The Fastener Quality Act (FQA) of 1990 is on hold again. The latest in a series of postponements now sets the implementation date at October 25, 1998. That is 90 days later than the most recent previous start date. "Critical" fasteners made after the final date must be tested by an accredited laboratory or produced by an approved manufacturing plant. The act sets up a national program to ensure that certain nuts, bolts, and other fasteners used in "critical situations"--such as the attachment of aircraft engines to fuselages--conform to specifications. By early July, the Clinton Administration had succeeded in completing approval of only about 250 of some 450 testing labs needed to carry out FQA. For more information, contact the Commerce Department's Subhas G. Malghan (FAX: (301) 975-5414; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Two researchers from Cornell University have won a $100,000 grant from NASA to continue work to develop an energy-harvesting robotic eel the space agency aims to use to explore oceans on one of the moons of Jupiter.
Is the factory smarter than it used to be? From recent buzzwords, you’d think we’ve entered a new dimension in industrial plants, where robots run all physical functions wirelessly and humans do little more than program ever more capable robotics. Some of that is actually true, but it’s been true for a while.
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