At the Additive/Aerospace Summit, it seemed that one of the biggest obstacles that additive manufacturing has to overcome in order to be adopted by mainstream manufacturers is the lack of standards. Luckily, the large bureaucracies of the world are working as quickly as large bureaucracies can to change that, one of which is SASAM.
As members of parliament in the EU pass legislation regarding business practices and the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) goes about deciding standards within various industries, the Support Action for Standardisation in Additive Manufacturing group gets into the nitty gritty of AM. Working with standards organization ASTM International and the CEN, SASAM is hosting a number of conferences for individuals and companies in the world of 3D printing to get together and make sense of everything in tediously explicit detail so that, if ever there’s a question about what a term means or how a process works, it can be found in a dense government library online.
SASAM has already determined the key players in the industry and are in the process of hosting a series of networking events to develop a roadmap for 3D printing in Europe. They’ve outlined their objectives as follows:
- Gather and evaluate information from other relevant roadmaps and most important developmente within and around this sector.
- Transform the outcome and conclusions from this information gathering as well as the stakeholder and requirements survey from WP1 into elements in a first draft for an AM standardization roadmap.
- Gather feedback, finalize and publish the roadmap for standardization for additive manufacturing technology.
Now, all that’s left is the exhausting task of meeting each of those objectives.
Meanwhile, across the sea, America Makes has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreement with ASTM International to develop standards for the AM community in the United States that ASTM will then be able to share abroad with such organizations as SASAM. AsAmerica Makes explains, standards are vital in ensuring the development of a technology in any country, “The program also facilitates the development of national standards that will aid each country’s health, safety, environmental and economic conditions. These agreements help avoid duplication of effort where possible and mutually promote the standards development activities of ASTM International and the national standards bodies participating in the program.”
One of the Additive/Aerospace Summit attendees, a former employee for a large aerospace manufacturer, told me that the International Standards Organization had only developed a single standards document for AM, so far, and that that document simply defined various terms, like direct metal laser sintering and electron beam melting. Since then, it seems that the ISO has developed one more, a standard file format for 3D printable files. Looks like they’ve still got a lot of work to do!
(Hat tip to John for the America Makes link!)