|ASTM International Forges New Guide for Comparing Steel Standards
Handbook and CD-ROM Simplify Searches for Material Equivalency
This month, ASTM International publishes The Handbook of Comparative World Steel Standards: Second Edition
(DS67A). Completely updated and revised, the Handbook groups comparable
steels based on their chemical composition and mechanical properties
according to a detailed set of rules outlined in the first chapter.
Read on to discover why the revised Handbook will be an invaluable
aid for businesses worldwide that need to manufacture in accordance
with the complex world of steel specifications.
Hunting for comparative world steel standards is no bed of roses.
It requires a wide array of specifications and a truckload of
expertise. In a global market, requests for steel produced to
the specifications of other countries has increased. Deciding
which steel to use requires careful consideration of multiple
factors, but the hunt begins with a search of steel specifications.
ASTM eases this process with a new book and searchable disk, DS67A,
Handbook of Comparative World Steel Standards, now in its second
edition. This volume is a new tool for businesses worldwide, including
steel importers and exporters, and manufacturers of machinery,
tools, parts, tubing and transportation materials (such as: oil
refinery, petrochemical, pulp and paper, power plants, oil/gas
pipelines, construction, steel bridges, and plant engineering).
Sixteen Tons of Steel and What Do You Get? A Handbook Thats Golden
Dean C. Krouse, a Bethlehem, Pa., metallurgical consultant, describes
how a domestic steel producer might use the Handbook: Producers
frequently get inquiries for materials that meet foreign standards,
says Krouse, the vice chairman of ASTM Committee A01 on Steel, Stainless Steel, and Related Alloys. They get a request
to quote on so many tons of some particular steel product and
the reference is a foreign specification. The ASTM steel Handbook
is one reference they can use to attempt to match what the customer
wants, or attempt to find out what ASTM specification is closest
to the required foreign standard.
The Handbook of Comparative World Steel Standards, Second Edition,
and the accompanying disk guide the user in this selection of
standards. Editor John Bringas, P. Eng., president of CASTI Publishing
Inc., completely rewrote and reformatted the first edition and
included an easy-to-search disk for PC. Users simply type a search
term on the disks search bar, using Adobe Acrobat with search,
and view the specifications comparable steels and their chemical
and mechanical data. An introductory chapter bolsters this data
by offering rules for comparison and points on product form and
Bringas spent over two years reformatting the Handbook and developing
his rules for comparison which guide the selection of steel
standards. Theres over 175,000 pieces of data and three indexes,
says Bringas, who compiled the data with metallurgical engineers
and information specialists from CASTI Publishing, Inc., a codes
and standards publishing and training corporation in Edmonton,
Bringas wrote four metals data books before compiling the new
edition of DS67A. Bringas updated data in the Handbook is supported
by his 26 years of expertise as a metallurgical and materials
The revised Handbook helps users make educated decisions. Among
dozens of scenarios, he notes that standards might share the same
grades of steel. For example, he writes in the Handbooks first
chapter, ASTM A 485 and EN ISO 683-17 share seven identical bearing
steel grade chemical compositions, yet the body of each standard
is different (that is, grain size, hardenability, microstructure
and hardness, inspection, testing, etc.). As a result, these seven
bearing steels within these two standards are not equivalent,
but are comparable.
Increased Demand for Products Made to Specs from Around the World
Whether in America or Timbuktu, the demand to meet foreign specifications
is up, according to the steel experts.
As American and foreign companies merge, foreign technology is
introduced and foreign specifications need to be either followed
or substituted with the equivalent or best American match of materials,
says Jerry Schick from his office at Bethlehem Steel Plate mills
in Coatesville and Conshohocken, Pa. A specification metallurgist,
he prepares approximately five to 10 quotes per week to foreign
Some foreign clients want exported steel made according to their
specifications, he says. The European standards and the ASTM
standards are not identical. So there isnt always 100 percent
substitution. You may have to do some modification to present
ASTM to make it fit the European standards.
