How does a standard become the “Standard”?
To begin with, what is a standard? A standard is an agreed way of doing something with the collective wisdom of the people involved in setting it. It is a tedious process as described in this article that exclusively pertains to EOS/ESD Association, Inc. standards development.
For those not involved in the process, the standards development and revision process can appear to be a lot like consulting some hallowed oracle with edicts or directives that cannot be questioned. While the standards development process can be rather protracted at times, its intent is to bring together the best understanding that the industry has on the subject and to release a document that will guide the industry on the topic in question. It is a service of setting methods and providing a framework for all users to follow the same documented procedure. The standards that EOS/ESD Association, Inc. releases are American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited consensus standards. Consensus standards are standards developed through a process that is intended to represent a consensus of the industry affected. In EOS/ESD Association, Inc., consensus is achieved by the review process of the document through the Standards Committee (STDCOM). STDCOM, by necessity consists of experts from across the electronics industry and it has the responsibility for the standards approval process.
But there are multiple steps and reviews before a document is released. EOS/ESD Association, Inc. has several different standards documents including standard practices, standard test methods, and standards. In addition, the Association also issues technical reports that are not ANSI accredited documents but are more technical or educational in nature. Each of these documents has a working group (WG) assigned to it consisting of people interested in that particular topic. Each WG is responsible for the development and maintenance of documents related to a focus area. Thus, there are groups that discuss topics ranging from garments, ionization, and packaging to ESD models such as human body model and charged device model to areas like board design and layout techniques. For a complete list of WGs, current activities, and upcoming meeting schedules please visit https://esda.org/committees/standards-working-groups/.
There are four defined stages to developing a standard, standard test method, or a standard practice document: 1) work-in-progress (WIP), 2) consensus body voting, 3) industry review, and 4) final publication.
A WIP document is developed by a WG, after initial research has been completed to determine the scope of a new document, and a work statement that identifies the proposed scope and purpose of the new document is approved by the Technical Advisory and Support (TAS) committee. TAS is comprised of approximately 8 to 10 industry experts, who have long-term experience and knowledge of the industry and the document development process. Once the WG completes the development of the WIP document, it is reviewed and approved by TAS before moving to the consensus body vote. Technical reports, however, unlike the other documents, are reviewed and approved by TAS only, before moving to the publication stage since these are not ANSI accredited documents.
As mentioned above, the EOS/ESD Association’s consensus body voting machine is the Standards Committee (STDCOM); which is comprised of users, suppliers, and general interest members from industry. The consensus body maintains balance and openness, with no one interest category exceeding 50% of membership. STDCOM members are required to review and vote on WIP documents during a 30-day period. Any comments submitted with a STDCOM vote are discussed and adjudicated by the WG members. If technical changes are made to the document as a result of STDCOM comments, then the document must complete a recirculation vote. Here the technical changes are presented to STDCOM, and members have the opportunity to reaffirm or change their original vote based on the suggested changes. Once a WIP completes the consensus body voting stage with at least two-thirds approval the document moves forward to industry review as a draft document.
Members of industry are then solicited and selected to participate in a 30-day industry review process, where the reviewers are encouraged to provide comments and feedback to the WG on an overall opinion of the draft document. The call for industry reviewers is placed on social media platforms, like LinkedIn and Facebook.
The industry review draft document is also subject to a 45-day public review through ANSI’s Standards Action. A Board of Standard Review form (BSR8) is filed with ANSI, notifying industry that a new draft document is available for review. Comments submitted by either industry reviewers or public reviewers, are discussed and adjudicated by the WG. If technical changes are made to the document as a result of these comments, the document must complete a STDCOM recirculation vote, where the technical changes are presented to STDCOM. Members at this stage, have the opportunity to reaffirm or change their original vote based on the proposed technical changes.
If there are any outstanding “NO” votes from the previous STDCOM voting then a recirculation vote must be held. The technical comments from the original “NO” vote and attempts to adjudicate said comments, are presented to STDCOM. At this point, members have the opportunity to reaffirm or change their original vote based on the circumstances surrounding the “NO” vote information provided. Once the draft document completes the industry review and ANSI public review stages, it moves forward to publication.
The document is prepared for publication by the EOS/ESD Association, Inc. headquarters staff and distributed to the STDCOM chair, TAS chair, assigned TAS representative, and WG chair for final review. At this time a BSR9 form, notifying ANSI that the document has gone through the EOS/ESD Association’s standards development process, is also filed with ANSI for final approval. Once approval is received from all reviewers and ANSI the document is officially published.
Once a document has been published, the five-year review period clock begins. Every five years, each WG is required to review the document and determine if any changes are needed. If the WG determines that industry feedback, technology, or other reasons exist that require technical edits to the document, the document returns to WIP and follows the same process as a new WIP document. If no technical revisions are necessary, the document is presented to STDCOM for a reaffirmation vote and then publication.
Standardization is a vital part of the ESD industry! Join with us, network with other ESD professionals and industry experts. Become involved in the document development process. Know what’s happening in the industry first; discover valuable information on best practices, state of the art industry, and technology advances, as well as technology forecasts, trends, and roadmaps.
This is an excellent opportunity for you to benchmark your organization against other industry leaders. Participation can provide you opportunities in reducing operating costs, improving the time needed for learning and new product development as well assisting in closure of your current ESD related issues. Also consider the impact involvement can have on your personal professional development, enhanced job performance, and overall motivation and marketability.
EOS/ESD Association, Inc.’s thorough and multiple step document development process supports our mission to be the leader in global standards.
Founded in 1982, EOS/ESD Association, Inc. is a not for profit, professional organization, dedicated to education and furthering the technology Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) control and prevention. EOS/ESD Association, Inc. sponsors educational programs, develops ESD control and measurement standards, holds international technical symposiums, workshops, tutorials, and foster the exchange of technical information among its members and others.