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Should the US Adopt Metric Standards?

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John
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Gold
Not so sure
John   8/23/2012 5:11:45 PM
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The international language of business is english and if we go completely metric, do we also change the drafting standards? 

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Eddy Currents
Rob Spiegel   8/23/2012 5:26:34 PM
Ford may have initiated it, Ttemple, but Carter pushed it. And I remember he was ridiculed for it. When Reagan ditched it, I remember people saying it was one more dumb Carter idea down the drain. There is a good portion of the U.S. population that prides itself on keeping its old habits. 

murungu
User Rank
Iron
going metric
murungu   8/23/2012 6:25:19 PM
The only way is to do it by government edict, in the way South Africa and Rhodesia did in the 70's. After such-and-such a date everything will be made in metric. Imperial measurements will no longer be taught in school. Old equipment can be maintained but all new equipment will be metric. S.Africa went further and banned the importation of imperial measuring equipment.

I have done a couple of science classes here in the US and it always amazes me how 'conversions' are taught and seen as a very abstract concept. One prof got all annoyed when I pointed out that mixing units(sq metres/acre) was not standard.

However, it takes years to clean out 'imperial'. In the 80's a fellow apprentice fitter- and-turner was happy because he had been given a set of imperial micrometers. If you make imperial size parts make them in imperial - conversions(either way) are never the same.

Here in the US we brought in some European equipment. We had to fabricate mold plates locally. Our machinists insisted on converting to inches(on CNC machines). 80 plates later, and all 1/16" too short I was free to say 'I told you so'.

 

TJ McDermott
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Blogger
Re: Let's do it!!!
TJ McDermott   8/24/2012 2:24:45 AM
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Naperlou, events proved NASA to be correct.  The Mars Climate Orbiter was lost because the prime contractor used metric units but the ground software used imperial for thrust calculations.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Climate_Orbiter#Cause_of_failure

That said, I agree with you.  Deal with it, switch over, and be done with this silliness.

Mydesign
User Rank
Platinum
Metrics for international business
Mydesign   8/24/2012 3:17:37 AM
Jon, it's very important to use international metrics/standards in business, especially with other countries, otherwise conversion from one unit to other is a problem. For domestic purposes, if we are using our own metrics and standards, nothing going to be happen because both the seller and buyer are following the same metrics.

naperlou
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Blogger
Re: Let's do it!!!
naperlou   8/24/2012 8:38:10 AM
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TJ, the units are not the only potential pitfall.  When I first started programming satellites, we were given the lecture about telemetry.  Specifically, we were told to pay attention to the sign of the numbers and the endian-ness of the numbers.  Evidentially there was a satellite where the mistake was made and the programmer shot the craft into deep space instead of putting it into a stable orbit. 

Testing and management are key. 

roddalitz
User Rank
Gold
Time to change
roddalitz   8/24/2012 9:16:43 AM
As far as I know, the UK and the USA are the only two backward countries to remain non-metric in everyday life. All science and most engineering is metric already. The funny thing is, the UK and USA cannot even agree on units - US gallon is 3.8 litres and the UK gallon is 4.55! The US claims "a pint's a pound the world around" but that is only true in the USA, in the UK a pint is 20 ounces. Talk about parochial!

kf2qd
User Rank
Platinum
What a waste of CO2...
kf2qd   8/24/2012 9:59:00 AM
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I have been a machinist and have a few machinr tolls at home. I participate in several machinist forums and have seen this discussion come and go over several years. As long as one understands the system one is working ai and how it relates to the other system there is little, if any, problem. Sure, The Brits and the Americans still work with inches and the rest of the world works with meters. We can both make parts that are completely interchangeable with no extra effort. The arguments generally come down to - your system is wrong because it isn't my system.

Consuder the cost of retooling. If I was active in a machine shop my measuring tools alone would come to approximately $3000.00 to replace. Quite a hit to the individual craftsmans wallet and they aren't paid all that great anymore.... And then the companies that have thousands of dollars worth of tooling that would have to be replaced. And for what? so we could say we made it to 25.40MM instead of 1.000"?

The anecdotes that are used to justify metricization are more examples of poor communication and poor practice. The satelite and mars probe problems were more likely caused by a rushed production and testing program and revealled a need for better quality control. Rushed work in metric can still come out as crap. and chromed crap in metric or english is still crap.

bob from maine
User Rank
Platinum
Time for change, really?
bob from maine   8/24/2012 10:03:57 AM
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The idea of metric conversion is much easier than the application. Try and purchase Metric paper for your printer, then try and re-adjust your printer to use it. Architectural building drawings are still mostly in Feet and Inches. When was the last time you found a metric drill index? They are all SAE with the metric value in parenthesis. All this is after almost 50 years of trying to change. There are not enough market forces to demand a change to metric and depending on the government to oversee this dooms it to failure before it even starts. Saying the US and Britain are the only 2 countries using this backward system is perhaps a bit elitist. I have no hard data, but I think these 2 backward countries do contribute a significant percentage of the worlds industrial output. Change is happening slowly. Maybe in another hundred years we'll all be metric but I wouldn't count on it.

dmuth
User Rank
Iron
Re: Time to change
dmuth   8/24/2012 10:16:24 AM
Contrary to popular belief Canada is not realy metric, it is only officially metric. I have lived here all of my 53 years and it is metric for visitors as the speed limit and gas and milk(not butter 454grams =1 lb) are all metric but materials to construct any thing are all in inch sizes, so when you design something if you want to not wait months for the material to arrive, you must use inch sizes. Going all metric would help as all of our new engineers have to learn ft/lb, psi....

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