ISO provides options to committees in drive to speed procedures
Condemned for its slowness in an age of rapidly changing technology, International Organization for Standardization (ISO) technical committees now have the option of taking one of two speedier steps to promote their suggested standards. Once technical experts have agreed upon a possible new or revised guideline, they may publish the text as an ISO Publicly Available Specification, or they could take the old route of circulating the document among national members. If they choose the latter course, they have another new option at the end of the phase of national consensus building. They may then forward the document for further processing as a draft International Standard, as now done, or they may request that it be published as an ISO Technical Specification Agreement. Publicly Available Specifications and Technical Specifications will have a maximum life of six years. After that, they must be processed to become official ISO standards or be withdrawn. Phone Mike Smith, director, Standards Dept., ISO Central Secretariat, Geneva, at +41 22 7 34 12 40.
Increased sophistication in autos stimulates standards activity
The task of TC 22, the ISO technical committee on road vehicles, has increased as autos acquire more equipment and electronics. To keep pace, committee working groups are busy drafting or revising global standards covering recently introduced or required autos parts. One group is updating standards for devices that detect obstacles when vehicles back up. Another group is reviewing the ISO 6722 standard for unscreened, low-tension cables. It is considering guidelines for multicore and ultra-thin-wall cables. A third group is studying on-board electrical connections in potentially hazardous spots, such as auto engines. Other subjects being considered by TC 22 subgroups include: equipment for emission diagnostics; electrical connections between towed and towing vehicles; a new, smaller type of spark plug; rigid plastic safety glazing materials; alarm systems for commercial vehicles; and fuse links with blade-type tabs and bolt-in contacts. For details, e-mail Jean-Paul Cheynet at the Bureau de Normalization de l'automobile in France at firstname.lastname@example.org.†
CAB lines forming to implement trade pact on medical devices
European and U.S. agencies are picking Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) to ease trade in medical devices across the Atlantic. The CABs are a key part of a bilateral mutual recognition agreement. CABs in Europe will decide whether medical devices made there conform to American standards, especially requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In return, CABs in the U.S. will determine whether American-made medical devices qualify for Europe's CE Marking certificates. The purpose is to avoid the rejection of shipped products at the shores of the two continents. The agreement is a stopgap arrangement in the absence of sufficient international standards for medical devices. Governmental agencies on both continents are assessing long lists of applicants for CAB roles. The CABs must be independent third-party organizations skilled in technical evaluations. The U.S. government will give special training to those testing European-made devices. The CAB system will undergo a three-year "transitional" period to build user confidence. Phone Kathy P. Lundsten of the Office of Device Evaluation, Food and Drug Administration, at (301) 594-1190.
European groups concur on display of motor efficiency levels
Low-voltage motors should clearly display their efficiency levels just as appliances must do. So says a voluntary code agreed upon by the European Commission and the European Committee of Manufacturers of Electrical Machines and Power Electronics. The code designates classes eff1, eff2, and eff3, fixing a borderline between each class. All efficiency levels are based on the IEC 34-2 and IEC 34-1 standards. Within five years, manufacturers of motors in the lowest eff3 class should strive to cut CO2 volumes by 50% by introducing motors with eff2 efficiency. The levels apply only to four-pole, three-phase, squirrel-cage induction motors rated for 400V, 50 Hz. The groups are now formulating an agreement for two-pole motors. Phone Sven Sjoberg (Vasteras, Sweden) at +46 (0) 21 329000 or FAX +46 (0) 21 124 103.
Paper highlights welding, nondestructive evaluation standards
Standards activities that affect welding and the general field of nondestructive evaluation are worldwide. America's National Institute of Standards and Technology details them in a newly published paper. Among the document's subjects are ISO's 64 standards that apply directly to the inspection of welds in structures. For a copy of "The International Standards System and NDE" send an e-mail to Sarabeth Harris at email@example.com.