International additive manufacturing standards to be developed by ASTM

2 min read

Global standards organisation ASTM International and three UK-based entities are partnering to fast-track the creation of technical standards needed by the additive manufacturing industry. ASTM International’s Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence – in which the UK-based Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) is a founding partner – has identified three potential areas for standardisation. The effort will be supported through a £300,000 investment from Innovate UK (a UK government agency), while BSI (British Standards Institution) will co-ordinate the development of the three standards.

“Innovate UK is pleased to support the creation of ‘publicly available specifications’ to help drive economic growth through innovation in high-value manufacturing,” says Robin Wilson, the innovation lead for high-value manufacturing at Innovate UK. “This is a smart partnership that brings together UK expertise in key areas of additive manufacturing, along with the infrastructure and leadership of ASTM International.”

The three standards are focused on directed energy deposition (DED), one of seven categories of additive manufacturing as defined by ASTM International and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO/ASTM 52900). DED uses focused thermal energy (laser, electron beam, plasma arc) to fuse materials by melting as they are being deposited.

ASTM International’s global additive manufacturing director, Dr Mohsen Seifi, notes that DED technology offers unique advantages relating to speed and build-envelope limitations. However, he adds that “DED is not as widely used nor understood as some other additive manufacturing processes. Lack of standards are quite evident.

“Among their many benefits, these new standards have the potential to help manufacturers and suppliers make products with consistent and reliable quality,” he says.

The three DED standards under development are: a specification for using wire as a DED feed-stock, helping address key requirements that include composition, dimensional tolerances, contamination, packaging, handling, and storage; a standard for non-destructive testing (NDT) which aims to address typical causes and natures of DED defects, while also reviewing traditional test methods for applicability to DED; and a standard for DED wire and arc additive manufacturing (WAAM), which aims to cover terminology, material opportunities and restrictions, geometrical constraints, finishing requirements, inspection and more.

The MTC, home of the UK’s National Centre for Additive Manufacturing, has supported this publicly available specifications activity through the initial consultation process, selection of suitable topics for consideration, and identification of potential partners to form the committees. Support will continue to be provided by the MTC moving forwards.

In addition to the organisations already mentioned, more than a dozen private companies are supporting the collaboration, including Airbus, GE, GKN, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce.

After the publicly available specifications are created through BSI, ASTM International’s committee on additive manufacturing technologies (F42) plans to develop international standards based on each through a new licensing agreement. Notably, ASTM International has a pre-existing partner standards development organisation (PSDO) agreement with ISO (in additive manufacturing) that allows for the creation of joint ASTM International/ISO standards. BSI, as the UK member of ISO, will be able to adopt these international standards as the UK national standard.