Nicolette Dalpino  |  10/03/2008

News Digest

IMTS Posts Biggest Attendance in Years

The International Manufacturing Technology Show 2008, held in Chicago, Illinois, September 8-13, posted its largest attendance since the year 2000. Total registration for the six-day event was 92,450, with 1,803 exhibiting companies.

“We are ecstatic that IMTS 2008 not only achieved but exceeded expectations and objectives,” states Peter Eelman, IMTS vice president of exhibitions. “The feedback from exhibitors and the purchasing activities of attendees prove that manufacturing is not only healthy, but thriving. Manufacturers coming to the show from around the world clearly understand that investing in the latest technology is key to being competitive.”

Purchasing activity was high, along with healthy traffic on the show floor. Some highlights for attendees and exhibitors included the introduction of software standard MTConnect, the Advanced Manufacturing Center, the new Innovation Center, and the National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) Student Summit, and a press conference from Hexagon Metrology.

The Emerging Technology Center was a hub of excitement, featuring the official launch of MTConnect, which is designed to foster interoperability between equipment controls and devices. Thus, for the first time, advanced manufacturing has an open standard that allows communication and connectivity throughout the process chain. During IMTS, machines operated by 25 exhibitors posted data to a dashboard displayed in the Emerging Technology Center.

A collaborative exhibit presented by IMTS 2008 and the University of Sheffield’s internationally acclaimed Advanced Manufacturing Research Center greeted exhibitors and visitors as they entered McCormick Place, site of IMTS. Anchored by aerospace giant Boeing, the Advanced Manufacturing Center offered visitors a look at the latest in manufacturing technology, the revolutionary 787 Dreamliner interior display, parts exhibits, process presentations by Phantom Works (Boeing’s advanced research and development unit), and 10 “disruptive” technologies from innovative manufacturing suppliers and researchers.

For further information, visit


Short on News

A senior official in charge of China’s food quality control jumped to his death from a building in Beijing after anti-graft investigators started looking into his affairs.
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A Florida businessman was sentenced last year to 37 months in prison for submitting more than $5.5 million of fake claims to Medicare. The businessman operated for months, despite giving the agency an address that was actually a utility closet.


The FDA’s approval of a new drug usually comes after a series of clinical trials. Who conducts those trials? The drug company that developed the drug. The FDA does no independent testing.
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Recent forecasts reveal that rapid growth in certain manufacturing segments will help China overtake the United States as the world’s leading manufacturer within a decade.


EPA Quality Program

A recent settlement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Lonza, the nation’s largest manufacturer of hospital disinfectants, ensures that consumers are getting what they pay for. In March 2007, the EPA charged Lonza with making false claims about the effectiveness of its products. As a result, Lonza has agreed to develop and implement an unprecedented nationwide quality assurance program to ensure that its disinfectant products sold to hospitals around the country are up to par.

“When a person uses a disinfectant, he or she should be able to wholeheartedly trust that that disinfectant is doing what the label claims,” says Alan J. Steinberg, regional administrator of the EPA. “Lonza misled the public, but EPA is turning this situation into a positive by overseeing this quality assurance program and sending a message to others that these deceptive actions will not be tolerated.”

To be sold in the United States, disinfectants must go through the EPA’s rigorous registration process, dictated by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. To pass, companies must provide health studies and environmental information about the product to ensure that its proper use does not cause any negative effects to humans or the environment.

Lonza has agreed to begin implementation of a supplemental environmental project (SEP). The SEP, which is the first of its kind in the United States, is intended to secure significant environmental and public health protection and improvements. In agreeing to develop and implement this project, Lonza will evaluate whether or not the companies that formulate its products are doing so safely and legally. Only those companies that are found to be in sync with regulation criteria will be permitted to continue to formulate Lonza’s products. Lonza has until December 2009 to develop and fully implement this project.

For further information, visit


ANSI Forum on Third-Party Certification for Food Safety

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is cosponsoring a forum aimed at enhancing food safety through third-party certification. “Bolstering Consumer Confidence: Establishing Third-Party Certification Criteria for the Food Industry” will be held December 2-3, 2008, at L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington, D.C.

In an effort to build confidence in food safety and strengthen the global supply chain, the interactive conference will act as a forum to discuss conformity assessment-based solutions.

