||Adding Value to a Key Asset
The feature articles in this month’s issue are wide-ranging, but all touch on one subject: ASTM International’s analytical techniques. Nearly half of ASTM’s more than 11,000 standards are test methods. These documents are part of the massive engine that powers international commerce, providing manufacturers, users and independent laboratories with a way to ensure that products meet requirements for composition, strength, safety, and so on. Test methods also perform necessary functions in the field, allowing, for example, technicians to assess water quality in-situ or construction workers to test concrete on-site.
So it was a wise move when, in 2004, ASTM’s board of directors set aside resources for a new Interlaboratory Study Program, to be administered by ASTM staff. The purpose of the ILS Program is to help ASTM technical committees provide users of their test methods with complete precision and bias statements, gleaned from valid interlaboratory studies.
The creation of this program was a response to the fact that, while ASTM form and style requires that all test methods contain a P&B statement, many technical committees lack the wherewithal to find cooperating laboratories, create and distribute specimens, and coordinate results. It’s simply not easy to develop and run a good interlaboratory study.
In early 2005, the board of directors’ planning became a reality with the addition of an ILS Program manager and support staff. In his feature article, that manager, Phillip Godorov, introduces the program and explains what it can do for your committee. With several pilot projects already under way, it won’t be long before, as Godorov writes, “virtually all committees, and the test methods that they determine to be of the highest priority, will be viewed as potential program participants.”
Just after the 30,000 ASTM members who write our standards, ASTM’s test methods are tops on the list of assets to the organization and to consumer safety and worldwide commerce. In addition to Godorov’s piece, there are a string of related feature articles, including a description of the laboratory proficiency rating system developed by Committee D24 on Carbon Black, a primer on how ASTM Committee E11 on Quality and Statistics enables all members to address measurement uncertainty in their test methods and much more. I hope you’ll come away from perusing this issue with a greater understanding of the power of the ASTM test method. I know I did.
Editor in Chief