The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) is a professional organization which promotes advances in engineering, along with professional development, education, and engineering safety. Over 120,000 people worldwide belong to this organization, which keeps members updated with publications, conferences, and other materials. Many consumers are familiar with the ASME, albeit indirectly, because the organization has created hundreds of codes and standards which are meant to increase the safety of everything from boilers to boats.
A group of men founded the ASME in 1880, recognizing that mechanical engineering was playing a major role in human lives, and that this role was often deadly. In the United States alone, there were hundreds of boiler explosions every year which the men realized could be preventable, if standardized codes were used for manufacture and safety procedures. The men also wanted to promote “the art, science, and practice of mechanical and multidisciplinary engineering.” The ASME prides itself on being a diverse, innovative organization which contributes an immense amount to the field of engineering.
The ASME standards are perhaps the most well known aspect of the organization. Over 600 standards are published by the ASME, and many of these standards have been adopted as legal codes in nations all over the world. The ASME also has a product safety and testing division, and extensive research labs to explore new developments in mechanical engineering. The organization's private press produces numerous volumes and texts on mechanical engineering, and a few can be found on the bookshelf of most mechanical engineers.
In addition to creating standards, the ASME also holds numerous conferences and events every year to give engineers a chance to share information with each other and discuss developments in their professional field. Professional development courses are also offered by the ASME, along with outreach to youth and college students who might be interested in mechanical engineering as a career. Expositions of professional equipment and developments in the field are also hosted by the ASME all over the world.
The organization's vision is to become “the premier organization” for mechanical engineering all over the world, and it has certainly made strides towards this goal. ASME guidelines are highly respected by engineers all over the world, as are people who are active in the organization. Millions of people since 1880 have also benefited from the ASME's efforts to improve engineering safety and to make engineering more efficient and effective.