Since 1880, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has developed codes and standards for mechanical devices. Compliance with these standards is voluntary, but they are used by manufacturers, service providers and governments in over 100 countries to ensure safety and establish best practices. ASME was originally founded as a response to a rash of catastrophic failures of boilers. Since then, it has broadened beyond the US, creating international standards to serve as guidance for the design and construction of equipment across a multi-disciplinary field.
Voluntary Compliance & Global Impact
As mentioned earlier, ASME has no enforcement powers. However, some governments have codified the organization’s standards into laws. Other American and international standards organizations reference ASME’s standards in their own works. Even without a mandatory compliance mechanism, following ASME’s standards is considered best practice by industries and vendors.
Not surprisingly, it takes a while for a standard with potential global impact to become published. New standards are released every two years, but the process of creating or updating those standards is ongoing.
How ASME Standards are Created
The work begins when a request for guidance or clarification is sent to ASME’s executive committee – either from within the organization or from an outside party. The proposal is sent down to a relevant subcommittee that focuses on the technology, process or material involved. These subcommittees are comprised of industry and scientific experts in their relevant fields.
Roles of Subcommittees and Task Groups
From the subcommittee, a task group is formed to examine the question. The task group will review, research and eventually decide whether or not a standard or update is needed. The subcommittee meets three times a year. The task group presents its findings to the subcommittee, who will further review and then draft a proposal for its members to vote on. If it passes, it is sent up to the executive committee for review and final approval. An approval at this point results in the new or updated standard being published. While some standards are revolutionary, such as those involving additive (3D printing) manufacturing, others can be incremental updates.
Annually, over 250 ballots are issued through the standards committee regarding a combination of new and recirculated (updated) standards.
Astro Pak Support of ASME
Astro Pak has long supported the work of the ASME and has a lasting history of participation by its subject matter experts. The company continues to support Patrick Banes, who retired from Astro Pak last year. Mr. Banes has been a member of ASME since 2002 and helped raise the standards for cleaning, passivation and electropolishing of stainless steel surfaces. He currently heads the surface finish subcommittee.
Daryl Roll, Astro Pak’s senior technical advisor on corrosion, surface chemistry and the passivation of stainless steel, serves on the BPE subcommittees for Surface Finish and Metallic Materials of construction requirements. Additionally, he contributes to the Rouge and Passivation task groups and is presently co-authoring a research paper investigating the need to include the weld bead with the HAZ (Heat Affected Zone) when setting weld standards criteria.
Regional Technical Sales Manager Jordan Schaecher is a member of the Surface Finish and Material Joining subcommittee. Individually, they bring their knowledge and experience to assist in the development of timely standards that reflect the ongoing progression of science and technology. At the same time, their work privies them to developments in their respective and related fields.