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Letter

ISTM

Be bold. Rename ASTM to ISTM—International Society for Testing and Materials. Recall ASTM’s 1898 international affiliation [with the International Association for Testing Materials].

Customers of ASTM standards can accept this easily. Even the famed ASTM logo needs only a slight slimming on its left. The volunteer leaders of the 130 technical committees can be polled by the Board for their opinions.

New Chairman of the Board Harvey Hack’s insightful interview in the January SN and its page 23 segment on ISO make him an ideal volunteer to surmount the natural caution of staffers in ASTM, ANSI, and ISO. Volunteers feel more freedom; ask them.

From 1965 my work with ISO TC35 on Paints finds they need Committee D01 on [Paint and Related Coatings, Materials, and Applications] far more than D01 needs them. Resolution of the ASTM/ISO balance should come from global and national industries, not from ISO-Geneva or BSI, DIN, NNI staffs who are naturally self-serving. D01’s nearly 700 standards from 31 technical subcommittees vs. TC35’s nearly 200 standards from six subcommittees illustrate the imbalance. In Harvey Hack’s marine field, Subcommittee D01.45 on Marine Coatings has seven standards supported by the half dozen global producers of marine coatings, with no need to force feed them into ISO TC35. Likewise for D01.48 on Pipe Coatings, D01.56 on Printing Inks, and D01.57 on Artists’ Materials, etc.
Reiterating my March 1998 letter to SN, in light of Harvey Hack’s insight on TAG imbalances, ASTM and ISO should:

- Harmonize the details of form and style of the two sets of standards;
- Require that each ISO and ASTM standard list the other’s relevant standard, with degrees of equivalence or concordance;
- Compare quantitatively, through market research, the global and regional sales of ISO and ASTM standards in each ASTM TAG, e.g., paint in D01.09, in Harvey Hack’s G01.95 et al; and
- Compare ASTM and ISO finances, both overall and in the shrinking committee operations now suffering from corporate globalizations and downsizings. Canvas industries on how best to support international standards via ASTM and ISO.

John C. Weaver
Honorary Chairman, ASTM Committee D01 on Paint and Related Coatings, Materials, and Applications

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