ASABE Provides Expertise in Standards for Production of Bulk Commodities

Tuesday, May 02, 2023
ASABE Provides Expertise in Standards for Production of Bulk Commodities

Agricultural and biological engineers are experts in improving efficiency, safety, and marketability. ASABE plays a pivotal role in supporting that expertise internationally and ensuring it benefits those who need it, particularly through the development of engineering standards. 

Among the industries that benefit are those involved with handling bulk agricultural commodities, along with the manufacturers of food and feed machinery used in processing. The U.S. is leading an international standards project on safety for feed machinery. Carol Jones, PhD, PE, is spearheading that work. Jones is an agricultural engineer with CL Jones Consulting, LLC, and professor emeritus of biosystems and agricultural engineering at Oklahoma State University.

“In the global market, standards are increasingly essential,” says Jones. “They give guidance for manufacturing and quality assurance to customers. In marketing, standards are a way of speaking the same ‘language.’ Customers have the ability to compare products and services using a common criteria.” 

Globally recognized and ANSI accredited, ASABE maintains more than 275 engineering standards, nearly half of which are American National Standards. In addition, ASABE serves as administrator for the US mirror committees to a number of ISO technical committees, including two related to bulk commodities: ISO/TC 293 Feed machinery and ISO/TC 326 Machinery intended for use with foodstuffs (food processing machinery).

Participation in the development process provides manufacturers a valuable opportunity to influence the content of the standards that affect their industry.

ASABE recently took the message of standards development to an industry event, the Powder Show, in Chicago. “A booth at the Powder Show allows ASABE to reconnect with current committee members and connect with new participants interested in standardizing safe design of new bulk commodity handling and processing equipment and systems,” says Scott Cedarquist, ASABE’s director of standards and technical.

Jones says that standards are sometimes seen as inhibiting creativity and innovative design, but that a well-written standard that can stand the test of time is specific enough to address a need in the marketplace without impeding innovation in design and service. “Writing standards,” says Jones, “is therefore a collaborative process that considers the scope of the standard without narrowly specifying design details.   

The process is labor intensive and relies on both key expertise and industry support.

“Correctly identifying the scope of a standard may be the most important step in establishing a useful standard,” says Jones. “Standards reflect the identified need for a baseline consistency in an industry as well as the culture of the industry and the customers of our products or services.”

ASABE encourages participation in its 200-plus standards committees, including those for bulk commodities. Those wishing to learn more can find information online and contact Scott Cedarquist with questions.