Standardization News

News from the ASTM International Board of Directors Meeting

The board of directors met virtually April 20-22. Here is a summary of reports made and actions taken at those meetings.
By: 
David Walsh

The 2021 ASTM International board of directors (pictured above), from left: (top row) Bonnie McWade-Furtado, Katharine E. Morgan, Bill Griese, Francine Bovard; (second row from top) Amer Bin Ahmed, Michael J. Brisson, Taco van der Maten, William A. Ells, Dalia Yarom; (third row from top) Cesar A. Constantino, Andrew G. Kireta Jr., Gregory J. Bowles, Casandra Robinson; (third row from bottom) Elise Owen, Scott Fenwick, Timothy J. Morris, David W. Parsonage, Rina Singh; (second row from bottom) Brian P. Shiels, Christopher R. Reid, John R. Logar, Linda Freeman; (bottom row) Klas M. Boivie, Carol Pollack-Nelson, Julia Schimmelpenningh.

Global Cooperation and Satellite Offices

The total number of signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) increased to 117, with the Libyan National Centre for Standardization and Metrology being the most recently signed partner. To date, there have been 8,732 citations of ASTM standards by both MoU and non-MoU nations, and international participation in almost all ASTM technical committees. 

Virtual bimonthly capacity building training sessions for MoU partners have been a success, as a growing number of national standard bodies representatives and worldwide stakeholders have attended. In 2021, the program has attracted 75 attendees from 30 countries. Based on the level of engagement and feedback, additional sessions are scheduled through the second quarter. As a result of interest expressed following a recent panel session, a course on ASTM’s academic outreach initiatives is planned for April 2021.

Europe and Canada

Brussels Office

ASTM continued to engage authorities and stakeholders at the European and national level, as ASTM leadership has met with the German Institute for Standardization (DIN) twice in recent months to discuss possible collaboration and future activities.

In March, Sara Gobbi, director of European affairs, presented at the CEN and CENELEC workshop “Sustainability in PPE: Addressing the Challenge through Standardization,” where she discussed ASTM’s global collaboration forum for personal protective equipment (PPE). Over
230 participants attended from all around Europe.

In conjunction with the executive subcommittee of the committee on manufacture of pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical products (E55), Brussels office staff have met with European stakeholders such as the Italian Association of Pharmaceutical industry Professionals (AFI); Biopharmachem Ireland; the Pharmaceutical Inspection Convention and Pharmaceutical Inspection Cooperation Scheme (PIC/S); and the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE).

ASTM reached out to 17 Brussels-based industry federations to share views and discuss ways to achieve greater technical alignment. Meetings have taken place with the European Association of  the Machine Industries and  Related Manufacturing Technologies (CECIMO) and the Home Appliance Association (APPLIA).

Ottawa Office

Diane Thompson, director of Canadian affairs, and Jeff Grove, vice president, global policy, cooperation, and communications, continue to engage Canadian government officials to
raise awareness of ASTM International in Canada. 

Asia

ASTM has identified key stakeholders and specific government and industry priorities in the region. Outreach and follow-up activities have been conducted with organizations in Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, and South Korea. 

Work has begun with Japan and Vietnam to confirm government and industry priorities and stakeholders, and ASTM staff has begun conversations with the Japanese Standards Association. A full-time consultant will serve as regional outreach manager and be based in Singapore. 

ASTM senior staff held conversations with national standards bodies in the Asia/Oceania region, regularly meeting with Standards New Zealand (SNZ) on various technical topics. An additional meeting is scheduled for May.

Discussions with the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) have led to the scheduling of a special panel session on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) test sites with public and private sector participation. 

Caribbean

Guyana

Larry Tucker, a member of the committee on petroleum products, liquid fuels, and lubricants (D02), presented to the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) on crude oil testing on March 2. ASTM signed an MoU with GNBS in 2011.

Latin America

Mexico

The MoU with Mexican national standards body Dirección General de Normas (DGN) is in the final stages of review. ASTM continues to pursue opportunities in Mexico.

Honduras

In February, Maria Isabel Barrios, ASTM’s Latin America representative, presented to MoU partner the Honduras Standards Organization (OHN) on ASTM standards in building regulation. OHN invited ASTM to speak at an upcoming event with the Honduran Ministry of Economic Development. 

Peru

In March, Barrios worked with Peruvian MoU partner Instituto Nacional de Calidad (INACAL) to host a virtual technical session on ASTM standards. Over 20 stakeholders from the Peruvian committee attended.

Middle East

United Arab Emirates (UAE) Chapter

In March, ASTM International’s UAE Chapter hosted a joint webinar with the American Welding Society (AWS) for regional stakeholders. ASTM and AWS speakers presented on the topic of standards and recommendations for steel bars for concrete reinforcement. 

GSO Workshop

In January, ASTM staff collaborated with the GCC Standards Organization (GSO) on the presentation, “ASTM’s Contributions to the Development of the Industrial Sector.” The workshop attracted 20 stakeholders from four countries.

AIDSMO

In March, ASTM staff presented to MoU partner the Arab Industrial Development, Standardization, and Mining Organization (AIDSMO) on “ASTM’s Contributions in Personal Protective Equipment to Face Public Health Challenges.” Participants in the webinar included 14 of AIDSMO’s member states in the Middle East/North Africa region with whom ASTM maintains MoUs.

