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.)
As manufacturers add new technologies to their products, designing for compliance becomes more difficult. Prepare for the certification testing process. Otherwise, you increase the risk of discovering a safety issue after a product leaves the assembly line. That will cause significant time-to-market delays, be much costlier to fix, and damage your brand in the eyes of customers.
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