Co-sponsored by the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the National Fisheries Institute, some of the goals of the forum include:

Gain stakeholder input on audit criteria

Address technical and operational information for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Evaluate third-party certification programs

Identify best practices for a global food safety system that recognizes existing audit schemes used commercially

Establish certification practices for foreign processors


For further information, visit  .


National Consensus Standards for Health Information Technology

To improve quality and efficiency, and reduce errors and unnecessary treatments across the health care system, the National Quality Forum (NQF) has endorsed nine new national voluntary consensus standards for health information technology (HIT) in the areas of electronic prescribing, electronic health record interoperability, care management, quality registries, and the medical home. These HIT structural measures are intended to help providers assess the efficiency and standardization of current HIT systems and identify areas where additional HIT tools can be used.

Adoption of HIT by clinicians is shown to reduce medical errors by increasing access to information, thereby improving response times to abnormal results, eliminating repetitive testing, and providing clinical-decision support tools to facilitate evidence-based care.

“If we hope to achieve high-quality, patient-centered care, we need interoperable HIT that can help us share information electronically and track patients throughout the delivery system--all of which can reduce errors and overuse, and increase measurement across the continuum of care,” says NQF president and CEO Janet Corrigan. “These newly endorsed measures can provide important information on effective use of health IT for both early adopters and those who are just beginning to implement HIT systems.”

For further information, visit

To read the full specifications for the new NQF-endorsed voluntary consensus standards and read NQF’s research recommendations, please visit .


Helping Truckers Stay Alert

A new virtual reality technology, developed with the help of standards from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), is allowing researchers to study fatigue in truck drivers.

The research centers around a system that can detect abnormal steering patterns due to fatigue. To determine these patterns, scientists asked subjects to deprive themselves of sleep. These subjects were then told to “drive” on a simulated, virtual reality course. When tired, the drivers zigzagged right and left more often.

The swerving steering patterns recorded from this experiment are being used to develop a device that truckers can install in their vehicles. When the system detects swerving or hazardous behavior, it alerts the driver through an audio or visual cue.

Standards for virtual reality have helped to promote technological developments of this kind. Developed by ISO and IEC, Joint Technical Committee 1, Subcommittee 24, the standard ISO/IEC 14478-1:1998--”Information technology--Computer graphics and image processing--Presentation environment for multimedia objects (PREMO)--Part 1: Fundamentals of PREMO,” was adopted as a U.S. national standard by the International Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) and supports a wide range of multimedia applications, including virtual reality environments.

For further information, visit


PDF Becomes an International Standard

The Portable Document Format (PDF), created by Adobe Systems Inc., and one of the most widely used electronic document formats in the world, is now available as a standard through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

The new international standard, ISO 32000-1:2008--”Document management--Portable document format--Part 1: PDF 1.7,” was created as a result of a decision by Adobe to relinquish control of publishing current and future specifications to ISO.

“By releasing the full PDF specification for ISO standardization, we are reinforcing our commitment to openness,” says Kevin Lynch, chief technology officer at Adobe. “As governments and organizations increasingly request open formats, maintenance of the PDF specification by an external and participatory organization will help continue to drive innovation and expand the rich PDF ecosystem that has evolved over the past 15 years.”

PDF documents are used for a wide variety of personal and professional applications, including:

• Preservation of document fidelity independent of device or platform

• Merging of content from diverse sources

• Collaborative editing of documents using multiple platforms

• Digital signatures for authenticity

• Security and permissions to preserve control over content

• Accessibility of content to those with disabilities

• Extraction and reuse of content with other file formats

• Gathering information and integrating it with business systems using PDF files


“Now that it’s an ISO standard, we can ensure that this useful and widely popular format is easily available to all interested stakeholders,” says Alan Bryden, ISO secretary-general. “The standard will benefit both software developers and users by encouraging the propagation and dissemination of a common technology that cuts across systems and is designed for long-term survival.”

For further information, visit


Shop Floor Improvement: Lean Energy Practice

In an effort to help clients conserve resources such as water, gas, compressed air, oil, and electricity, TBM Consulting Group Inc. is implementing a lean energy process to assist companies in applying lean principles to reduce energy consumption and waste.

“The manufacturing community has an urgent need to exert control over rising energy costs,” said Anand Sharma, TBM’s CEO. “To improve financial performance particularly during turbulent times, it’s crucial for manufacturers to conserve their energy resources.”

