NIST, ANSI pact aims
to fortify U.S. voice in global standards
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has gained a bit more sway in drafting standards at home and abroad. ANSI, a private group, has signed a memorandum of understanding with a federal agency to jointly strengthen the national standards system. The agreement with the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) cites the need for more timely flow of information between private and government sectors. It also calls for improved liaison in decision-making and execution of standards actions. U.S. regulatory agencies affected by voluntary standards now can help in standards development. ANSI President Sergio Mazza claims that the memorandum "ensures that ANSI's representation of U.S. interests is recognized by other players on the international scene." It also increases the effectiveness of federal agencies participating in setting international voluntary standards, he adds. The two organizations agree that ANSI is the recognized U.S. member body to the International Organization for Standardization. NIST, meanwhile, is responsible for making federal agencies aware of ANSI activities within groups forming international standards.
Software simulates effects of using CFC substitutes
Designers of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment can put a new standard reference database into their computers and simulate vapor compression cycles. Called CYCLE_D, the software incorporates data on the 38 pure refrigeration fluids and mixtures contained in NIST's REFPROP database. REFPROP helps predict the efficiency and capacity of equipment that will use alternative fluids for CFCs. Engineers can represent the compressor by either compressor efficiency or their own compressor maps. After plugging in specific refrigerants and hardware parts, users can add data on the parasitic power of the indoor and outdoor fans and the control unit of the system they are simulating. CYCLE_D requires an IBM-compatible personal computer with 2 Mbytes of available space on the hard disk. You can get CYCLE_D for $390 from NIST's Standard Reference Data Program. Phone (301) 975-2208.
European regulators adopting versions of auto crash tests
Following American examples, the European Union plans to conduct crash tests to find out whether new vehicles meet its standards. Legislation calls for technicians to run autos at 35 mph into a deformable barrier with a 40% offset. The tests are similar to those that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted earlier this year on 14 mid-size cars at 40 mph. In another proposed European test, a deformable barrier, traveling at 31 mph, hits the driver's side of a car at a right angle. First tests are to be on autos designed after September 1998.
Newly formed group promotes CALS around the globe
Within 10 years, the CALS program will enable firms to exchange digital information in real time with suppliers and customers around the world. So predict directors of the newly formed International CALS Congress. Business leaders from the U.S., Japan, the United Kingdom, and France are members. Their goal is to help assure that standards used for electronic commerce and enterprise integration are truly international. One director, Henri Martre, honorary chairman of France's Aerospatiale, told Design News of difficulties they face. Product and communication standards differ among countries and among industries. On top of that, too many CAD/CAM systems and their computers are not compatible with CALS standards. CALS started 10 years ago as the Computer-Aided Acquisition and Logistics System of the Department of Defense. Some hopeful directors contend that CALS now stands for Commerce at Light Speed.
Designers in chiller industry draw applause from EPA
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is drafting a report that praises designers in the chiller industry. Chillers are large units that cool through a circulating fluid. The report will assess the impact of standards that call for the phase-out of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). "Using innovation to address the difficulties," a draft of the report states, "the industry pursued a transition out of CFCs even faster than that called for by the Montreal Protocol and U.S. regulations." The agency notes that chiller designers went beyond simply making the change to non-CFC refrigerants. They improved energy efficiency and refrigerant consumption rates. EPA cites several examples: York International introduced a chiller driven by natural gas. The Trane Company used microprocessor-based controls and incorporated an economizer cycle into its machines. Carrier developed a turbine-engine technology that makes chillers up to 17% more efficient than previous units. McQuay International designed a centrifugal chiller with two compressors that can operate at 60% capacity using only one compressor at full load.