Standards Ensure Fence Performance

Benjamin Shirley

Ameristar relies on ASTM standards as an integral part of its business model.

For over 30 years, Ameristar has prided itself on manufacturing products of high quality and unmatched performance. ASTM standards play an important role in many aspects of Ameristar's business; our daily activities require the use of numerous ASTM standards.

Early on, Ameristar identified the need for more sophisticated product and material standardization in its industry. At that time, architectural and engineering firms and owners were less accustomed to the fence industry providing performance standards for ornamental fence products. Now, A&E firms and owners have embraced products that require performance according to standards. Ameristar's success has been, and continues to be, in using ASTM International standards and educating customers about available products that meet those standards.

The use of ASTM standards at Ameristar begins with design. Ameristar's engineering and product management departments are always seeking new designs for ornamental fence products. Every great design is rooted in knowing where to start and understanding boundaries. This team consistently takes the pulse of ASTM F2408, Specification for Ornamental Fences Employing Galvanized Steel Tubular Pickets, which provides a baseline for the performance of ornamental fence. Committee F14 on Fences is responsible for the standard, which addresses minimum requirements for systems made from galvanized steel.

An important part of Ameristar's business is purchasing. This department constantly seeks new vendors in search of the best value for materials needed to manufacture Ameristar's product designs. Cold-rolled steel profiles, or sections, are purchased to manufacture steel bollard posts. These profiles must meet ASTM standard A500 (Specification for Cold-Formed Welded and Seamless Carbon Steel Structural Tubing in Rounds and Shapes), from Committee A01 on Steel, Stainless Steel and Related Alloys, prior to purchase.

Ameristar also makes use of standards when the material itself arrives at Ameristar's coil processing facility. After receiving steel coil and before it is cut for a particular purpose, coupons of steel are gathered and sent to Ameristar's quality control department to ensure the product meets ASTM A653/A653M (Specification for Steel Sheet, Zinc-Coated (Galvanized) or Zinc-Iron Alloy-Coated (Galvannealed) by the Hot-Dip Process) from Committee A05 on Metallic-Coated Iron and Steel Products.

In its marketing, Ameristar refers to such standards as ASTM B117, Practice for Operating Salt Spray (Fog) Apparatus. The introduction of this standard improved the quality of coated steel ornamental fence products offered in the industry. This comparative data helped raise the level of expectation within the architectural community, demanding better performing ornamental fence products throughout the fence industry. Product life improved substantially, which resulted in many manufacturers offering better product warranties for consumers, a direct result of improved coating performance.

Other ASTM standards have also helped shape Ameristar's products. For example, ASTM F2656, Test Method for Vehicle Crash Testing of Perimeter Barriers, from Committee F12 on Security Systems and Equipment, defines the method for testing anti-ram vehicle barriers. A few years after the terrorist attack on 9/11, Ameristar developed a new high security fence system with integrated anti-ram capabilities. The current ASTM F2656 standard resulted from a collaborative effort by the U.S. Department of State, industry experts and scholars who worked together to create a single document through ASTM. To date, Ameristar tests a variety of fence and entry barrier systems to the F2656 standard and has many of these systems installed throughout the world because of this standard's existence.

The list of standards used at Ameristar are too numerous to mention them all. However, one thing is certain, ASTM standards are a thread woven into Ameristar's fabric of success.

Benjamin Shirley is marketing manager for Ameristar Perimeter Security USA Inc. An ASTM member since 2009, Shirley works on Committees E54 on Homeland Security Applications, F12 on Security Systems and Equipment and F14 on Fences, where he is recording secretary of the main committee and chairman of Subcommittee F14.35 on Architectural Metal Fence Systems.

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