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Finishing Spotlight: ASTM Committee B08 Explored

September - 2008
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As a follow up to last month's Last Word column, "Seattle's Space Needle and a Century of Standards", we've decided to shine this month's Finishing Spotlight on the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials), and more specifically on the ASTM Committee B08 on Metallic and Inorganic Coatings. The ASTM Committee B08 is very near and dear to the Metal Finishing industry in that they dedicate much of their time and energy to issuing specifications on metallic and inorganic coatings and electroformed materials and products. Some of these coatings include those produced via the electroplating process, autocatalytic (electroless) plating, immersion plating, vacuum processes (such as vacuum metallizing, sputtering, and ion plating), chemical conversion, anodic oxidation, hot dipping, thermal coating processes, porcelain, enamel, and ceramic metal coatings, and so on.

Amazingly, despite such a large jurisdiction (they are in charge of over 132 standards, maintained by 8 technical subcommittees) ASTM Committee B08 is only comprised of a handful of volunteers, representing a couple finishing suppliers, OEM's, and practitioners. As Milt Stevenson, Jr, CEF, Chief Technology & Environmental Officer of Anoplate Corporation puts it,

"With 132 specifications to maintain, as well as new coating methods and processes coming on the scene that require standardization (such as non-hex chromates, cad replacements, etc.) the B08 Committee could certainly use some new members from the ranks of the finishing industry willing to volunteer their time and talent to this all too often overlooked and underappreciated work".

The committee is in charge of "developing and preparing specifications, methods of tests, practices, guides, definitions and terminology applicable to the properties of the coatings and electroforms, to their performance in use and test, and to the processes and materials used to produce them". (Source: ASTM website). Additionally, Committee B08 is responsible for organizing and presenting meetings and exchanges where technical information can be shared and disseminated. They also publish a variety of technical publications and other documents and papers. Some of these include their contribution to the Annual Book of ASTM Standards, Special Technical Publications like STP 947 Testing of Metallic and Inorganic Coatings, and so forth (visit their website for the full list).

Formed in 1941, ASTM Committee B08 has a long history of involvement with the finishing industry. Currently, the Committee meets for technical meetings, twice a year, generally in April and October. Membership is approximated at 121 industry professionals and experts, with about 15 to 20 actively attending the bi-annual meetings. The B08 October 2008 Meeting will take place at the ASTM International Headquarters in West Conshohocken, PA, on Tuesday, October 28, 2008. If you would like to learn more about volunteering or becoming a member of the ASTM Committee B08 or any other ASTM Committee or sub-committee, please visit their website at www.astm.org. Currently, new members get a free book of standards upon joining.

For more details about ASTM B08, you can contact the Committee Staff Manager, Kate McClung, at (610)-832-9717.