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Notes on the Standardization Roadmap for Additive Manufacturing by America Makes & ANSI

America Makes & ANSI together have released a roadmap for standardization in additive manufacturing. The roadmap summarizes U.S. national and international standardization efforts. It is a useful read for anyone who wants to stay up to date on the ongoing development in standardization in additive manufacturing.

Standardization is important in any industry. It enables clear and precise communication, lowers risks and eliminates ambiguities. STL, the standard data format in additive manufacturing is a great example of a standard which has greatly helped the development of additive manufacturing by providing and open and practical data exchange format for model data, and the criticism it has faced lately for lack of advanced features shows how inadequate standards can hamper growth.

The roadmap was published on Dec 14th, 2016 and has the status of a preliminary draft. Its full title is "Standardization Roadmap for Additive Manufacturing, Version 1.0". The governing body of the roadmap is the America Makes & ANSI Additive Manufacturing Standardization Collaborative (AMSC), which was founded in March of 2016.

America Makes has asked ANSI to coordinate the standardization effort in additive manufacturing. ANSI is a non-profit organization which oversees the development of voluntary standards within the USA and also coordinates those U.S. national standards with international standards.

The roadmap is a summary of the work of the AMSC in 2016. The main part of the document is a gap analysis of standards and specifications. A gap is a topic, subject or area where standardization is needed but does not yet exist. Each gap description is accompanied by a recommendation how the gap can be closed, who should do it, and how important it is.

The document also has other uses, too. First, it lists the organizations or groups within organizations working on standardization. These are the organizations to follow in order to stay up to date on ongoing development. Second, the subjects and topics concerned by the gaps are a representation of the issues developers and users of additive manufacturing are concerned with. And third, it lists a number of standards under development, some of which may be available as working drafts.

The roadmap lists gap in five areas: design, process and materials, qualification & certification, non-destructive evaluation and maintenance.

The roadmap does cover international standardization efforts, but not national efforts outside the United States. VDI 3405 is a specification (german “Richtlinie”) by the Verein Deutscher Ingenieure (society of german engineers, VDI). Blatt 3 (“Blatt” is german for “page”, and here denotes an addition to the specification) of VDI 3405 contains a design guide for powder bed fusion for both metal and polymer. This guide could be useful to any user of powder bed fusion systems but is missing from the roadmap. It is available in english. VDI is the german equivalent of ASME, or other national engineering organizations.

Readers are invited to comment on the standard. The comments neet to be submitted by email to using a specific form. The deadline is January 11th, 2017.

Check out Gramm’s additive manufacturing course to learn more about the state of standardization in additive manufacturing.

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