporate Learning Associates
Dennis Moore
Branny Mrljak
Leah Schroeder

Technical Illustrator/ Graphic Designer
Matthew Pride

Learning Technology Manager
Brandon Billings

Instructional Designer Specialist
Elizabeth Burkett

Writer-Editor Associate
Katherine Palmer

Multimedia Authoring-Programmer Specialist
Mark Ramsey

Education Program Coordinator
Lindsay Reinsch

Dimensional Engineer Mentor Specialists
Roy Cross
Dan Meyers

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Steven Valdez

Operations Associate
Heather Seebold

Visit our blog

ETI’s blog is dedicated to GD&T and contains tolerancing insights from Alex, training tips, product announcements, and more.

Click to read the ETI blog.



What are the Major Benefits of Adopting the ASME 2009 Y14.5 Standard?

Alex Krulikowski

The changes between the 1994 and 2009 versions of the standard are many and have a major impact on drawing interpretation. This is part two of a three-part article.


While teaching at various companies, we hear some common questions about the Y14.5 standard, including:

  • “Why should we adopt the 2009 ASME Y14.5 standard? “
  • “Why can’t we just keep using the 1994 version of the Y14.5 standard?”
  • “Are other companies using the 2009 standard?
  • “What benefits will we get from using the 2009 standard?”

Being one of the first companies to make the major change to a new standard can be risky and involves costs for training and other resources. Because many organizations are trying to determine if there is a good business case for making the change to the 2009 standard, I compiled a list explaining eight reasons why now is a good time to make the change.

Here are eight major benefits of adopting the ASME 2009 Y14.5 standard:

Benefit1 - Accurate drawing intepretation
Add clarity when interpreting engineering drawings. The 1994 version of the standard contains several vague areas and undefined terms that affect drawing interpretation. The 2009 standard contains additional definitions, makes changes to fundamental rules, and includes new concepts and symbols that help to reduce controversy in drawing interpretation. This lowers the number of implied requirements and enables a quicker, more accurate, interpretation of a drawing.

Benefit 2 - Costly errors prevented
Provide correct application of new symbols and rules when interpreting customers’ drawings. Some changes in the standard are subtle but have a significant impact on drawing interpretation. This may cause a high risk of confusion and errors if your customers provide drawings made to the 2009 standard before your employees are prepared to handle them. Several symbols look the same in the 2009 standard as they did in the 1994, but they are now applied differently. Many changes in definitions affect how the rules apply on the drawing. Without understanding these differences, a person could easily misinterpret an engineering drawing made to the 2009 standard.

Benefit 3 - Fewer problems when outsourcing
Create drawings that are easier to interpret consistently. Using symbols in place of words helps to communicate globally. Drawings made to the 2009 standard are less reliant on words. The 2009 standard contains 16 new dimensioning symbols that can be used to replace notes. The new symbols communicate functional relationships and inspection requirements to a level not possible with the 1994 standard.

Benefit 4 - Solid model product definition supported
Take advantage of the improved support for CAD models in the 2009 standard. Without standards to support your use of CAD models in product definition, there is a greater risk of misinterpretation. If your company is using solid models or a model + drawing to convey product information, it should be using the 2009 standard. The 2009 Y14.5 standard references the Y14.41 standard on digital data sets in several places. It also contains tools, definitions, rules, and examples that support the use of solid models to convey product definition. The 1994 Y14.5 standard does not support the use of solid models.

Benefit 5 - A more productive workforce
Refocus your workforce on drawings and GD&T. The training involved in the implementation of the 2009 standard will increase your employees’ GD&T skills in general, which will result in better creation and interpretation of drawings. Using the 2009 standard also improves the engineer’s ability to define parts functionally.

In some companies, there is a misconception that the employees fully understand the 1994 Y14.5 standard. However, over the past 15 years, some technical professionals have become overly comfortable with their own understanding of Y14.5. In some cases, it is a poor understanding. If employees do understand the 1994 version of the standard, then bringing them up to speed is relatively simple. If they don’t, then upgrading to the 2009 standard provides an excellent opportunity to correct technical deficiencies and bring everyone to a better level of understanding.

