AMEC Series: How Current Aerospace Specifications Get Revised – Part 4 of 5

posted on 03.05.13

All specifications are reviewed on a five-year basis.  With over 2000 AMS documents in the AMS Metals Group, we typically tackle about 400 per year, or 200 per biannual meeting cycle.  If a need for technical change is identified during this Five Year Review Process, or if anyone reports a problem or concern with a specification (regardless of the amount of time since the last revision), the Chairperson of the applicable committee can authorize a project to revise an AMS.

Action to revise an AMS, therefore, requires concurrence from the specific committee of jurisdiction (AMS Committees B, D, E, F, G, or AMEC).

A key point is that AMS rules prohibit downgrading a specification during the revision process.  This means that technical requirements (i.e., tensile strength, fracture toughness, etc.) can not be lessened, thereby protecting users who have already designed product relying on the original material properties.  In such a case, a new specification would be created with other (lower) properties and the original specification inactivated or cancelled, as applicable, rather than downgrade the original specification.

Summary of the specification revision process:

Anyone can request revision of an existing AMS by providing written justification to the Chairperson of the committee with jurisdiction (listed on the final page of each document).  However, most revisions begin with the Five Year Review Process.  During committee meetings, members sign-up for which AMS documents they wish to sponsor from a list that is circulated.

Committee Chairperson authorizes the project.

During the committee meetings, New Project Request forms for the 5–year review list of AMS’s are initiated by a designated committee member.  For revisions that are initiated outside of committee meetings, the sponsor initiates a New Project Request form.

SAE will send to the Editorial Consultant a copy of the AMS in MS Word format with “Track Changes” ON..  The Editorial Consultant will markup this document with any previously accepted editorial changes deemed applicable, using guidance from the SAE AMS Editorial Style Manual.   The Editorial Consultant will then forward it to the Sponsor for use as a starting template.

Sponsor reviews the AMS for technical accuracy, contacting other producers and users as required.  Technical errors/updates, missing requirements, and improper requirements are examples of technical items requiring ballot and action by the committee.  Sponsor types these changes into the document using the “Track Changes” function.  Do not change the font style by manually adding underlines or strike thru’s as “Track Changes” will add these marks automatically.

Sponsor prepares a Change Summary (see below) form to acquaint reviewers with the revision, including justification for each proposed technical change and notation of which committee(s) should receive a ballot.  Form available from Editorial Consultant.

Sponsor forwards the Change Summary form and the Draft Specification to the Editorial Consultant.  Both files are submitted in MS Word format.

Editorial Consultant performs a final check and uploads both files to the SAE Standards Works webpage for posting of the 28-Day ballot.

SAE authorizes the ballot, notifying applicable committee(s) members via email containing a URL link to the Standards Works entry for the 28-Day Ballot.  Each user member is expected to respond; all other members are invited to comment.

Committee members provide their comments as described above in the section REVIEW OF BALLOTS.

After the ballot period concludes, a Summary of Replies and Voting Members list are posted in the Standard Works ballot web page.

Sponsor works to gather any additional approval votes and resolve “T” comments – before the next meeting.  Sponsors should use the Web Forum ballot page to respond to and  disposition “I” comments, prior to the next meeting.  Sponsors may also enter their proposed disposition to each “T” comment in the Web Forum ballot page prior to the next meeting.

During the semi-annual committee meetings sponsor leads a resolution of technical “T” comments by discussion.  The sponsor may find it helpful to have the prepared responses to each “T” comment in a format that can be easily shared during the meetings (e.g. a MS Word document with the original comment and proposed response) so that comments can be resolved efficiently.  Informational “I” comments should be dispositioned by the Sponsor prior to the meetings via e-mail with Editorial Consultant.

Technical changes resulting from discussions after the 28-Day ballot has closed require a 14-Day Affirmation ballot to be issued by SAE.  The Editorial Consultant is responsible for sending the ballot information to SAE for posting.  Extensive technical changes require a subsequent 28-Day ballot, this draft to be prepared from previously balloted MS Word file with “Track Changes” remaining ON prior to incorporating any additional changes.  Technical changes specified and accepted in the initial 28-D ballot do not require a 14-Day Affirmation ballot.

After all balloting has been completed and all issues have been resolved, Editorial Consultant prepares the document for Aerospace Council and forwards to SAE for Aerospace Council balloting.

After balloting to Aerospace Council, the document sponsor reviews and approves the final document prior to publication.

SAE publishes the revised AMS document.

The total cycle time to revise an existing AMS can run as short as 3 months or as long as several years, depending on the issues to be resolved, the priority established by the committee, and the efficiency of the sponsor to anticipate problems and resolve concerns while following the above process steps.