18, 1998 Design News
Technical news from around
by Walter Wingo, Standards Editor
Ten-year reprieve seems likely from EU's
It looks as if non-metric measurements will not be
banned in Europe until 2010 instead of 2000. The European
Union (EU) in 1989 had ruled that the English system
of pounds and inches would be forbidden in European
commerce after Dec. 31, 1999. Only metric measurements
would be allowed in technical manuals, user instructions,
product advertising, catalogs, and packaging labels.
Dual listings of the two systems would be prohibited.
An exception was made allowing England to continue using
miles and pints. American manufacturers and exporters,
still strongly attached to English measurements, have
protested the impending ban. They point out that the
U.S. Fair Packaging and Labeling Act requires the listing
of dual measurements on products. European exporters
to America say the combination of the EU restriction
and the U.S. requirement would cause them problems,
too. As a result, the European Commission now recommends
postponing EU's ban for 10 years.
Merging ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 not good
idea, panel decides
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.
ISO publishes seventh edition of quality
The ISO Standards Compendium: ISO 9000--Quality
Management is now in its seventh updated edition.
The 436-page tome includes the latest versions of the
entire core series of the ISO 9000 family of international
standards, including final draft standards. ISO published
its first version of ISO 9000 in 1987. The new book
also contains the associated ISO 10000 series and four
additions that ISO teams still are developing. Among
the newcomers are Part 1 and Part 2 of ISO 10012. Part
1 contains general quality assurance requirements for
the control of measuring equipment. Part 2 provides
guidance on how to apply statistical process control
to achieve objectives of Part 1. For information on
ordering the seventh edition of the publication, visit
on the Internet.
'Paperless' methods, software speed drafting
New techniques for electronic surveying and authoring
are expected to shrink the time it takes to develop
national and international standards. The American Society
for Testing and Materials has launched a project aimed
at sharply reducing paper communications in the drafting
of standards. Called the Interactive Standards Development
Program, the undertaking includes the setting up of
forums on the Internet for worldwide participation by
experts. A major problem has been assembling and analyzing
diverse opinions around the globe. A promising solution
is SPSS Data Entry, a new software tool from SPSS Inc.
(Chicago). A Windows 95/NT product, the program offers
a new way for standards makers to move swiftly from
survey design through data collection to data analysis.
Drafters of standards can easily create surveys using
drag and drop forms and a library of commonly asked
questions. When used with SPSS Data Entry Station software,
the system permits standards experts at remote locations
to respond simultaneously to the surveys.
More Internet sites assist standard developers,
The Internet has be-come a major tool of the worldwide
standards community. The American National Standards
Institute (ANSI) now provides electronic access to nearly
250 of the most frequently requested ANSI and international
standards. They are available via a link from ANSI's
NSSN web site at http://www.nssn.org
to the organization's Electronic Standards Store. If
you are looking for sites regarding European standards,
a good starting point is http://www.europa.eu.int.
It is the European Commission's EUROPA site, containing
millions of pages relating to the European Union. Also
browse through the web site for the Council of the European
Union at http:www. europa.eu.int/inst-en#council. It
has a multilingual web server. For facts on ISO 14000,
check out the Global Environment & Technology Foundation's
site at http://www.iso14000.net.