From 25 to 28 January 2016, we attended the joint ISO/ASTM standardisation meeting in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, USA. This was the third event of the International Organisation for Standardisation that we attended for the 3DP-RDM feasibility study. It was an opportunity to meet new faces and to also continue and update conversations and discussions on the future of 3DP-RDM with key experts in the area.
The main event for us was the session of ISO TC261 WG4 which is responsible for design- and data-related aspects of standardisation for Additive Manufacturing. Dr Eujin Pei, the Principal Investigator of the 3DP-RDM feasibility study, is also the Convenor of this working group. Key points of the meeting were the future inclusion of 4D printing, the development of design rules guide for 3D printing, and an updated presentation on data transfer standards for AM.
During the meeting, members of WG4 discussed the current state of adoption of the AMF standard in different software packages and the continued adoption across different industries. We also listened to the results of an ad-hoc group examining the current status of general 3DP data representation standards. This included a comparison of the existing standards AMF, STEP and STEP-NC and the concluding recommendation was to examine the data requirements of 3DP.
The session further offered an opportunity to compare the ongoing standardisation work in 3DP with the development of the STEP-NC program, which follows a similar, yet conceptually different approach of data standardisation by standardising the control codes of manufacturing machines, starting with those for subtractive manufacturing, but now slowly entering the AM area as well.
In this context, we used the opportunity to present our own ongoing research, our chosen methods and preliminary results of investigating the impact of data transfer standards in the context of 3DP-RDM. We were able to conduct a number of interesting discussions around our research project, giving us further insights into how 3DP experts see the future of 3DP in the larger landscape of manufacturing, and confirming the general interest of both academia and practice in a continued development of 3DP data transfer standards for the future. The next joint ASTM F42 and ISO TC261 meeting will take place in July 2016 in Tokyo, Japan.