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World Trade Center Disaster Interim Report Issued

The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology has issued its second major progress report on the agency’s federal building and fire safety investigation into the World Trade Center disaster of Sept. 11, 2001. The NIST investigation’s goal is to recommend improvements in the way people design, construct, maintain and use buildings, especially high-rises. The investigation team has identified a series of issues regarding test methods, standards, codes and emergency operations currently used for buildings that merit further analysis as the investigation moves toward completion. The interim report includes a comprehensive summary of findings and accomplishments for each of the independent investigation objectives and a working hypothesis for the collapse of WTC 1 and WTC 2 (the towers) that identifies the chronological sequence of major collapse events and allows for different possible load redistribution paths and damage scenarios currently under analysis. The complete report, including appendices, is available on the comprehensive NIST WTC investigation Web site.

Pharmaceuticals Conference

ASTM International is a cosponsor of the 2nd Annual Conference on Cold Chain Management for Pharmaceuticals, which will be held Oct. 18-20 in Philadelphia, Pa. The conference will cover best practices for optimizing packaging, transportation and storage of temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products. Workshop topics include applying six sigma initiatives into cold chain operations, best practices for monitoring temperatures in the cold chain, utilization of radio frequency identification in the supply chain, designing effective air transport for cold chain distribution and integration of cold chain into the entire supply chain. Informational sessions and panel discussions will be held; ASTM Director of Developmental Operations Pat Picariello will speak on ASTM standards and their effect on the pharmaceutical supply chain. Contact the International Quality and Productivity Center at 800/882-8684 or click on the link above.

New Measurement Laboratory

A new U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology Advanced Measurement Laboratory was dedicated on June 21. The $235 million, 49,843 square metre (536,507 square foot) research facility features stringent environmental controls on air quality, temperature, vibration and humidity. The new facility allows NIST to provide the sophisticated measurements and standards needed by U.S. industry and the scientific community in nanotechnology, semiconductors, biotechnology, advanced materials, quantum computing and advanced manufacturing.

ANSI and DHS to Build Online Homeland Security Standards Database

The American National Standards Institute is working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to build a comprehensive online database of standards related to homeland security. Using a survey of standards developing organizations currently being completed, the database will enable DHS, first responders, state and local officials, and others to quickly identify and obtain the voluntary standards they need to provide for the defense of the homeland against newly identified and emerging threats. Additionally, ANSI’s Homeland Security Standards Panel is forming a group to facilitate the exchange of information and experiences to aid in the development of the DHS database. See the ANSI-HSSP Web page for additional details.

Study Shows Standards Needed for Supply Chain Management

Inadequacies in managing inventory, scheduling and accounting information cost the automotive and electronics industries a combined total of almost $9 billion annually, according to a newly released study commissioned by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Almost all of these costs could be eliminated with optimally integrated systems for exchanging information throughout supply chains, the study concludes. The analysis found that only a handful of firms are close to achieving “ideal” information integration with some or most of their supply chain partners. The lack of widespread interoperability costs the auto industry more than $5 billion a year and the electronics industry almost $3.9 billion a year, or about 1.2 percent of the value of shipments in each industry. An underlying problem, according to the study, is the lack of universally accepted and implemented standards for the format and content of messages that flow between supply chain partners. This reduces opportunities for cost savings and leads to duplication of effort, maintenance of redundant systems, and investment in inefficient processes such as manual entry of data when machine sources are available. The report, Economic Impact of Inadequate Infrastructure for Supply Chain Integration, is available online. Paper copies can be requested from NIST's Denise Herbert.

New President and CEO for Manufacturers Trade Association

The National Association of Manufacturers has chosen the Honorable John M. Engler, former Michigan governor, as its next president and CEO. He will assume his new position on Oct. 1. NAM is the largest industrial trade association in the United States. //

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