Should international standards for quality management be combined with those for environmental management? No, concludes a technical advisory group set up by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). A better approach, the panel says after a year-long study, is to make the ISO 9000 quality series and the ISO 14000 environmental series more compatible. That would make it easier for businesses to implement both, if they desire. The job of ironing out conflicts between the two sets of standards, the group adds, should be finished by 2000 or 2001. Among suggested changes: Relevant terms and definitions should be identical, and there should be consistent use of terminology in both families of standards. Also, management system and auditing standards should be aligned as much as possible. An objective should be a common core document, with accompanying separate modules on quality and environment. ISO's Technical Management Board is studying the recommendations. The board meets next month.
According to a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, one of the factors in the collapse of the original World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001, was the reduction in the yield strength of the steel reinforcement as a result of the high temperatures of the fire and the loss of thermal insulation.
Robots are getting more agile and automation systems are becoming more complex. Yet the most impressive development in robotics and automation is increased intelligence. Machines in automation are increasingly able to analyze huge amounts of data. They are often able to see, speak, even imitate patterns of human thinking. Researchers at European Automation
call this deep learning.
The promise of the Internet of Things (IoT) is that devices, gadgets, and appliances we use every day will be able to communicate with one another. This potential is not limited to household items or smartphones, but also things we find in our yard and garden, as evidenced by a recent challenge from the element14 design community.
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