Alex Kingsbury has worked in the development of metal technologies, including additive manufacturing and metal powers for the last ten years. Ms Kingsbury is currently the independent expert on ME-028, Additive Manufacturing, and is an Additive Manufacturing Industry Fellow at RMIT University where she leads Engagement for the RMIT Centre for Additive Manufacturing.
Standards Australia (SA): When did you first become involved in standards development?
Alex Kingsbury (AK): In 2018, I received a call regarding the possibility of starting an Additive Manufacturing committee in Australia. I’ve been involved from the start, as I was asked to participate as an independent expert on the committee and I also suggested other people I knew to form the committee.
SA: How do standards impact and interact with your industry?
AK: Standards have a big impact in our industry. 3D printing is still a new field, so the quicker we can develop and deliver standards, the more standardised and reliable we become as an industry. A number of people across the world are involved in standards development for 3D printing, so it is very much a global effort. People in the industry would love for us to move quicker, as there is a compelling need for standards. It’s interesting the way that standards have the ability to reduce costs, by streamlining supply chains, and making our contracting process clear and transparent. The other aspect is we have standards that we can rely on from the market verticals that we feed into, and also adjacent fields. Take for example, aerospace standards for manufacturing, biomedical standards, and also standards around material testing and characterisation. We have been fortunate enough to be able to rely on some of these standards while we go about creating 3D printing specific standards.
SA: Why are accessible standards important?
AK: In addition to the above, I think it’s important that we’re all speaking the same language, and have a common guidebook for how to build, specify, test, measure, and control our processes and parts. Without standards, there is a lot of room for confusion and error. Standards also offer an unbiased, and non-commercially controlled view of 3D printing. This is very important as in the earlier days, when standards were less mature, bigger companies tended to really dictate the terms of any 3D printing transaction. With standards in place, smaller companies have more chance of being competitive. With more companies competing on an even playing field, we get better results for end-users, and ultimately, more acceptance of 3D printing technologies.
SA: What is the future of standardisation in your area of work?
AK: We need more industry-specific standards, for example, a standard on how to clean a 3D printed mesh on a medical implant. We also need standards committees to constantly review the field and emerging trends and respond in a measured, but also in tune way. Currently some types of 3D printing technologies aren’t recognised as 3D printing, yet the industry does recognise them. I also suspect we will see standards being constantly updated. It feels like at the moment the minute a standard is released, there are already new modifications waiting for the next version. Our industry is very globalised, so I think we’ll continue to see it trend that way, with more countries participating in the joint working groups and contributing to standards development.