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Educating Beyond School
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FREE Sample Magazine (Type Mailing Address into E-mail Message) | President's Column Archive
 January 2006 Standards in Education
Gerald B. “Jed” Heyes is quality manager at Continental Imaging Products, an STMC-certified remanufacturing company near Chicago, Ill. His responsibilities include quality management and new product development. He is a member of ASTM Committee F05 on Business Imaging Products. With over 20 years in quality assurance, Jed is a senior member of the American Society for Quality, a Certified Quality Engineer, Certified Quality Auditor, and former editor of ASQ’s Statistics Division technical newsletter.
“ASTM student membership is a great way for students like me to become more acquainted with standards and keep up with news across many industries,” says Greg. “It’s a great learning tool for students who are thinking about the future and how to give themselves a competitive advantage over colleagues after graduation. I browse SN each month and visit the site on a regular basis.”

“I feel as if I am better prepared for my remaining semesters in college and my future thanks to the internship at CIP,” Greg says. “I expect that I will benefit immediately with regard to career fairs and possible interviews with other companies. Having the knowledge I learned this summer, I believe I am a step ahead of some of my peers. Employers may give me a second look because of my involvement with ASTM and my understanding of the importance of standardization.”

“Every good teacher will tell you that they often learn alongside their students. Jed and Greg were no exception. There was a synergy of growth unique to this experience.”
—Daryl Voska, president of CIP, on sponsoring the internship

“Like many small businesses with years of experience, we thought our previous (non-standardized) methods of testing were adequate, but as products became increasingly complex, and customers more demanding, we found they were not. Applying standardized test methods enables us to provide customers with more reliable products, and to prove it with repeatable test results.”
—Daryl Voska, president of CIP, on the business advantage of using standards

Educating Beyond School

Greg Hoffman, a junior majoring in engineering at the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana), accepted a summer internship in 2005 at Continental Imaging Products in Wauconda, Ill. As CIP’s quality manager, it was my responsibility to guide Greg in the testing of laser toner cartridges. Greg’s internship provides a glimpse into how standards-based testing is integrated into the operations of an imaging supplies company.

A wholesale producer of remanufactured facsimile, laser printer, and related supplies, CIP is a member of the International Imaging Technology Council, whose Standardized Test Methods Committee requires demonstrated use of ASTM International standards as part of a voluntary certification program. As the aftermarket for imaging supplies matures, certified companies enjoy a competitive edge over non-certified companies, especially in contractual arrangements. A number of STMC members are also members of ASTM Committee F05 on Business Imaging Products.

More Than A Job
Although my exposure to standards-based testing began in 1977 when performing routine wet and dry tests on chemical coatings, there was no mention of ASTM, its Committee D01 on Paint and Related Coatings, Materials, and Applications (which developed those standards), or the standards being applied for viscosity, thickness and so on. I was just “doing a job” until a subsequent career in quality assurance led me to participate in ASTM International, and using standards became a way of life. As an ASTM member and certified STMC trainer, one of my primary goals for Greg’s internship was to introduce him directly to the standards themselves and their real-world application, in addition to teaching the mechanics of testing — to make it more than “a job.”

The Collaboration Begins
For my part, I welcomed additional help with testing. In return, Greg earned money for the next school year while continuing his engineering education by studying and applying practical standards. The standards require not only the preparation of documentation, test units (trial and control) and equipment, but also calibration using National Institute of Standards and Technology- and American National Standards Institute-traceable standards, step by step execution, calculations and careful reporting — all part of practical engineering.

Although a large number of documents are available from ASTM, Greg and I initially concentrated on two under the jurisdiction of Committee F05. Greg’s first reading assignments were ASTM F 1856, Practice for Determining Toner Usage for Printer Cartridges, and F 2036, Test Method for Evaluation of Larger Area Density and Background on Electrophotographic Printers.

Other standards followed, including ANSI 2.17, American National Standard for Photography – Density Measurements – Part 4: Geometric Conditions for Reflection Density, and the International Safe Transit Association’s ISTA-1A, Performance Test for Individual Packaged-Products 150 lb (68.2 Kg) or Less.

Greg and I met to discuss the standards and their application prior to actual use, ensuring that Greg fully understood them first. Verifying which version is current required a short trip on the Internet where Greg found that updates could be purchased conveniently from ASTM’s Web site as PDF downloads, or through the mail in hardcopy or CD format — a good opportunity to introduce ASTM’s other Web-based resources, including student membership.

Engineer-in-training studying standards Standards Q&A: intern and trainer

Hands On
During training, Greg tested and retested a number of products, while referring to standards, and learning the basics of laser imaging theory. He learned to disassemble and reassemble a variety of product types, gaining valuable insight into the location, function and interaction of various components while at the same time recognizing the effects of different “product configurations” on performance. Greg developed proficiency in optical calibration, densitometry, and product yield measurements and calculations, skills required by the standards but previously unknown to him.

The advantage of using standards-based methods rather than homegrown techniques became readily apparent. Not only were results reproducible within CIP, but they could also be compared between CIP and other testing facilities, such as customer, supplier and independent test labs. There are no misunderstandings about what they represent or how the results were obtained. Greg compared his own ASTM results with those submitted by suppliers of key components. By providing their results first, suppliers help their customers predict product performance before building it. While the nature of his work was technical, because it was standards-based he could interpret it from a broader supply-chain perspective.

ASTM in Industry and Academia
During the partnership, Greg learned that a number of his professors at the University of Illinois are actively involved with ASTM International. Henrique Reis in the Department of General Engineering, for instance, introduces ASTM in courses and is an active member of ASTM Committee E07 on Nondestructive Testing. No doubt Greg would have learned about ASTM sooner or later at the university, but he has leapfrogged many of his peers already by joining ASTM as a student member with access to a host of benefits. Above all, this new ASTM membership has provided him with the invaluable opportunity to enhance his classroom learning with the experience that comes from a live curriculum, thanks to his internship at CIP. //

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