Quality Magazine

Additive Manufacturing Gets a "Universal Language"

January 15, 2010

DEARBORN, MI - It’s been called rapid technology, rapid prototyping and layered manufacturing, but additive manufacturing now has a universal name and a universal language, thanks to a collaboration between the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and ASTM International.

“Rapid prototyping has meant different things to different manufacturers. It means quick prototyping to one and layered manufacturing to another. Now it’s called additive manufacturing,” explains Brent Stucker, PhD, a member of SME’s Rapid Technologies and Additive Manufacturing (RTAM) Community and an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Utah State University.

In an effort to eliminate the confusion over terminology, design, testing methods, materials and processing differences, SME’s RTAM community approached ASTM to develop the industry’s first-ever standards.

Stucker, who is also the chairman of Committee F42 says that terminology standards “will help clarify communications” especially in industries like medical manufacturing and aerospace where consistency is a must.

And according to ASTM, these new standards will “allow manufacturers to compare and contrast the performance of different additive processes” and “enable researchers and process developers to provide repeatable results.”

In addition to terminology, Committee F42 will also develop other key industry standards. “Test methods will more than likely be our next effort, but additive manufacturing industry design, materials, and processes are also in the works and will be developed in parallel,” says Stucker. He also adds that ASTM’s Committee F42 is looking for additional members to help draft these standards. “We’re happy to draw expertise from anywhere in the world,” he says.

For more information about participating in RTAM, visit www.sme.org/rtam.