New Framework for Creating Global Additive Manufacturing Standards
Ian Wright posted on October 06, 2016 |
As a technology, there’s no doubt that additive manufacturing (AM) offers plenty of tantalizing opportunities for the enthusiastic engineer. Whether you’re building better jet engines or creating spare parts on demand, 3D printing is opening new doors throughout the manufacturing sector.

Perhaps that’s why it’s so easy to overlook one of the necessities that comes with using exciting new technologies in manufacturing: technical standards. In an effort to address this need, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and ASTM International have jointly created the Additive Manufacturing Standards Development Structure.

The idea is not to confine the scope of work for standards organizations, but rather to provide a framework in which the majority of standards needs can be met. ISO and ASTM International are also developing a guidance document to accompany the structure.

Broadly, the structure’s goals include:

  • Guiding global experts and standards development organizations involved in AM standardization
  • Identifying standards-related gaps and needs in the AM industry
  • Preventing overlap and duplicative efforts in AM standards development
  • Ensuring cohesion among AM standards
  • Prioritizing AM standards areas
  • Improving usability and acceptance among the AM community

Using this structure, industry professionals can develop standards at three levels:

  1. General Standards (concepts, common requirements, guides, etc.)
  2. Standards for Material Categories (e.g., metal powders) or Processes (FDM, DMLS, etc.)
  3. Specialized Standards for Specific Materials (e.g., aluminum alloy powders), Processes (e.g, material extrusion with ABS) or Applications (aerospace, medical, automotive, etc.)

“This structure will help experts worldwide interact in a more streamlined and meaningful way, leading to the integration and application of new technologies at an accelerated rate,” said Carl Dekker, president of MET-L-FLO Inc. and chair of ASTM International's committee on additive manufacturing technologies (F42).

(Image courtesy of ASTM International.)
(Image courtesy of ASTM International.)
“In the future, we could see even more benefits, such as uniform workforce training and a stronger ability to focus on constant quality improvement rather than potential confusion surrounding specifications,” Dekker added.

“This coordinated approach to standards development in AM is crucial to building out robust standards at all levels,” said Jörg Lenz, collaborative projects coordinator at Electro Optical Systems and chair of ISO Technical Committee 261 on additive manufacturing (ISO/TC261).  “Standards developers can see how this new structure allows them to come together, leading to further innovation in fields like aerospace, medical and automotive, and also other benefits such as a platform for certification activities.”

The structure was jointly approved by F42 and ISO/TC261 after a July 2016 meeting in Tokyo.

For more information, visit the ASTM International and ISO websites.

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