In addition to tracking energy flow, the Lean Energy Practice will also provide maintenance and sustainability initiatives for long-term savings. Its Total Productive Maintenance Services, a critical adjunct to lean manufacturing, is focused on waste elimination, preventing deterioration, and reducing equipment breakdowns. This is a proactive approach that prevents any kind of process interruption before maintenance is needed.

The practice will also monitor the flow of energy through a breakthrough process called an energy kaizen. By identifying and then eliminating waste, the kaizen creates immediate change, improving the flow to the company’s bottom line.

For more information, visit


ICSQCC 2008 a Big Success

The 11th International Convention on Students’ Quality Control Circles (ICSQCC 2008) took place August 26-28, 2008, in Istanbul, Turkey. The convention was organized by the Quality and Peace Education Center, the Turkish Center for Schools of Quality, and the Association for Continuous Improvement in collaboration with the World Council for Total Quality and Excellence in Education (WCTQEE), and the City Montessori School & Degree College, Lucknow, India.

Focused on the theme of “Peace at Home, Peace in the World, On the Way of Training TQPs [Total Quality Persons],” the convention hosted 250 students, teachers, academicians, quality experts, professionals, and managers from 13 countries as well as 150 representatives from Turkey. The convention featured 23 keynotes speeches on such diverse topics as “Challenges and Constraints to Get Real Benefits from Quality Circle Activities Among Students”; “Quality, Education and the Future”; “Ancient Ascetics and Contemporary Medicine”; “Hugging All the Nations Through Total Quality Education: A Model from Turkey”; and “Using Results of Internal Audits to Improve the Learning Process.”

“I feel very happy that the ICSQCC starting in a small way at CMS has now reached the international level,” stated Jagdish Gandhi, president, WCTQEE, and founder-manager of CMS. “I am sure the concept will now reach to every corner of the world, awakening both students and teachers that, like other goods, education should keep on reforming, remodeling, and renovating itself to suit to the changes according to the times.”

The aim of each convention is to spotlight the need for adopting quality control circles as an integral part of academics. The themes underline the need to empower students so that they can find solutions to their problems, develop analytical skills and teamwork, channel their creative potential, and develop a win-win attitude to meet the demands of the new millennium.

For further information, visit .


IT Operations Need Overhaul

Transformation is key in the pursuit of information technology (IT) improvements designed to deliver better services within a business, according to “IT Transformation: Creating a Strategy for Success,” a briefing paper published by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Cisco. The survey concluded that as businesses continue to expand globally, and non-IT workers grow savvier about technology, the increasing convergence of IT and business processes will challenge the traditional organizational model, where IT and business units operate separately. The paper was based on a survey conducted in January 2008 of 950 IT professionals worldwide who were asked to share their experiences and opinions regarding IT transformation.

“Many IT departments around the world are rethinking how they deliver services to the business, and this underscores IT’s critical importance to overall business strategy,” says Debra D’Agostino, senior technology editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Efforts to reshape IT could include changing the department’s operating model (e.g., from centralized to decentralized), reallocating budgets to hold business units more accountable for IT projects, and shifting resources to allow for cross- functional teams that include IT and other departments.

Some of the findings included:

IT respondents are in favor of pursuing IT transformation within their organizations. More than half of the respondents have either recently completed an IT transformation program or are in the process of doing so, and 30 percent are considering one. Only 18 percent feel that things are fine as they are, or that the disruption would outweigh the potential benefits.

As part of this transformation, IT organizations are focusing on their relationships with their non-IT business units. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said that improving IT’s responsiveness to new business requirements was their company’s top IT objective for 2008, more than any other response. In the United Kingdom and India, this was especially the case.

Transformation, though, may require significant change. IT operating models--the method by which IT departments are organized and managed--play a key role in the IT department’s ability to serve the overall business. However, there are mixed reviews when it comes to the effectiveness of these approaches, indicating that enterprise IT departments need to reconsider their management frameworks.


Companies that have completed IT transformation initiatives report cost savings and smoother operations as a result. Forty-six percent of all respondents expect IT transformation efforts to result in cost savings. To download the report, visit online at



About The Author

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Nicolette Dalpino

Nicolette Dalpino is a news editor for Quality Digest.