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Magazines & Newsletters / ASTM Standardization News


July/August 2008

A Look Back at the Decade Since ASTM International’s Centennial Celebration, 1999-2008

Part II of a Two-Part Series

In the 10 years that have passed since its centennial celebration, ASTM International has grown to encompass a total of 138 technical committees. ASTM has expanded its outreach to nations beyond North America, to developing countries, industry leaders and students of engineering and the sciences around the world. We have spearheaded the use of information technology to improve the transparency and speed of the standards development process, to welcome participation from stakeholders unable to travel to meetings and to increase the use of ASTM standards.

Part I of this feature in the May/June issue of SN highlighted some of these initiatives. In this issue, turn the page to recall the formation of technical committees covering 13 additional industry sectors new to ASTM International since 1999, to see how we are reaching out to the next generation of members and to learn more about other initiatives undertaken as we review the first decade of ASTM International’s second 100 years.

To learn more about ASTM’s first 100 years, click here.

New Industries and Sectors Discover the ASTM Advantage

1. In 2000, Committee F34 on Rolling Element Bearings organized, providing a private-sector, consensus forum for manufacturers and procurers who had formerly standardized these ubiquitous product components under the aegis of a U.S. Department of Defense working group. Committee F34 now manages over 15 standards and is developing more.

2. Committee E53 on Property Management Systems was formed in 2000, demonstrating again how the ASTM consensus process can be applied in industries beyond more traditional materials and services. Concerned with developing standards for the management and oversight of an enterprise’s property, Committee E53 has grown its portfolio to 17 standards for process, data and financial management; reutilization and disposal of property; and property management maturity.

3. In 2002, ASTM International Committee F10 on Livestock, Meat and Poultry Evaluation systems was created to develop standards for the more than one dozen points on which meat and poultry can be evaluated. The work of F10 has been determined to be of the highest priority by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is supported by a wide range of stakeholders dedicated to achieving fair and competitive markets for the livestock, meat and poultry industries.

4. The groundwork was laid in 2002 for Committee F36 on Technology and Underground Utilities to provide standards that would enable the telecommunications industry to wire the last mile — the crowded urban space between offices and the nearest end of laid optical fiber cable — via existing underground utility and sewer conduits. The committee also focuses on the maintenance and rehabilitation of these systems and quantifying the potential for component damage due to seismic hazards.

5. In 2002, Committee F37 on Light Sport Aircraft took off as an ASTM technical committee. Initiated by a partnership between the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the infant industry of light sport aircraft manufacturers, the committee rose to the challenge of creating standards related to LSA design, performance, quality acceptance tests and safety monitoring. Their work over the next two years — a portfolio of more than a dozen standards — was accepted by the FAA, virtually enabling the development of a new category of recreational aircraft. The committee continues to develop needed standards for the LSA sector.

6. The technology behind unmanned air vehicles got a needed boost in 2003 with the organization of ASTM Committee F38 on Unmanned Aircraft Systems, which develops standards for UAS design, performance, quality acceptance tests and safety monitoring. These pilotless aircraft have multiple uses in border patrol, agriculture, law enforcement, disaster relief, power and gas line control and so much more — all of which can be enhanced by the ongoing development of standards.

7. Formed in 2003, ASTM Committee E54 on Homeland Security Applications is charged with developing standards for a wide variety of security components, including sensors and detectors for CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive hazards), emergency preparedness, decontamination, personal protective equipment, building and infrastructure protection, electronic security systems and operational equipment.

8. In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the pharmaceutical industry approached ASTM, requesting what would become Committee E55 on Manufacture of Pharmaceutical Products. The committee creates standards for process control, design and performance as well as quality acceptance and assurance tests for the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry. The committee has approved five standards and has several more under development.

9. In 2004, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s Small Airplane Directorate initiated a voluntary consensus standards effort to develop standards addressing general aviation electrical wiring systems. Due to shortcomings of using generic guidance as the certification basis for design and modification, Committee F39 on Normal and Utility Category Airplane Electrical Wiring Systems was organized to develop standards for electrical wiring system design, fabrication, modification, inspection and maintenance procedures and processes.

10. In response to recent chemical regulations that restrict the content of certain hazardous substances in materials used in several industries, ASTM Committee F40 on Declarable Substances in Materials was formed in 2005 to develop standards for the evaluation of materials and products related to such regulations.

