March 2000

March SN Contents

Global Notebook

Changing Regulatory Climates: A Little Help

Export Alert! is an automated e-mail notification service that helps Canadian exporters keep abreast of regulatory changes in global markets. This pilot service, the only alert service of its kind in Canada, is provided free of charge by the Standards Council of Canada with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Export Alert! provides users with advance warning when foreign regulators are changing the requirements that apply to their products. A service of the Standards Council’s WTO/NAFTA Enquiry Point, Export Alert! provides automatic notification of proposed regulatory changes in users’ fields of interest, access to the full text of changes, and the opportunity to comment on changes.
The U.S. Enquiry Point
for the WTO is the National Center for Standards and Certification Information. NCSCI maintains a current database of all notifications and prepares specialized reports, including listings of notifications by country, product or G/TBT/Notification Number. The center also maintains a WTO hotline (301/975-4041). Contact: NCSCI, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Bldg. 820, Room 164, Gaithersburg, MD 20899 (301/975-4040; fax: 301/926-1559).

HVACR Research for the 21st Century

The Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology Institute (ARTI) is seeking experts to serve on subcommittees within the industry-government research collaboration “HVACR Research for the 21st Century (21-CR) Program.” Since early 1998, more than 100 volunteers from industry, government, and academia have participated in this research program designed to find new ways of improving equipment efficiency and indoor air quality. Approximately one-third of the program members will be rotating off subcommittees in mid-2000 and new volunteers are sought for the five subcommittees on alternative equipment, equipment energy efficiency, systems integration, indoor environmental quality, and working fluids. Submit a “Self Nomination Form,” or contact Glenn C. Hourahan, ARTI Vice President, 4301 North Fairfax Dr., Ste. 425, Arlington, VA 22203 (703/524-8800; fax: 703/522-2349).

Standardization Handbook

Copies of The Handbook of Standardization: A Guide to Understanding Today’s Global Standards Development Systems is available from ASTM free of charge. This eight-page overview of why and how standards are developed around the world is a valuable resource for anyone who needs to understand the basics of standardization. To receive the booklet, contact: Josephine Felizzi, ASTM.

Measurement Developments

In 1998, the value of merchandise traded between the United States and Japan totaled $180 billion. The inability to show that measurements made on either side of the Pacific Ocean are comparable sometimes leads to duplicative testing, adding to the cost of imported goods. To help remedy the situation, Japan’s Agency of Industrial Science and Technology and the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology has agreed to undertake joint efforts to demonstrate the equivalence of measurement capabilities in both organizations. Contact Magdalena Navarro, Office of International and Academic Affairs (301/975-2130).
In another development, measurement-related questions and disputes, including those that can hinder global commerce, soon may be resolved with the click of a computer mouse thanks to a new international database of measurement comparisons unveiled by NIST and the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Sévres, France. Accessible at www.bipm.fr or at icdb.nist.gov, the International Comparisons Database will enable companies, regulators, and others to evaluate the equivalence of calibrations and other measurement services performed by national metrology institutes in nearly all parts of the globe.

Better Fasteners, Better Law

Late last year, the amended Fastener Quality Act went into effect, providing buyers and end users of high-strength threaded metal fasteners a mechanism to report for prosecution the sale of mismarked fasteners. All fasteners produced must now comply with the law if they meet the definition of a fastener, as defined by the law. This replaces an earlier act passed in 1990 that imposed confusing and outdated regulations on an industry that had already invested heavily in technology and advanced quality control practices. The amended Fastener Act shifts the focus of the law from regulating the use of advanced production technology to the notification, investigation and prosecution of fraud. The law creates a hotline (number to be announced) to report fraud for follow-up by the government. Contact: Industrial Fasteners Institute (216/241-1482; fax: 216/241-5901).

Good News for Diversity in Roll Call of Engineers

The National Engineers Week reports that as many girls as boys participated in this year’s National Engineers Week Future City Competition, a nonprofit educational program that each year introduces thousands of American middle school students to the role of engineering in society. The boy-girl parity of this year’s competition contrasts starkly with the gender ratio of the program when it began only eight years ago with far more boys than girls participating.

Stainless Awards

The Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association (Sassda) is accepting nominations for its Stainless Steel Awards. Held every two years, the awards acknowledge innovation and excellence in 12 categories and are open internationally to individuals and companies whose activities include the production, conversion, distribution, use, or recommendation of stainless steel. Entries will be accepted until July 21 with the presentation scheduled for Oct. 20. Contact: Beverley Smith, Sassda (27 11 803 5610; fax: 27 11 803 2011).

Forensics 2000

ASTM is a cooperating organization for the Second Forensic Engineering Congress, Forensics 2000, which will be held May 21-23 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Topics include: How to Become an Effective Expert, The Kansas City Hyatt Collapse Retrospective, Times Square Scaffold Collapse, Collapse of the Chicago Post Office During Steel Erection, Trunk Sewer Collapse, Building Façade Failures, Foundation Failures, Legal Issues and Testimony, Temporary Structures and Temporary Support, and Bridge Failure and Performance. Contact: ASCE (800/548-2723).

Testing and Certifying Agreement

Testing laboratories that also certify products may benefit from a new joint A2LA-ANSI program. Under the agreement recently signed by the two not-for-profit organizations, A2LA, the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation, will provide assessment services in support of the product certifiers accreditation program conducted by ANSI, the American National Standards Institute. Now, when a testing-certifying firm requests it, A2LA will perform a single assessment that covers both the testing (Guide 25) and certifying (Guide 65) standards of competence. For more information, contact Roxanne Robinson, A2LA (301/644-3208) or Rick James, ANSI (301/469-3362).

New Bridge Criteria

The Society for the Advancement of Material and Processing Engineering announces that entrants in the Super Light-Weight Composite Bridge Building Contest will be given a new challenge during SAMPE 2000, May 21-25 in Long Beach, Calif. While prizes will still be awarded for designs with the highest test load ratings, the true winner will be the team that comes closest to predicting the failure load for its design. Deadline for entry forms is March 25. Contact: SAMPE (626/331-0616, ext. 616). //