Driving Innovation

ASTM Serves as Partner and Catalyst

On my first day as president last year, I visited the Virginia Beach Fire Department’s training facility. First responders and other ASTM International members were using our standards to test the capabilities of response robots and drones.

We sent a clear message that day: ASTM International is committed to working closely with inventors, innovators, and other trailblazers who are changing the world.

That’s what our special issue of Standardization News is all about.

As one of the world’s leaders in standardization, we are doing more than ever to build bridges between the standards and innovation communities. We are driven by a simple idea: Everyone benefits — manufacturers, consumers, regulators, and other stakeholders — when R&D breakthroughs and high quality technical standards are developed in tandem.

Additive Manufacturing


Right now, that’s exactly what is happening in the field of additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing.

Several years ago, leaders in AM came together through ASTM International to create a new AM technology committee (F42). We signed agreements with major players (e.g., the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the International Organization for Standardization, America Makes) to ensure that global expertise would coalesce into F42.

That committee — which has grown to about 600 members — plus several other AM-related committees, have created hundreds of standards that support AM in some way.

In addition, last year, we hired our first in-house technical expert — Dr. Mohsen Seifi — to lead our AM programs. And just this year, we launched ASTM International’s Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence with high profile partners: Auburn University, NASA, applied technology developer EWI, and the U.K.-based Manufacturing Technology Centre.

The fact is, the industrial footprint for 3D printing is expanding every day. Companies that make parts for planes, cars, and medical devices — as well as for the military — are going "all-in" due to the speed and customization capabilities of AM. Material specifications (such as those for powders that go into 3D printers) as well as test methods (such as those that measure the strength of AM parts) are just two examples of ASTM standards playing a leading role to support this technology’s continued growth.

More Success Stories Coming


We want to replicate the success we have fostered in AM standardization, and we will.

Drones, which I mentioned earlier, are a great example. We recently partnered with the National Fire Protection Association to bring together a group of public safety leaders.

This joint working group will guide the creation of new standards that will help first responders harness the power of drones to meet their mission and save lives.

Another example is exoskeletons and exosuits. These new powerful wearable technologies can help everyone from factory workers to stroke survivors to soldiers.

We launched a new exoskeletons committee (F48) last year. Already, they have registered work items aimed at creating new standards.

Your Innovation Partner


Clearly, innovation is an ever-growing part of ASTM International’s DNA. In fact, we just promoted one of our senior staff members, Brian Meincke, to a new role: vice president of business development and industry innovation. (Contact him at bmeincke@astm.org.)

More immediately, you can learn about the crucial interplay between standardization and innovation by reading the three-part "Research to Standards" series as well as our new white paper — all included in this special issue of Standardization News.

And don’t forget: ASTM International is itself an innovator. We’re working every day to make sure that our members and customers have products and services that maximize your ability to fully leverage standards and other technical information. Don’t hesitate to contact us about Compass, SpecBuilder, or other tools.

In closing, a good definition of innovation is "translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates added value for customers." ASTM International wants to serve as an active partner and catalyst for that process to occur in emerging industries, new technologies, and more.

If our vision for driving innovation aligns with your plans for the future, let’s explore how we can work together.

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