The new Handbook identifies the latest designation changes for
the Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN), British Standards Institution
(BSI), Association Francaise de Normalisation (AFNOR), and their
new European Committee for Standardization (CEN) designations.
It lists the designations systems of ASTM, the Society of Automotive
Engineers (SAE), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), American
Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), the International Organization
for Standardization (ISO), and Unified Numbering System (UNS)
Schick said an expanding market brings new challenges. First
of all, we are exporting steel, and always have. As time goes
forth, the countries that we export to really want to see it in
their own standards as opposed to the American standards.
The second thing that happens is that we sell a lot of steel
to companies who will fabricate in the states and then export
the product overseas, he adds. So they would want to have that
fabricated again using their national standards.
The third thing we see is the fact that a lot of companies in
the United States are being bought or merged with foreign companies
and the foreign companies will try to export their technology
to the United States and that includes their standards.
The Handbook Eases the Quoting of Contracts with Other Nations
ASTMs new Handbook and searchable disk speeds the process of
comparing steel standards, a growing necessity as worldwide bidding
increases. Fabricators and laboratory managers can benefit from
the Handbook, as they make steel to other countries specifications,
or meet requirements of steel-mill certification.
Kenneth E. Orie, senior metallurgical engineer with Bethlehem
Lukens Plate, Coatesville, Pa., says a variety of tools are used
to decide what foreign grades are comparable. He specializes in
steel for pressure-vessel applications. His previous work in sales
metallurgy involved determining how or if a steel product could
be made. The comparative standards cant tell you necessarily
what all the requirements are, he advises, saying the value of
a comparable standards reference is to provide information on
other grades of steel the user may not know are synonymous. Youre
looking to find out exactly what genre of steel it is and then
for an alternative that would be either equal or provide comparable
Is it alloy, low alloy, high alloy, stainless, or is it plain
carbon steel or some form of sophisticated carbon steel? he asks,
illustrating the considerations that DS67A addresses. Then we
may offer the customer the alternative based on what we know the
standard to be. Now more and more, we actually need to retrieve
that particular standard, because customers say it has to be exact.
And that can be a problem with the international standards,
he notes. Some of these foreign specifications involve different
testing conditions and specimen configurations that our labs are
not necessarily set up to handle. And that can become inconvenient.
But sometimes you have to do it if you want to get the business.
Easier Access to Economical Materials
Jim Tanzosh, a metallurgical engineer with Babcock and Wilcox,
Barberton, Ohio, lends his thoughts about the Handbooks value.
Tanzosh is responsible for materials aspects of designing and
manufacturing large boilers and pressure vessels for coal or oil-burning
utilities. We build boilers and vessels not only for the North
American market but for markets all around the world, he says.
So we often get involved with foreign specifications. There are
conditions under which we need to know equivalencies.
Foreign steel is often cheaper, more available, or might be stipulated
in contracts. Babcock and Wilcox uses local foreign materials
for much of the auxiliary equipment (structural steel, sheet,
and other non-pressure containing components) when they build
a boiler oversees.
A lot of these countries have excellent materials for the less
critical parts, Tanzosh says. Where were allowed to use foreign
materials, we will use them because of their economy and availability.
Thats where we need to have references like your Handbook that
describe the material specifications of the different countries
that are available in different areas of the world for us to be
able to procure and use in construction of the boilers.
Materials between countries, even though theyre similar, are
not always, from a design standpoint, absolutely equivalent. So,
for example, if I have a certain kind of alloy steel tube that
I want to use thats a United States grade, I can find a grade
usually thats similar to it in Germany or France or Britain.
But it may not be precisely the same chemistry or precisely the
same tensile and yield strength and physical properties, so they
are not absolutely equivalent, and you have to use a lot of judgement
as to whether you can substitute it one-for-one. And thats where
this document comes in handy.
The experts agree that ASTMs new book and searchable disk, DS67A,
Handbook of Comparative World Steel Standards: Second Edition
is a good tool to have around. It is available this month from
Copyright 2002, ASTM