Global Fastener News

Grant: Fastener Problems Still Exist

March 18
00:00 2000

Grant: Fastener Problems Still Exist

John Wolz

The Fastener Quality Association greeted the December 6, 1999, implementation of the U.S. Fastener Quality Act with an analysis calling the revised law �a recipe for disaster.�
In a five-page White Paper the association cited a September 1999 U.S. Air Force briefing document reporting what the association described as �an appalling 39% nonconformance rate� on 800 fasteners tested since December 1998.
The association said it finds the report is �nothing less than shocking and represents a breakdown of the quality and procurement system.�
The paper is part of the association�s response to 1999 amendments to the law. Chairman Tommy Grant, a Houston distributor, said the association conducted a seminar on the law for the oil industry in his hometown. The association is planning a seminar in Toronto next spring.
Grant said the association is also receiving requests to be put on its mailing list.
Grant told FIN the purpose of the paper was to point out loopholes and problems.
According to the document, the new law �is a dangerously weakened version of the original Fastener Quality Act that was originally passed and amended, and as a result is simply not useful.�
The tested fasteners were manufactured over a 20-year period. Grant said only 78% of the samples were traceable to manufacturer paperwork, which �represents internal government problems on controlling their own inventory.�
If the Air Force�s top-shelf and top-dollar safety-critical fastener inventory is in this shape, what then is the condition of all other fasteners, asks the association.
The association questioned whether the new law is worse than no law, because of changes to key requirements of the 1990 version of Public Law 101-592.
The association noted changes eliminated lot commingling controls and testing of altered fasteners and even exempted many safety-critical fasteners and created legal definitions which �can be easily manipulated to allow the misrepresentation of fasteners.�
�The �Record of Conformance� as used in the new law does not require the documented compliance of fasteners to all the requirements of a fastener standard or specification,� according to the association.
Grant predicted reputable fastener manufacturers and suppliers will have trouble competing with the �quasi-fasteners that can be marked and represented to look like the real thing.�
�It appears that this whole thing was orchestrated to bring about changes that will actually assist unscrupulous fastener suppliers in providing nonconforming fasteners,� Grant commented.
�I don�t think I care to go up on an airplane if the commercial planes are the same,� Grant remarked in reference to the Air Force fastener testing for military aircraft.
Grant lamented that the military might downgrade its standards to be able to use the inventory.
�Who is being duped here? The Air Force pays top dollar and then lets the manufacturer off the hook,� Grant asserted. �Where does it stop? Why not make it sloppier the next time?�

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