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January/February 2009
Editor's Note

Standards for an Essential
Industry

One of the true pleasures of being editor in chief of this magazine is meeting with the incoming chairmen of the board at their workplaces for the January/February interview. I almost always see ASTM International standards, not as I do in my daily work — as printed or on-screen documents — but in their role as the lifeblood of the materials and processes on view at these facilities.

My visit to Rolled Alloys, in Temperance, Mich., where the 2009 Chairman of the Board Paul Whitcraft has worked as director of quality, safety and engineering since the early 1990s, was no exception. Whether Rolled Alloys staff are developing alloys, ordering stock to spec, testing for hardness and corrosion, marketing products or fulfilling international orders, they are employing standards — a majority of them ASTM International standards — on a daily basis.

Many of these documents were first developed decades ago by such committees as A01 on Steel, Stainless Steel and Related Alloys and B02 on Nonferrous Metals and Alloys (in which Paul is active). They are so deeply embedded in the industry that it’s impossible to imagine metals R&D, manufacture and international trade without them.

These standards have stood the test of time, but they are far from static. In his more than 30 years as an ASTM member, many of which have been spent in leadership positions at the main and subcommittee levels, Paul has worked with hundreds of other stakeholders who keep these venerable standards updated to include new products and processes. The result is a standards portfolio that is as vital today as it was in the early 20th century when committees like A01 and B02 were founded.

With the help of Paul and ASTM members who work with him on these committees, we have two articles in this issue that I think will energize your perspective on the value of the ASTM standard to the foundational industrial area that is metals: the chairman’s interview and the article immediately following that shows in very practical terms the direct use of ASTM metals standards in so many components of refinery, chemical and other plants. It’s a view of an industry that has sustained much of modern society and, with ASTM standards at its core, will continue to do so for decades to come.

Maryann Gorman
Editor in Chief