Government launches program to ensure fastener
When engineers specify the use of a nut, bolt, or other fastener in a design,
they can be more confident that it will do the job it is supposed to do. That,
at least, is the hope of drafters of a program that the United States formally
launched on November 25. The final rule ofthe Fastener Quality Act of 1990
pertains to fasteners used in critical configurations, such as the attachment of
engines to fuselages. Especially affected will be fasteners used in automobile,
aerospace, construction, chemical, and machine tool industries. The law, which
Congress amended last March, requires that critical fasteners conform to the
exact specifications represented by the manufacturer. It also provides for
accreditation of laboratories engaged in fastener testing. Inspections, testing,
and certification are to conform with current standards for fasteners. The
fastener regulations also establish a system within the Patent and Trademark Office to record who manufactured the covered fasteners. The aim is to help trace a fastener to its source or to its private label distributor. In addition, the regulations contain provisions on enforcement, civil penalties, and hearing and appeal procedures that the Bureau of Export Administration of the U.S. Commerce
Department will administer.
Insignias, records, credentials among new requirements
What do the fastener regulations require of manufacturers, im-porters, and private-label distributors? First, they must certify that fasteners meet applicable standards. The certification must be based on tests carried out in "accredited laboratories." Also, the manufacturer's trademark or insignia must be on the head of most fasteners. Manufacturers, importers, and private-label distributors cannot commingle fastener lots. Finally, they must keep records of compliance for five years. Technology Services of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has the responsibility for implementing the act.
NIST, others to accredit labs that test fasteners
The fastener act gives NIST and others until next May 27 to accredit laboratories that test fastener products and materials. NIST officials are busy establishing two new programs. One is the Accreditation Body Evaluation Program. Its purpose is to evaluate and approve, or recognize, qualified entities to accredit the laboratories. The other is the NIST Fastener Laboratory Accreditation Program, which NIST will operate in accordance with international standards. Under it, NIST will accredit laboratories directly. To seek accreditation in the second program, laboratories may apply to the NIST National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program. All laboratories in compliance with the act must be named by NIST in an "accredited laboratory list." NIST program manager Subhas G. Malghan tells Design News that about 400 accredited laboratories will be needed to make the fastener law work. Already, he adds, applications from laboratories have been coming in at a rapid pace.
Handbook crammed with facts about machine tool industry
Do you need to keep track of technologies and production capabilities of machine tool industries abroad? The Association of Manufacturing Technology (AMT), headquartered in McLean, VA, has come out with its 1996-97 "Economic Handbook of the Machine Tool Industry." The 250-page publication provides facts from 20 foreign countries, including exports by type of machine tool. It also gives detailed breakdowns by types of machine tools. Both product-specific and country-specific data are included. Sections detail information about capital equipment purchases in five major consuming industries. Compiled from hundreds of domestic and foreign sources, the handbook also includes an explanation of terms used by people in machine tool industries around the globe. The publication costs nonmembers of AMT $150 plus $5 for postage and handling. To order, phone AMT's publications order desk at (703) 827-5204.
Product certification systems in private sector catalogued
A revised directory published by NIST lists 178 organizations that provide product certification services in the United States. Included are organizations that administer a certification program and certify that products meet particular criteria. The publication lists the products that each outfit certifies. It also summarizes activities of organizations that operate solely within the United States, those that operate in both the United States and abroad, and those that operate as the U.S. component of an international program. You can get copies of the "Directory of U.S. Private Sector Product Certification Programs" from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC. Phone (202) 512-1800 and ask for stock no. 003-003-03414-2.