In your experience in the metal industry, you’ve likely come across ASTM standard designations, such as ASTM B194 for beryllium copper or ASTM B103 for phosphor bronze, but did you ever wonder what the “ASTM” stands for? These ASTM standards are crucial to ensure materials are safe and high-quality, performing the way they’re supposed to in your facility and as part of your final product.
What Does ASTM Mean?
ASTM International is a global leader in the development of voluntary consensus standards used by individuals, companies, and other institutions around the world. ASTM consists of over 30,000 volunteer members from more than 140 countries.
The organization meets the criteria for international standards developing organizations as set forth by the World Trade Organization, and is governed by a board of directors, elected by the entire membership.
How are ASTM standards developed?
A standard is a document detailing specific requirements for the quality and safe use of materials from a wide range of industries such as metals, paints, plastics, textiles, petroleums, and consumer products. The standard document outlines identifying characteristics, as well as the tests to which products should be subjected in order to conform to the standard.
Any interested party can submit a request for a new standard to ASTM International. An ASTM technical committee prepares a draft of the standard, which is then submitted to a parent subcommittee before being made available to all members for review. Any objections during this process must be considered before the document can move on to the next level.
The ASTM International Committee on Standards gives final approval of a standard after ensuring ASTM procedures were correctly followed and the standard was given due process. This due process in standards creation ensures all interested parties have a say in the creation of a standard, and maintains a balance among competing interests.
Why Does It Matter?
Standards are widely used by scientists, engineers, architects, and government agencies to ensure quality and consistency of materials. While these standards are voluntary, they are mandatory when cited in contracts, government codes, regulations, or laws.
ASTM standards are essential in classifying and evaluating the material, chemical, mechanical, and metallurgical properties of metals, guiding product manufacturers toward proper processing and application procedures. Institutions and individuals can use the ASTM webpage to search for more than 12,000 standards in any available industry.
Your customers depend on you to provide them with consistent, high-quality products. When investing in your materials, you need to be able to trust that they will perform the way they’re supposed to. By using products that adhere to the ASTM standards, you can ensure you are purchasing high-quality materials that meet your expectations and protect the safety of your employees and buyers.