Training Programs

2021 Technical Visitor Grant Program (TVGP)

Through the TVGP, ASTM annually hosts up to two technical experts for a period of 2-3 weeks in an educational program about ASTM standards in a given sector. 

Two experts from the Standards, Metrology, and Quality Organization (SASO) of Saudi Arabia have been selected for the 2021 program. The candidates will study fire safety in conjunction with the committee on fire standards (E05) and the amusement rides and devices committee (F24). 

Standards Alliance

The Standards Alliance program offers assistance to developing countries and is specifically related to implementation of the World Trade Organization
(WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade
(TBT) Agreement.

ASTM and the American Petroleum Institute (API) have been approved by the Standards Alliance to work on a three-year project focusing on the work of harmonizing petroleum standards in West Africa. Work in 2021 is expected to begin virtually, with face-to-face meetings planned in West Africa and the United States in 2022 and 2023.

The U.S. Department of Commerce/ASTM Study Tour program will continue virtually in 2021, providing additive manufacturing sessions on policy, medical, aviation, and automotive applications with assistance from ASTM’s Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence (AM CoE).

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

The APEC collaboration supports a closer network between ASTM and the economies bordering the Pacific Ocean, many of which include regional MoU partners. APEC projects offer benefits such as visibility, recognized leadership in standardization issues, and regulatory convergence based on ASTM standards.

Corporate Outreach

The Washington office recently met with the leadership of the Commercial Space Federation to discuss related work; the American Coatings Association to exchange information; the Tire Industry Association to establish a dialogue on recycling; and the Fuels Institute to review research and new developments in fuels and energy. 

Communications

Public/Media Relations

222 press releases were issued in 2020, mostly targeting industry and trade press, and 60 press releases to date in 2021. There have been a significant number of inquiries about the specification for barrier face coverings (F3502) from news outlets such as CNN, NBC News, Consumer Reports, The Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, and more.

Internal Communications

The department continues to publish the monthly “In the Square” newsletter, sent to all staff, and manages a general “news” channel on ASTM’s internal social site, Yammer.

Standardization News

SN online completed one of its most successful years ever, with traffic to SN pages in 2020 up 50% over 2019. The ongoing social media effort and weekly SmartBrief newsletter played a large role, and ASTM’s coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic was also a key factor in the increase.

Following the 2021 strategic editorial calendar, print issues of SN have covered topics such as medical devices and radiology, infrastructure and construction, and the first interview in a thought leadership series highlighting ASTM senior staff. Additional content will cover the circular economy, commercial spaceflight, robotics and cybersecurity, and the developing world.

The SmartBrief weekly newsletter continues to be a powerful dissemination and thought leadership vehicle for SN content and ASTM’s organizational messaging. In 2021, the open rate for the newsletter is up to 26.4%. 

Video

Content was developed specifically for the growing Instagram channel, including short, animated pieces showcasing the work of committees, brief member testimonials, and clips touting the availability of videos in Compass.

Social Media

Twitter followers have grown to nearly 15,000, and ASTM’s Instagram account marked a milestone of 3,000 followers. Followers on LinkedIn rose to 41,400, adding more than 4,000 followers in 2021. In total, combined followers on all ASTM social media channels now stand at over 87,000, a growth of 187% in
five years.

Business Development

The Technical Expert Program has expanded in several new areas, while the Exotechnology Center of Excellence (ET CoE) currently has acceleration projects in progress at four major universities: Vanderbilt University; University of Massachusetts, Lowell; Texas Tech University; and the University of Michigan. Round two of the ET CoE’s request for proposals for “Return to Work Exoskeleton and Related Technologies Research” is underway and will award up to $136,000 for a single project or multiple projects at lesser amounts up to a total of $136,000.

IT Operations

The continued deployment of ASTM 2.0 will further build on the original foundation, supporting members, customers, and partners. Areas from the standards publishing process to multimedia and design to product management are benefitting from the new architecture.

Membership

Membership promotions in 2020 resulted in nearly 1,000 new members joining ASTM International, 244 of whom were from outside the United States.

The committee on cannabis (D37) added 217 members; the committee on additive manufacturing technologies (F42) added 118 members; and the committee on concrete and concrete aggregates (C09) gained 85 new members.

Certification and the Safety Equipment Institute

The board of the Safety Equipment Institute met virtually on March 2. New program development was discussed in the areas of RIMA verification, additive manufacturing, and cannabis.

Laboratory Services

New program development is underway for para-toluic acid (PTA) (used in the manufacture of polyethylene), transportable moisture limits (TMLs), and cannabis, while many existing programs are being expanded.

Training and e-learning programs are underway in the areas of asphalt, soils, and plastics, and partnerships are being discussed with the American Welding Society and ASM International (formerly the American Society for Metals).

Sales and Marketing

Sales for 2021 remain positive and are projected to meet forecasts, while publications revenue is predicted to rise steadily through 2024. The launch of ASTM 2.0 in 2021 is predicted to have a positive impact on sales and future growth. ■

Issue Month: 
May/June
Issue Year: 
2021