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ASTM forms new robotics group to develop standards for grasping and manipulation technologies

ASTM International’s committee on robotics, automation, and autonomous systems (F45) has formed a new subcommittee on grasping and manipulation.

This new subcommittee (F45.05) of ASTM (formerly known as American Society for Testing and Materials) will develop standards that evaluate performance in several major areas of robotic manipulation.

The first three task groups of the committee will develop standards for performance of grasping type end-effectors, mobile manipulators, and robotic assembly systems, covering their use in both fixed and mobile base systems.

Aaron Prather, ASTM International’s new director of robotics and autonomous systems programs, says that these standards will help speed up deployments and cut wasteful spending on selecting the wrong tool.

Prather notes the subcommittee supports UN Sustainable Development Goal #9 on industries, innovation, and infrastructure.

Prather says: “As robotics and automation continue to expand into new and diverse industries, performance standards that help end users better select their end-effectors and/or manipulators to the task they are working on will be key.

“Seeing the number of experts from across the world joining this work, shows just how much this group is needed.”

The subcommittee will be initially headed by two co-chairs, Joe Falco and Omar Aboul-Enein, both from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Experts from countries around the world, including Germany, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States are participating in the committee, with more welcome.

Out of six proposed standards currently planned for development, the subcommittee plans to register two by the end of 2022, on grasp strength and finger repeatability.

Monthly calls will be held for the task groups through 2023, and ASTM is inviting participation in the development of its standards. Interested parties can visit for more information.

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