ISO, ASTM develop framework for creating global additive manufacturing standards

A new additive manufacturing standards development framework will help meet the needs for new technical standards.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; Geneva, Switzerland) and ASTM International (West Conshohocken, PA) partnered to develop the Additive Manufacturing Standards Development Structure, a framework to help meet the needs for new technical standards in this fast-growing field. Additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing) involves joining materials layer upon layer, as opposed to subtractive manufacturing methods such as machining.

The new structure will help guide the work of global experts and standards development organizations involved in additive manufacturing standardization; identify standards-related gaps and needs in the additive manufacturing industry; prevent overlap and duplicative efforts in additive manufacturing standards development; ensure cohesion among additive manufacturing standards; prioritize additive manufacturing standards areas; and improve usability and acceptance among the additive manufacturing community, including manufacturers, entrepreneurs, consumers, and others.

Based on this structure, standards can be developed at three levels:

  1. General standards (for example, concepts, common requirements, guides, and safety);
  2. Standards for broad categories of materials (e.g., metal powders) or processes (e.g., powder bed fusion); and
  3. Specialized standards for a specific material (e.g., aluminum alloy powders), process (e.g., material extrusion with ABS), or application (e.g., aerospace, medical, and automotive).

This structure was jointly approved after a July 2016 meeting in Tokyo, Japan. This reflects progress under the Partner Standards Developing Organization agreement signed five years ago between the two globally respected standards development organizations. In creating this document, both groups reviewed past, existing, and planned standards development efforts.

The new structure does not confine the scope of work for any standards organization, but provides a framework in which the majority of standards needs can be met. A companion guidance document is also being developed to accompany this structure.

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