“Standardisation is a dynamic and continuous process … the only valid standard is the latest edition available.” –The International Organisation for Standards [ISO].
The pulp and paper industry is complex, highly technical and dependent on robust, agreed standard methods. While some internal (“in-house”) methods exist, commercial transactions depend upon the availability of external (National and/or International) standards, as does also process and product development.
Standards are not chiselled in stone: They are living documents and require regular review. Reviewing standards is one of the tasks of the Appita Testing Standards Committee, more formally known as Committee PK-019 of Standards Australia International (“SAI”), which organisation maintains a close working relationship with Standards New Zealand (“SNZ”).
Committee PK-019 comprises representatives of paper and pulp producers, of paper testing instrument manufacturers & suppliers and of specialised research organisations. The two Main Objectives of the Committee are:
(a) To develop and maintain a system of standard test methods for the pulp and paper industry; these methods to be published as joint Australian/New Zealand standards by SAI and SNZ (so-called “AS/NZS” methods). Where possible, these joint standards will be identical to the relevant ISO standards.
(b) To participate in the development and maintenance of international (ISO) standard test methods, with the aim of achieving uniformity between countries.
The Committee seeks to achieve consensus on matters of interest by taking into account the views of all parties concerned. Consensus, however, need not imply unanimity.
National standards will always exist: Whenever a local industry requires a new standard for any reason, the only feasible option is to arrange for a National standard to be developed: ISO requires multi-national consensus (hence is very cumbersome and slow) and could never respond promptly in this situation even if – sometimes – ISO eventually does “reverse clone” a standard previously developed by a National standards body.
Most of the work of the Committee is conducted by e-mail, with face-to-face meetings conducted typically once every 18 months.
There are currently 70 AS/NZS standard methods and Committee PK-019 aims to routinely review these methods for the pulp and paper industry. After review, any revision to the text of a method is advised to SAI and SNZ for them to arrange, through a ballot process, the formal acceptance of the revised method as the official standard method. Any completely new method is similarly processed after the text has been developed by Committee PK-019.
Where possible, however, the Committee’s goal is to always consider direct text adoption of appropriate ISO methods for these to become AS/NZS methods. Situations do arise, however, when an ISO method is found to be inappropriate for use in Australia and/or New Zealand without some modification.
ISO standard methods
Only national standards organisations, such as SAI and SNZ, can be members of the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO). ISO functions through a variety of Technical Committees, TC6 being that devoted to the pulp and paper industry. Since 1976, SAI and SNZ have relied on Committee PK-019 to represent them in all aspects of TC6 operations. In this way, the Committee has valuable access to and influence on decisions relating to existing and proposed new ISO standards.
The Chairman of Committee PK-019 takes part in the meetings of TC6 that occur every 18 months and is allowed two votes – one for Australia and one for New Zealand – whenever the occasion arises.
Direct costs for the ATSC’s activities arise from the work of the Chairman and Secretary (charged on an hourly rate) and from any associated travel expenses. The total cost is apportioned to the organisations represented by the members of the Committee. SAI accepts most of the expenses associated with the Chairman’s participation at TC6 meetings.
It is in the best interests of paper manufacturers, their raw material & equipment suppliers and their customers that the standards review activities provided by Committee PK-019 continue to be positively supported.