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Standards Update

Standards Update

Refrigeration industry gets hot
on pursuing global standards

The Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), based in Arlington, VA, will make an all-out push next year to promote its standards in world markets. Robert J. Novello, the group's chairman, says ARI will work through ISO committees on a wide range of standards. Included: automatic environmental controls, sound rating of air conditioning equipment, performance ratings for refrigerant recovery and recycling equipment, and the ISO version of ARI's Standard 700 on fluorocarbon refrigerants. ARI also plans to step up promotion abroad of its type of reciprocal certification programs. To encourage trade with Mexico, the organization will translate into Spanish its standard for test methods for rating unitary air conditioning and air source heat pump equipment. "It is a good example," Novello says, "of the type of project no single company would undertake."


Two European committees adopt new mark of certification

A new certification mark will be showing up on goods in Europe called the Keymark. Products bearing the Keymark will conform to various standards--including those for performance and safety--of two leading standards bodies. The organizations are the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and Cenelec, the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization. The groups hope the Keymark will replace an array of regional and national marks that have sprung up over decades. The new mark will supplement, but not replace, the 'CE' mark, which shows that a product follows directives of the European Union. CEN, meanwhile, has been busily churning out new European standards. It produced more than 700 this year, twice its output of three years ago.


Environmental management norms closing in on design teams

Iso 14000, a new series of international standards for environmental management, is taking hold even before its publication. It could influence the work of design engineers even more than the renowned ISO 9000 series for quality management. The environmental standards, which are voluntary, will affect design and manufacture of products, including the choice of raw materials. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is expected to make ISO 14000 official late next year. Last July a technical committee drafted ISO 14001, the core specification for environmental management systems. Auditors will use ISO 14001 as the guide for certifying organizations' conformity to the new standards. Already, the draft has become a national standard in Austria, Switzerland, and Turkey. Several nations, including the United Kingdom, have suggested that companies adopting ISO 14000 standards will have an edge in procurement contracts. Many firms are crafting environmental management programs along the lines of the draft standard. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy indicate that they will look favorably on companies adopting ISO 14000.


Pocket guide helps explain ISO 9000 to employees

A booklet that you can put in your shirt pocket outlines the basics of the international standards for quality management. Called "The Miniguide to ISO 9000," the book reviews the 20 elements of the broad ISO 9001 directive and answers some commonly asked questions. Authors John T. Rabbitt and Peter A. Bergh, executives at the Foxboro Co., say their effort provides all employees with a common knowledge of what must be in place to satisfy the ISO 9000 requirements. Quality Resources, of New York, NY, sells the guide for $4.50. The firm also recently published a coat-pocket-size book, "The Basics of Benchmarking," and larger handbooks on quality programs and product development.


New standards network links up with World Wide Web in tests

Development of a computer-linked clearinghouse for standards information is progressing faster than expected. Started last year as a five-year project, the National Standards Systems Network (NSSN) could be ready for full operation in 1997, supporters say. A working demonstration version of NSSN is now on the Internet. You can reach NSSN's home page on the World Wide Web on a free trial basis. Log on to http://www.webplus.net/nssn/. The demo system describes the project and points to information available from standards-developing organizations, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Since March, the National Institute of Standards & Technology has been running a test bed for basic functions of access, document search, and browsing. Next spring the American National Standards Institute will launch a pilot project at a "modest" fee. Ronald Walker, NSSN project director, tells Design News of two big problems. One is how to work out technical issues regarding NSSN access to private data. The other is how to fund the project after next July when a government grant runs out.

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