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Starting with standards

My Take | September 4, 2015 | By:

There’s something about the topic of regulations, standards and testing that makes very bright, articulate people pause in silence. It’s not that they don’t understand the topic; it’s that it is such a complicated—and large—topic for a single discussion.

Impossible, maybe.

But let’s start with this our feature, “Determining relevance in standards and testing,”by Dr. Haskell Backham. Then let’s keep it going with special exhibits and programming at IFAI Expo (Oct. 7-9) and the Advanced Textiles Conference (Oct. 6-7) in Anaheim, Calif.

One can argue that without a single, governing body overseeing all standards for textiles, it falls to each company (or their customers) to figure it out. (This is addressed in the article mentioned above.) In truth, most companies follow standards that go beyond those regulated by law. The voluntary standards are more stringent and meeting them can make a company’s products more competitive.

Knowing which standards are required and which ones are desirable for a given textile or application is the challenge for industry participants—and there are few simple answers. How does one decide which standards for what textiles, used in certain applications and under what circumstances? There are so many variables, and so many voluntary standards that sorting it all out can require a lot of patience. Furthermore, new products are developed faster than the standards for evaluating them, which means customized (or fully custom) testing may be needed.

So, is there a process that one can follow? That’s not an easy question, either. But Dr. Beckham’s article is a very good place to start.

Janet Preus is senior editor of Advanced Textiles Source.

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