On March 3, 2020, SAC, MIIT, along with the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Education, the National Medical Products Administration, and the Chinese Academy of Engineering jointly published the “Action Plan for Standards Leading the Development of the Additive Manufacturing Industry”. The document aims to implement the policy of the central government concerning quality enhancement and standards leading the development of emerging industries.
The document proposes that by 2022, China should develop 80-100 additive manufacturing standards involving proprietary materials, manufacturing techniques, equipment, software, test methods, and service; promote 2-3 Chinese additive manufacturing technologies or standards to become international standards, and raise the conversion rate of additive manufacturing international standards up to 90%.
To help reach these targets, the document states the following tasks:
- Construct and improve China’s additive manufacturing standards system.
- Develop standards for not only those mentioned above in the targets, but also the application in specific industries such as aerospace, biomedical, and nuclear industries.
- Strengthen international standardization cooperation by tracking the development of international standards, establishing corresponding working groups with reference to international working groups, synchronizing the development of domestic standard projects and international standard projects, and parallelly developing English and Chinese versions of Chinese standards.
- Improve the working mechanism for setting standards by facilitating the coordination of TCs/SCs/WGs in the whole industry chain and establish the working mechanism of jointly proposing, formulating and managing cross- industry standards.
- Facilitate the implementation of additive manufacturing standards through the demonstration application and the “Top Runners” evaluation.
SAC/TC562 (Additive Manufacturing), with its secretariat in the China Productivity Centre for Machinery, is the major standardization organization responsible for developing additive manufacturing national standards. The organization was established in 2016 and has developed 7 national standards, 3 of which are converted (MOD) from ISO standards. There are also 18 additive manufacturing national standards being developed by this organization, 5 of which are based on ISO standards. Apart from SAC/TC562, SAC/TC243 (Nonferrous Metals) is another standardization organization in the standardization of additive manufacturing. This TC has developed 1 national standard and 1 sector standard and is formulating 7 other national standards. In terms of association standards, active standardization organizations include the Guangdong Addictive Manufacturing Association, China Biomedical Engineering Association, China Association of Machinery Manufacturing Technology, China Association for Medical Devices Industry, Zhongguancun Standardization Association, and Chinese Mechanical Engineering Society. They have developed 12 association standards for additive manufacturing equipment, process, materials, testing methods, and fundamental principles.
Internationally, ISO/TC261, CEN/TC438, and ASTM F42 are the main players in additive manufacturing standardization. ISO by now has published 14 standards and is formulating another 31, CEN/TC438 has published 12 and is formulating 29, and ASTM F42 has published 14 and is formulating 41. China’s additive manufacturing standardization is lagging behind their international peers. Moreover, the three international standardization organizations have reached an agreement on jointly developing a unified additive manufacturing standards system. China is hence eager to accelerate its standardization work and expand its influence globally in this emerging technical area, given its aspiration of being a manufacturing power.
Considering many of Chinese additive manufacturing standards are being formulated and the conversion rate of international standards is still low, European stakeholders should actively get involved in and affect the development of these standards.