Agreements seek to simplify ISO 9000 compliance system
The crazy-quilt arrangement used to verify that companies follow international quality management guidelines is getting rewoven. The overhaul is happening outside the Organization for Standardization (ISO), which issued the ISO 9000 series of standards. Six European bodies that accredit ISO 9000 registrars recently agreed to recognize each other's accreditations. As the result of another accord, there will be fewer multiple certifications of auditor training courses. Four auditor-certification and course-ac- creditation bodies now accept each other's certifications and accreditations. They are: the Quality Society of Australasia; the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand; the International Register of Certificated Auditors, United Kingdom; and the Registrar Accreditation Board, United States. Meanwhile, several large American corporations, led by Hewlett-Packard, have signed a document urging the formation of an internationally recognized conformity system for ISO 9000. Participants in all three endeavors intend to get more groups to join.
ANSI closes Brussels office as Fortress Europe fears fade
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has closed its Brussels office. Liaison with the standards community in Europe continues through ANSI's New York office. ANSI set up the Brussels office in 1989 to strengthen ties with European directorate generals. Back then, many in the U.S. worried about the approach of an economic Fortress Europe. "These fears have now largely disappeared," ex-plains Gary Kushnier, ANSI vice president for international policy. Meanwhile, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology has assigned a public affairs specialist, Roger A. Rensberger, as standards officer at the United States Mission to the European Union in Brussels.
Now Internet users can surf ISO files
Need to keep close tab on ISO activities? The Geneva-based organization has launched ISO Online, an electronic information service. You can tap it on Internet via the World Wide Web. All material is in English and French. Among services on ISO Online are a full catalog of ISO standards and drafts, lists of ISO members in 108 countries, meeting calendars of the 185 ISO technical committees, and reports from the ISO 9000 Forum information service. You cannot get full texts of standards on Internet, but ISO Online tells you how to order them and other publications. To use ISO Online, connect to this Uniform Resource Locator: http: www.iso.ch/.
Reverse-engineering program detailed in how-to manual
With a rising need to comply with international quality standards, many firms are reverse engineering their own products. Lacking adequate technical data, they are disassembling old-line products to detect how they were designed from the component level up. Sound reverse engineering is a delicate step-by-step process, according to a new guidebook published by McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York, NY. Kathryn A. Ingle, program manager for Martin Marietta Energy Systems, wrote the book, simply titled "Reverse Engineering." She notes that "not many manufacturers have considered using reverse engineering in the past, since it was perceived as a form of patent or design infringement." Ingle recommends that companies divide reverse engineering of hardware into four stages. They are design evaluation, technical data generation, design verification, and project implementation. Engineers enjoy the middle two stages best, she claims. Reverse-engineering programs are more likely to stumble on the other two steps. "Data collection and the economic aspects," Ingle writes, "are often not as interesting to design engineers."
Revised cabling standards inspire new products
After deliberating for nearly two years, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) this year issues new standards for Category 5 cabling. Many firms already are coming out with products conforming to TIA's proposed standards. This was clear at the recent ComNet '95 trade show in Washington, DC. Fluke Corp. of Everett, WA, introduced the DSP-100 LAN CableMeter, a hand-held tool designed to meet the new standards for testing installed Category 5, ISO and IEC local-area-network cabling to 100 MHz. The device uses digital signal processing that follows the proposed Level II requirement. Fluke says DSP-100 provides faster test speeds than current analog testers and can find crosstalk faults. 3M Telecom Systems Division, of Austin, TX, unveiled a nonadhesive connector that makes fiber-optic connections faster than epoxy. The 3M-brand Crimplok® connectors meet the proposed TIA/EIA-568 Commercial Building Tele-communications Cabling Standard specifications for strength, environmental stability, and durability. The connectors use a conformable metal element that requires no curing.
--Walter Wingo, Editor