Posted on 10/19/2012 11:05:51 AM By Sandy Niks

The use of standards has been mentioned in earlier writings. Webster defines a standard as “something for use as a rule or basis of comparison in measuring or judging capacity, quantity, content, extent, value, quality, etc.” In Wikipedia one finds, “A technical standard is an established norm or requirement about technical systems. It is usually a formal document that establishes uniform engineering or technical criteria, methods, processes and practices.” Standards are created by companies for requirements, procedures, and/or information that must remain proprietary, but standards are most useful when created through an independent organization, a standards developing organization (SDO). At the SDO, those interested and affected by the standard can combine their knowledge and resources to create and maintain the documents that ideally best meets the needs of all concerned. Of course, the reality is that the producers of a commodity and the users of a commodity probably don’t want exactly the same thing, but with both groups represented in the discussion, a compromise can be achieved. Or maybe the adhesives community can just get along better than some other technologies.

 There are many SDO’s, some very specific industry organizations, such as the Pressure Sensitive Tape Council (PSTC), broader industry organizations, such as SAE International (covering mobility in aerospace, automotive (cars, trucks), construction, marine, recreational off-road vehicles, motorcycles, etc.), national organizations, such as British Standards Institution (BSI) or Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN), and international standards, such as ASTM International or International Organization of Standards (ISO). ISO standards require one vote per country, and the national standards organizations are usually although not always, the contact for representation or participation in the development of an ISO standard. In the US, the national organization is the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), who has published a document entitled the “United States Standards Strategy,” found here.

There are several types of standards, starting with test methods (also called test procedures). They describe the steps necessary to conduct an evaluation, such as how to make the test specimens, sampling techniques, requirements for the equipment to use in testing, environmental conditioning, general instructions for equipment, such as test speed and loading rates, calculations, and what to report. The test method provides a result – usually quantitative. The test method will not indicate whether or not a test specimen has “passed” the test because that information is found in the specification (for adhesives, a material specification), which is a standard consisting of a set of requirements, such as strength properties, environmental conditioning, durability, processing, and chemical content. There are practices and guides, also considered standards, which may describe a technique for preparing samples or evaluating results, but do not stand alone. They are used with another test method(s). Test methods that only produce a qualitative result are sometimes referred to as practices.

I am most familiar with ASTM and SAE. The adhesive committees in these two organizations are ASTM D14 on Adhesives and SAE Automotive Adhesives and Sealants Committee. Note that in the SAE organization all of the mobility sectors are included in the adhesives committee except aerospace, which is a separate “Division” and they maintain many additional standards, including adhesives. ASTM D14 Subcommittees related to automotive applications are currently meeting annually at the April meeting. More on that in a future blog. The SAE committee had been inactive for several years and is currently working on getting the published standards up-to-date and to complete the glass bonding test procedures that are in draft. We will be holding our next meeting in early November. All SAE adhesives meetings include teleconferencing, although we do try to hold a physical face-to-face meeting at least once a year in the Detroit [Michigan] area. If you are interested in becoming more involved in the development and maintenance of SAE’s automotive adhesive standards, please send a comment, and I will post the details.

Additional documentation about standards (from ASTM International):

Choosing Standards Based on Merit – Liberalizing Regulation, Trade and Development

The Handbook of Standardization

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