Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is taking off with organizations ranging from NASA to medical device makers and automakers using this technology to reduce waste and streamline supply chain efficiencies. In the automotive industry alone additive manufacturing will be worth $1.1 billion by 2019, according to a market research study.
As more large companies turn to 3D printed parts, there’s an increasing need for technical standards. To this end, ISO and ASTM International have jointly developed the Additive Manufacturing Standards Development Structure.
The two organizations say the framework will help guide industry experts and standards development organizations. It will also identify standards-related gaps and needs in the additive manufacturing industry, and prevent duplicate efforts in developing additive manufacturing standards.
Companies can use the framework to develop standards at three levels:
- general standards (concepts, common requirements, guides, safety);
- standards for broad categories of materials (metal powders, for example) or processes (like powder bed fusion); and,
- specialized standards for a specific material, process or application (such as aerospace, medical or automotive).
ASTM International’s committee on additive manufacturing technologies (F42) and the ISO Technical Committee 261 on additive manufacturing (ISO/TC 261) both approved the structure after a July meeting in Tokyo. They are also developing a companion guidance document to accompany this structure.
Carl Dekker, president of MET-L-FLO Inc., and chair of ASTM International’s committee on additive manufacturing technologies says the new framework could produce additional benefits such as “uniform workforce training and a stronger ability to focus on constant quality improvement rather than potential confusion surrounding specifications.”
The new ISO-ASTM additive manufacturing framework comes as major corporations are investing massive amounts in this fast-growing technology. In April General Electric opened a $400 million advanced manufacturing center in South Carolina and $39 million hub for additive manufacturing near Pittsburgh.