TROY, MICH. - Despite continued concerns of processors that ISO standards are difficult and costly to acquire, resin producers still push the Campus database, and are converting more specifications for thermoplastics to the international standards. Campus is an acronym for computer-aided material preselection by uniform standards. Data for the standards is generated through tests specified by the Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization.
Campus was launched in Germany in 1988 as a standard form of testing TP materials, and was introduced to North America in 1994. Forty-one resin makers participate, and have presented standard test data on more than 4,500 TP engineering resins.
The participants pay $5,000 to be licensed under the Campus program and provide their customers data free of charge. The suppliers' data is comparable, but a separate computer program must be used to merge the data for on-screen comparisons. That computer program - MC-Merge - is produced by M-Base GmbH of Aachen, Germany. It is marketed in North America by McGraw-Hill Inc. through Modern Plastics magazine.
Ranganath Shastri, who was worldwide chairman of the Campus managing group from August 1995 to August 1996, said the resins represented in Campus data are those most in use today.
``We characterized the 20 percent of the engineering resins that are used 80 percent of the time,'' he said, adding that resin firms are continuing to develop specifications for resins not now in the Campus program.
Shastri is development leader for Dow Plastics Materials Engineering Center in Midland, Mich.
At an Aug. 27 conference in Troy, sponsored jointly by the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. of Washington and resin makers involved in the Campus program, several processors said they had problems getting copies of the standards from ISO, and those they could get were expensive, costing $40-$100. ISO charges so much for the standards because they are a primary source of income for the organization.
Shastri said resin producers are aware of the program's drawbacks, but are forging ahead with hope that as the program becomes more complete, ASTM standards will be changed to reflect the criteria as ISO standards, making the ISO standards more readily available and less costly.
Also, he said resin producers are aware of difficulties caused by not having all resin manufacturers participate.
``This program will make it cheaper to do testing after I die,'' one of the 150 automotive engineers said during a question-and-answer period at the conference. ``For a long time, molders will have to test to both [ASTM and ISO] methods.''
``That may be true,'' responded Stephen Watson, senior technical consultant for DuPont Engineering Polymers of Wilmington, Del. ``However, we have to end the worldwide proliferation of test standards and get one set of standard tests. We have to break the chain.''
Shastri said Campus is moving swiftly within three testing frameworks: mechanical tests, the simplest forms of testing that provide single-point test data; thermal effects and different processing parameters; and environmental influences.While the first two frameworks are established, the third still is being developed, he noted.
Shastri said the Campus program is about one-third of the way to being complete, even though it publishes specifications for the majority of engineering resins in use today.