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Methods employing advanced or automated instruments are being used for evaluating product quality in many laboratories and plants of the petroleum industry. More than half of the 166 ASTM tests on products have instrumental counterparts; 31 standards allow the use of such instruments. Instrumental methods have proliferated because they are economical of manpower; they are generally more precise but more restricted in scope than the conventional methods. When non-standard instrumental methods are used for approval testing of products in custody-transfer operations, the results must be validated in terms of the corresponding standard procedure. The duality so created nullifies part of the savings and creates ambiguity or controversy regarding acceptability of the data. The duality in methods can be largely resolved by standardizing the newer methods, according to their usefulness and technical merits. Examples show that most instrumental methods reflect modern technology and are well-documented, allowing their merits to be evaluated. Usefulness is the theme of other papers in this symposium. Standardization requires concurrence of consumer and general-interest members of ASTM, which benefit only indirectly and to a smaller extent than do producer members. The former groups are not disadvantaged by acceptance of instrumental methods if their freedom to use conventional ones is not impaired. The standardization of instrumental counterparts to existing standard methods is a task which is appropriate for ASTM Committee D-2 to undertake in the interests of all sectors of its membership.
automatic analyzers, automated testing, analyzing, quality control, laboratory instrumentation, monitors, petroleum testing, quality assurance, precision
Cropped, W. V.
Vice president, director of research and development, Precision Scientific Co., Subsidiary of GCA Corporation, Chicago, Ill.