As 3D printing technology explodes, the fragmented industry is attempting to bring order to its go-go growth with standards. The goal of standards is to bring coherence and interoperability to 3D printing products and processes globally.
Last year, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) – a group formally involved in standards development – joined with the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, known as America Makes to create a standards initiative. The two groups launched the Additive Manufacturing Standardization Collaborative (AMSC) to accelerate the development of industry-wide additive manufacturing standards and specifications to facilitate the growth of the additive manufacturing industry.
3D Printing Standards Roadmap
In February, AMSC published a standardization roadmap for additive manufacturing. The roadmap identifies existing standards and specifications, as well as those in development. The roadmap also assesses gaps, and makes recommendations for priority areas where there is a perceived need for additional standardization.
The roadmap includes a list of standards that are directly or peripherally related to the issues described in the roadmap. “The OEMs making the printers and material in 3D printing have proprietary standards,” Jim McCabe, senior director at ANSI told Design News. “We believes industry standards can help users verify that the products will perform as they claim they will.”
McCabe was on hand at the recent Atlantic Design and Manufacturing conference in New York. He presented the session, The Development of Additive Manufacturing Standards – What’s Next, which outlined the progress in standards development while also pointing out what’s left to do.
“Our role is to drive the development of standards among standards development organizations, so the left hand will know what the right hand is doing,” said McCabe. “We also help work to help companies determine where to allocate resources to support standardization. This process is open to anyone doing business in the US.”
Creating a Safe and Efficient Playing Field
McCabe outlined the needs for 3D printing standards, explaining they will spur innovation and growth while also enabling interoperability of products, processes and systems. “Standards will lower research and development costs, and they will promote quality and efficiency across global supply chains,” said McCabe. “They will reduce time to market, reduce liability, and protect safety, health, and the environment.”
The role of AMSC in the process will be to coordinate and accelerate the development of these standards, and make them consistent with the needs of both manufacturers and users. The roadmap AMSC delivered in February was created to identify existing standards as well as those in development. The document points out gaps and makes recommendations for prioritizing additional standardization. The roadmap is available here.
He noted the areas where AMSC is not planning to tread. “AMSC’s charter does not include developing standards or specifications,” said McCabe. “Rather, we hope to help drives coordinated activity among standards developing organizations.”
Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 17 years, 15 of them for Design News. Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years, he was owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.
Image courtesy of ANSI