The Society's Standardization Procedure
The Journal of the Society of Automotive Engineers
It is the function of the Society's Standards Committee to formulate, if feasible, standards and recommended practices that will simplify and coordinate routine and engineering practice on all subjects assigned to it by the Council. To facilitate the work, the Standards Committee is resolved into 27 Divisions, each being representative of a particular branch of the industry.
The Standard Committee is presided over by a chairman and two vice-chairmen. Each Division has a chairman and one vice-chairman. The Standards Committee and Division chairmen are designated by the President of the Society, the other personnel of the various Divisions being appointed by the Council. In addition to the Division personnel, Subdivisions are appointed to formulate tentative reports covering important subjects that are under consideration, the Subdivision members being appointed by the Division chairman. The Subdivision chairmen are usually members of the Divisions to which the Subdivisions report, but other Subdivision members are selected from the industries at large to assure the assistance of the best-qualified men in each particular field.
Members of the Standards Committee need not be necessarily members of the Society, such committee members being known as conferees and having all the privileges of regular committee members except that of voting. In selecting members of the Standards Committee importance is placed on obtaining men of broad experience and so far as possible familiarity with standards work. Many of them naturally are associated with the older and better-known companies, but they are selected for their personal qualifications.
Initiation and Procedure
The assignment of subjects to the various Divisions is generally based on requests that have been received from members of the Society or the industry directly affected. Subjects are not assigned by the Council unless their standardization is considered feasible as well as desirable. Upon assignment to the proper Divisions, the various matters are studied with relation to the limiting phases within which standardization can be accomplished and the probable requirements of the industry affected. If a subject is involved, the features that the standard should embody are outlined and an approval of the outline obtained from the companies interested. The industries are then circularized for data representing current practice and suggestions for consideration by the Division members. The information is then, as a rule, referred to a Subdivision for the formulation of a tentative proposal which, when submitted, is referred to the industries for comment. The tentative proposals, together with the comments received, are then referred to the Divisions, and revised to meet all valid objections which may have been made. The division recommendations are then printed in The Journal prior to consideration of them at the next meeting of the Standards Committee.
Division reports may be approved only by the Standards Committee at regular meetings held semi-annually or at special meetings called by direction of the Council. These meetings are open to Society members and non-members alike. The reports are discussed and may be approved as submitted or in revised form or referred back to the respective Divisions for further consideration. After Standards Committee approval the reports go to the Council and if approved are acted upon at a regular business meeting of the Society. The reports may be amended at these meetings but are usually approved as submitted. The reports are then submitted to the voting members of the Society for adoption by letter ballot, a majority of the votes cast being necessary to make the recommendations official SAE Standard or Recommended Practices. The results of the letter ballot are referred to the Council, and in case a recommendation encounters several negative votes supported by sound engineering reasons, the Council may withhold its publication in the SAE Handbook until the reasons submitted shall have been reviewed by the Division making the recommendation.
Although the regulations provide that a majority of votes shall be necessary to approve a recommendation, a recommendation is seldom approved unless the action is practically unanimous. The reasons for this are patent, as well-founded objections to any adopted recommendation would militate against its general reduction to practice, resulting in a "paper standard" only.
The time required for the stated procedure varies from 3 months to in some cases a number of years, depending upon the conditions involved. A large amount of office work is required in corresponding with the industries and members of the Divisions, arranging meetings and keeping progress records.
Subsequent to the Standards Committee meeting, the revisions of the reports together with the discussions thereon are printed in the following issue of The Journal, the revised reports as approved being printed in the next issue of SAE Handbook of data sheets. It is essential that all standards be published in a clear, concise and uniform manner. This was recognized in the beginning by the pioneer members of the Society and its Standards Committee, and the present well-known loose-leaf SAE Handbook has proved the wisdom of selecting this form of publication. Clear detailed drawings with tables and notes are used to set forth the standards and recommended practices. A complete set of the standards goes to all the members of the Society, including the new and revised standards issued twice a year. The complete Handbook is available to non-members of the Society and a single copy of any standard may be obtained upon request to the Society. The standards are not copyrighted, but it is expected that the Society will be given due credit for any of its data reprinted in other publications.
The procedure of revising existing standards is the same as when the subjects are originally considered. As such revisions are not published in the SAE Handbook until they have been approved by letter ballot of the voting members and this procedure usually takes several months, it is well for the interested to ascertain whether a standard is under revision in case production on a design involving the use of SAE Standard is contemplated. Complete information in reference to the current work of the Standards Committee is published regularly in The Journal.