From 2 through 15 November 2009, ASTM International hosted a delegation of eight technical experts from the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology (CIPET) headquartered in Chennai, India with 14 campuses throughout India. During this Technical Training Program, the first of its kind to be offered, the delegation focused on Committee D20 on Plastics and its standards. Prior to arrival the experts participated in a virtual orientation training session to learn about ASTM's electronic tools and the structure and work of Committee D20. Upon arrival the delegates launched into a concentrated training program about the U.S. standardization system, proficiency testing and training programs related to D20's work and related publications. The delegates also came prepared with a list of Indian standards that reference ASTM International D20 standards and suggestions for revisions to existing standards as well as new work item proposals.
Training also included visits to Washington, DC where the delegates met Holly Vineyard, the Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration's Deputy Assistance Secretary for Africa, the Middle East and South Asia and visited the Office of International and Academic Affairs at the National Institute of Standards and Technology as well as the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum within the Embassy of India. Throughout the two-week program, field trips provided practical information on the application of ASTM standards for trade and new technology and the benefits of participating in ASTM. Site visits took place at the DuPont Experimental Station, Tinius-Olsen and Arkema, Inc.
The highlight of the trip was the delegations' attendance at the November Committee Week meetings of Committee D20 in Atlanta, GA. Attendance at meetings allowed the group to witness the ASTM consensus process in action and afforded the opportunity for presentation of proposals for revisions and new work items as well as a tutorial about CIPET. As Shrikant Yeshwant Shirali, Chief Manager, stated, "Committee D20 meetings at Atlanta, GA was very useful as it put us into the real-time situation...."
Deputy director Sania Akhtar summarized the training program well when she noted that, "The program was very well designed and executed meticulously...the program [was] very effective in establishing a dialogue between the two organizations." Going forward the delegates and members of D20 will lead revisions to two D20 standards, the review of six existing standards, the development of three new standards, evaluate the possibility of participating in the Intralaboratory Study program and assist in development of a proposal for a new activity.
Funding for the program was provided by the Indian government with additional support from ASTM International.