11. Nanotechnology is the research and manufacturing wave of, not the future, but today. In 2005, ASTM Committee E56 on Nanotechnology was created to address issues related to standards and guidance materials for nanotechnology and nanomaterials, as well as the coordination of existing ASTM standards related to nanotechnology needs. Today, the committee of approximately 170 members meet in locations around the world and has developed five standards with many more under way.

12. Committee F41 on Unmanned Maritime Vehicle Systems (UMVs) was initiated in 2005 to develop standards for unmanned undersea and surface vehicle systems to facilitate an interoperable, modular and multi-functional family of platforms. The group has already developed four standards for these complex systems and its more than 150 members have more work planned.

13. 2006 saw the organization of ASTM Committee E57 on 3D Imaging Systems. Used for rapid capture of the three-dimensional information of a scene or object, 3D imaging has a wide range of uses in construction, manufacturing, medicine, animation, forensics, wear analysis and industrial metrology. To date, the committee has developed a terminology standard and is planning a practice for evaluating the range performance of 3D systems.



“Our Future is in College”

With much to teach college and university students over the course of four years, professors of engineering, law and business are hard-pressed to include in their syllabi the role of standardization in R&D, manufacturing, civic planning, public safety and international trade. ASTM International understands this and has undertaken an academic outreach program that will help students and professors learn about and incorporate the role of standardization into busy semester schedules.

1. In 2003, ASTM International created a Student Member category. Offering free membership to students enrolled full time in colleges and universities around the world, the new category grew rapidly out of the gate, with thousands of students signing up in the five years since to learn about ASTM’s processes.

2. In 2005, the online ASTM Campus debuted, a place where students can learn about standardization and join as student members, and professors can find teaching modules and peer-to-peer materials. 2007 was the Year of the Student, when ASTM began offering the Standards on Campus product, through which professors can gain student access to as many as 10 ASTM standards for $10.

Today, ASTM’s academic outreach task group, composed of staff members, works to engage leaders in industry, standardization and education around the U.S. and internationally, conducting campus visits and speaking about the opportunities for incorporating standards in college and university curricula.

...and more

1. In 2002, ASTM opened its Mexico City office. The goal of its staff has been to build relationships with private-sector standards organizations and industry, trade associations and representatives working in Mexico on behalf of the U.S. government or U.S.-based organizations, as well as Mexican government ministries that use standards or develop related policy. This work enables ASTM to identify and provide educational opportunities that benefit the Mexican public and private sectors, to share resources that can support Mexico’s development of needed standards and related information, and to strengthen alliances for mutual benefit and recognition.

2. Also in Latin America, ASTM made its standards more accessible to individual users through Online Centers installed in 2007 at each of seven national concrete trade associations. Each association provides individuals with instantaneous electronic access to published ASTM standards (historical and redline), research reports and Digital Library content. These Online Centers were launched in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Bogotá, Colombia; San José, Costa Rica; Quito, Ecuador; Guatemala City, Guatemala; El Dorado, Panama and Caracas, Venezuela.

3. In 2004, ASTM International reopened its Washington, D.C., office in order to advance strong government and industry awareness of and support for ASTM International. The office has been quite successful in developing and maintaining relationships with members of the U.S. Congress and congressional staff, federal regulatory and procurement departments, independent agencies, the American National Standards Institute, other standards development and code organizations, trade associations and professional societies located in Washington, D.C.

4. ASTM’s board of directors committed funds in 2004 to enhance the already high quality of its test methods through what would become the ASTM Interlaboratory Study Program. The program helps ASTM technical committees in their pursuit of strong reproducibility and repeatability for their test methods by assisting with ILS design, finding laboratories willing to participate or any of the other myriad details inherent in establishing the precision and bias of test methods.

5. In 2007, ASTM launched the ASTM Advantage Award, a paper competition designed to elicit case studies showing the benefits of using ASTM standards. The competition was a great success, with 15 papers submitted and first, second and third place cash prizes awarded for case studies involving transportation infrastructure planning, child safety and sustainable building. Winning papers were published in the November 2007 issue of SN. The Advantage Award competition has also been conducted in 2008 with winners to be announced in a future issue.