Single auditing standard sought for ISO 9000 and ISO 14000
Can audits for quality and environmental management systems be successfully combined? Officials of the Int'l Organization for Standardization (ISO) hope so. ISO's Technical Management Board has put out a rush order for development of a common auditing guideline for its two best-known series of management standards, ISO 9000 and ISO 14000. Two technical committees have under draft the joint audit standard to be called ISO 10011. One committee, ISO/TC 176, oversees the ISO 9000 series of quality management standards. The other committee, TC 207, has the responsibility for ISO 14000, the standards for environmental management. ISO wants to move quickly on ISO 10011 to head off more complaints from companies of inconsistencies among auditors of the two series. The organization also has started inviting environmental auditors to seminars at which such incompatibility problems are discussed. ISO officials fear many companies will hold back on adopting both its quality and environmental standards, if requirements of auditors for one series clash with those of the other series. As with all ISO standards, use of ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 is voluntary--unless a business sector makes them a market requirement or a government issues regulations making their use obligatory. E-mail K.A. McKinley at email@example.com.
President Clinton signed into law a bill that defers introduction of the Fastener Quality Act (FQA) of 1990 until at least June 1, 1999. This marks the fifth time the implementation date has been delayed. However, doubts are rising that the current version of the act will ever be enforced. Under FQA, "critical" fasteners, such as those on aircraft, must be tested by an accredited laboratory or produced by an approved manufacturing plant. The Clinton Administration has had trouble over the years approving enough testing labs to carry out the act. In addition, some members of Congress are pushing bills to revise FQA so it will avoid clashes with other regulations and consensus standards and reflect recent changes in business practices.
Start of U.S. fastener statute delayed at least until June
New American electrical code to alter enclosure designs
Starting January 1, 1999, North American designs of electrical enclosures used in hazardous environments need to be more in line with those in Europe. So states the new National Electrical Code published by the National Fire Protection Assn. The change applies to enclosure boxes for equipment used in a variety of industries and situations vulnerable to explosions, such as chemical plants and offshore drilling. The new code requires that design engineers consider enclosures as a system, rather than as a set of components to be evaluated separately for their explosion-proof qualities. Energy from the whole system, the new code says, should not lift the outside temperature above 85C. That gives a safety margin of 15% for hydrogen disulfide, a highly volatile industrial gas. "It's a whole new design area to work in," Joe Smargie, sales manager for Ex products at Rose+Bopla Enclosures (Frederick, MD), tells Design News. "Older designers may be reluctant to incorporate the change."
Manual helps manufacturers assess flat-panel quality
A multinational team of researchers produced the first comprehensive manual for testing flat-panel displays. The Video Electronics Standards Assn., a global organization representing corporations in the computer industry, published the manual as the Flat Panel Display Measurement Standard. The standard should help manufacturers carry out complex tests needed to measure such performance characteristics as sharpness, brightness, and color quality. Edward F. Kelley, a physicist with the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) led the research team. One of the team's chief triumphs is an improved way to measure a display's contrast ratio using a cone-shaped device to screen-out any unwanted glare. Phone NIST's James St. Pierre at (301) 975-4124.
SurfSaver simplifies collection of standards on Web
As the volume of standards information on the Internet keeps expanding, a fact-managing software product comes to the rescue. SurfSaver®, by askSam Systems (Perry, FL), works like a filing cabinet for the browser. It captures Web pages, with or without graphics, and stores them by topic. Standardizers can add notes and keywords to saved pages and e-mail the gathered information. SurfSaver also creates an information archive supported by a wide range of search approaches. "This asynchronous information gathering suits my mentality," comments user Gene Rosen, senior consultant at Xerox Corp. For more information phone Noah Carmon, product manager of askSam's, at (800) 800-1997.