Benefit 6 - A more skilled workforce prepared for new business
Prepare your organization to work with customers' new designs. Unless you are part of a major corporation with full design control, you will have to use the 2009 standard when your customers send drawings made to that standard. Major corporations like General Motors; Ford Motor Company; U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force; Boeing; and GE Aviation have started using the new standard, and it is only a matter of time before hundreds of smaller and mid-sized businesses will be required to use it. If your workforce is not prepared, many drawing interpretation mistakes will be made until your employees are skilled in the new standard.

Benefit 7 - Becoming a leader in your industry
Create better product documentation — which makes for better products. The new and refined tools available to product designers allow for a better description of functional requirements. The functional depiction of technical requirements keeps everyone’s eyes focused on the attributes that affect customer satisfaction. Whether your products are directed to consumers or your components will be assembled into your customers’ products, customer satisfaction matters more than ever. Industry leaders have often earned their leadership positions through a dedicated effort to improve customer satisfaction. Many industry leading companies, large and small, have already adopted Y14.5-2009. Don’t spend the next 10 years trying to play catch-up.

Benefit 8 - Avoiding the larger risks caused by waiting
Conform to the latest standards and avoid missed opportunities. Most industries have joint engineering ventures that require collaboration. If your technical staff is unaware of current industry practices and the latest standards, your company could lose the chance to participate in one of these joint business opportunities.

Another benefit to conforming to the new standards is attracting potential clients. In these challenging times, many businesses have a strategy to diversify their products. Trying to break into a new segment of industry without being current on engineering and design standards may be an obstacle with potential customers.

Waiting to adopt Y14.5 2009 years after its release can be a risk to the success of your business. The delay in implementation means that your engineers do not have the best tools available to communicate functional requirements of your products.

A brief overview of the eight benefits of changing to the 2009 standard is shown in the chart below.

asme y14.5 comparison

Click for a larger view or download a printable 8.5x14 PDF

The benefits pay for the cost of implementation
Accurate interpretation of drawings, fewer drawing errors, the ability to communication globally, designing with solid models, a more productive workforce, and being prepared for new business are all powerful tools that can save your company money. The benefits from any one of these tools could pay for the cost of implementing the standard.

Four years ago, I wrote a white paper that supported the position to wait before implementing the 2009 standard. Today, I see enough momentum in the adoption of the 2009 standard that I feel the time is here.

Are there any disadvantages to adopting the 2009 Y14.5 standard?
The one disadvantage that I find frequently is that some CAD software packages do not support the new GD&T symbols. However, there is a work around for this problem. Despite not having the new symbols in the CAD software, your organization can implement most of the 2009 standard by using notes or constructing your own symbol library. Don’t miss out on the benefits of the 2009 standard because your CAD software is lagging. Many companies have implemented the 2009 standard with the CAD software as-is.

By the way, a request to your CAD software company would help. The more customer requests to implement the 2009 symbols the CAD companies receive, the higher priority the implementation of the new symbols will be given.

Closing thoughts
Adopting the 2009 Y14.5 standard does not have to be a major work disruption or a budget buster. When performed with a well-planned execution in a timely manner, the investment in implementation can start to pay off in just a few months. In addition, not making the investment could have serious financial implications for your organization. In the next issue of ETI mail, I will share some insights about how to implement the 2009 Y14.5 standard.

We welcome your feedback. Send comments about this article to ETImail.

This article may be reprinted free for use by your organization if our Reprint Policy is followed.

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Compare the features of ASME Y14.5M-1994 and ASME Y14.5-2009 quickly and easily with the New Features Comparison Chart Set. This set of two, 2-sided charts illustrates the itemized changes in the standard for quick, on-the-job drawing interpretation. An ideal tool for the working designer, engineer or design manager, this pair of fully illustrated, 11" x 17" charts fits in a 3-ring binder. 

  • Provides itemized changes in the standard for quick, on-the-job drawing interpretation
  • Compares features of ASME Y14.5M-1994 and ASME Y14.5-2009
  • Includes references to the ASME Y14.5-2009 Standard so you can quickly find additional information
  • Makes an excellent teaching aid or on-the-job reference

Order NOW and use coupon code "2009chart" to receive one free chart for every chart you order per transaction. Limit one coupon code per person.

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