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    The Significance of Voluntary Standards and Their Status in the Rubber Industry

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    For this first technical program sponsored by Committee D-11 on Rubber and Rubber-Like Materials since the successful conclusion of World War II, we are most fortunate in having this splendid collection of papers, prepared by distinguished experts from Government and industry, who contributed in such large measure to the solution of our wartime rubber problem without which victory could not have been attained. We are pleased also that this symposium can be held at a time when we are celebrating the Fiftieth Annual Meeting of the American Society for Testing Materials whose work on standard methods of test and on specifications for materials formed a basis for much of the important standardization which made possible the production miracle so essential to the successful conduct of the war. We are especially grateful to the Rubber Reserve Co. and other Government agencies for their willing cooperation in releasing for presentation to this technical audience much information and data which have heretofore been held under confidential restriction. It is obvious, of course, that all phases of the vast program of creating an entirely new synthetic rubber industry capable of producing and using more than a million tons of rubber per year cannot be adequately covered in a single symposium of moderate length. We have chosen, therefore, to deal only with that part which is most closely related to the principal current activities of the Society's Committee D-11, namely, the standardization of methods of testing of rubber and rubber-like materials. The work of our committee dealing with standardization in the rubber field has extended over a period of 35 years, and its contributions to industry have been enormous, particularly during the past two decades when emphasis was placed on methods of test after their importance was fully appreciated as the foundation for the preparation and enforcement of quality standards and materials specifications. With the advent of synthetic materials, however, many new problems became evident. Their solution required new test methods and refinement of the existing ones in order to furnish much needed information concerning the properties of the new materials and to provide the tools necessary for control of their uniformity in large scale production. For strategic reasons during the war, such work on synthetics had to be surrounded with the greatest secrecy, which could only be successfully maintained by strict Government control. Committees, spear-headed by Government agencies, were organized, in which representatives of producers and consumers joined with private consultants and men from universities and independent laboratories in most intensive research and standardization work to obtain the knowledge and methods so urgently needed. Never before has so much been accomplished in so short a time as during the war years. The achievements, some of which will be described in the papers which follow, have spectacularly shown the results possible from the labor of many men and the meeting of many minds in crystallizing research, expediting the acceptance of compromise and forcing, without delay, widespread application of the principles of standardization in mass production. Thoughtful people in industry who have witnessed the accomplishments of this period cannot escape wondering how the benefits of such activities can be continually secured, subsequent to the war and on a voluntary basis, in our free enterprise system. The answer, I believe, is to be found in greater use of and cooperation with technical groups such as Committee D-11. The committee organization in the war program was essentially the same as that of our Society in peacetime. This type of organization is basically democratic in that a forum is provided in which all interests concerned have a voice and where differences may be resolved. After thorough discussion and arbitration, the predominant view prevails and unity is attained. Progress always results from group effort but is greatest when diverse views are brought in by the different members of the group. Thus, we are broadened and acquire new knowledge and the best is ultimately forthcoming. If we all think alike, there is only one view but with diversity, there are many and we can select the best. Plato in his “Republic” concluded that unity is a most desirable quality but Aristotle criticized this and said that there could be too much unity.

    Author Information:

    Carpenter, A. W.
    Manager of Testing Labs., The B. F. Goodrich Co., Akron, Ohio

    Committee/Subcommittee: D11.23

    DOI: 10.1520/STP47883S