SpaceTEC’s Take on Safety Wire

Is it the red or the blue wire? Careful, if you cut the wrong one your ashy remains will be found after the dust settles from a mushroom cloud explosion…

Greetings, geeks! I haven’t posted in a while so figured I would. I’ve had safety wire on my mind lately so I decided to search the Interwebs for anything that would serve as a quick guide or at least a refresher. What I found was a nice short video from SpaceTEC:

“Safety wiring is considered a redundant means of securing components to prevent them from becoming loose, should the primary retention capability fail during operation.” That is what the first screen of the video says. ‘Redundant’ used in this context does not mean something negative; SpaceTEC is not talking about overusing words in a five-page paper in English class. Here, redundant simply refers to the purpose of safety wiring; it acts as an additional and precautionary measure so that parts, most often hardware, remain intact. When it comes to securing fasteners (nuts, bolt, screws, etc.) and preventing vibrational forces from loosening parts, safety wire is a reliable and inexpensive means that leads to peace of mind.

The next screen from the above video states: “Items shall be safety wired in such a configuration that the safety wire shall be put in tension when the parts tend to loosen.” The screen displays two images—illustrations of a safety wire installed on bolt-heads and safety wire used on Castle nuts. This serves as a nice visual aid to give you an idea of the appearance of the configuration. Such a configuration allows for the safety wire to act as an antagonist to the part, meaning as the nut loosens, the wire tenses up. It is similar to how muscles function: as one muscle expands or extends, a corresponding muscle contracts. Imagine if both muscles contracted at the same time? Snap! Well, if a safety wire loosens while a part loosens, it defeats the whole purpose of the configuration.

The third screen retains the two images from the previous screen. But now Aircraft Circular AC 43.13-1B is mentioned. “AC 43.13-1B covers all the aspects of general safety wire practices. There are three common sizes: 0.020, 0.032, 0.041. New safety wire shall be used for each application.” Check out Pages 19-25 of the Aircraft Circular AC43.13-1B where the FAA provides guidelines for “safetying.”

For the fourth and final screen of the video, safety wire pliers are briefly touched upon, particularly how they should be used to apply the wire: “Safety wire should be twisted six to eight turns per inch. The pigtail S/B 1/4 to 1/2-inch (three to six twists).” A picture illustrates this point.

For those who don’t know, SpaceTEC —located in Cape Canaveral, Florida— is the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Resource Center. Its primary mission is to serve as an advocate for employing aerospace technicians. The organization achieves this by providing an academic outlet for such individuals. This leads to a well-trained workforce for commercial, civil, and defense space activities relating to the aerospace and aviation communities.

According to SpaceTEC: “Its certification programs offer performance-based examinations that result in industry-driven nationally recognized credentials that reflect the competencies employers demand. The certification program is offered through a nation-wide consortium of community and technical colleges, universities, business and industry organizations, and government agencies.”

The good news is that SpaceTEC recently received a grant renewal from the NSF; this was accomplished through the NSF’s Advanced Technical Education (ATE) program. This will certainly help with further developing the certificate program, which consists of five key areas – Applied Mechanics, Basic Electricity, Industrial Safety, Materials & Processes, and Tests & Measurements.

Thanks to SpaceTEC for offering a quick reference for the applied mechanics of safety wire.

SkyGeek Lands on Internet Retailer’s 2013 Second 500 Guide

For Immediate Release

Internet Retailer Magazine Ranks Styles Logistics, Inc. as One of the Top 1000 Fastest Growing E-Retailers in the U.S.

Styles Logistics, Inc. (SkyGeek) Ranks 798 according to Internet Retailer’s 2013 Second 500 Guide and Eighth in the Merchandising Category (Automotive Parts/Accessories)

LaGrangeville, New York – July 17, 2013 – Countless small business e-retailers know that competition on the Internet is fierce. An unfortunate reality: Cyberspace can be merciless and unforgiving and if sales slump, a company will be lost in the void. But alas, a rising star emerges and that star’s name is SkyGeek.

SkyGeek’s sales for fiscal year 2012 have garnered the attention of Internet Retailer. In recognition of the company’s continuing efforts to sell over 140,000 items while maintaining expedient shipment of packages and excellent customer service, Internet Retailer has listed SkyGeek at #798 for their 2013 Second 500 Guide. In addition, SkyGeek ranks eighth under the magazine’s Merchandising Category, specifically under “Automotive Parts/Accessories.”

Steven Styles, President of Styles Logistics, Inc. as well as “Chief Geek” for SkyGeek, was pleased with the rankings. “This is fantastic news for our business. It shows that we can compete and we can do it well. We’ve got a great staff at our headquarters that are willing to find innovative solutions to problems we face daily, all while translating the benefits of our operations onto the people we serve.”

Part of the reason for making the list can be attributed to SkyGeek’s willingness to establish not only rock-solid core competencies—especially an open mind and an active responsiveness to customers’ inquiries—but also partnerships with third party businesses such as Exclusive Concepts and Nextopia. These partnerships have bolstered marketing strategies and refined the functionality of the SkyGeek website, all while increasing revenue considerably.

Despite a less than stellar economy, in the last year SkyGeek has increased its full-time employee staff by over 25 percent to meet the demands on quality assurance that customers now expect.

And even though Styles is happy, he and his company are not ones to rest on their laurels. “We’re constantly looking for ways to improve. Our business model will evolve so our goals are met efficiently. The content, layout, and features on our site will get better and we will move forward.”

One aspect of this improvement is in social media, where SkyGeek has begun creating content more consistently. By next year, they aim to revitalize their blog, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. Along with other strategies, this will be implemented so that by 2014, the company is positioned further up among Internet Retailer’s ranks.

SkyGeek is grateful to Internet Retailer for publishing the company’s elevated status among the online landscape and wishes to extend its thanks to their loyal and expanding customer base for making this accomplishment possible.

About Internet Retailer

Published by Chicago-based Vertical Web Media LLC, Internet Retailer is a monthly national business magazine that is at the core of an e-commerce conference and four directories that serve the retailing community. The Internet Retailer family of products focuses on the Internet’s vital role in a wide array of retailing activities, including Web merchandising, supply chain management and multichannel integration. Its 42,500 subscribers are senior executives primarily from retail chains, independent stores, catalogs, virtual merchants and brand name manufacturers. Internet Retailer’s circulation represents the largest multichannel readership base of any retailing magazine.

About Styles Logistics, Inc.

The company’s roots can be traced back to 1969 when the Styles family took over operations at Sky Acres Airport. Many companies were formed, including Styles Logistics, Inc. Then, in 2001, SkyGeek was born in order to address the rising need for prompt service and shipment of aviation parts not only across the country but around the world. Currently, SkyGeek sends packages to over 75 countries and continues to grow. Through the website, Styles Logistics, Inc. aims to achieve the goal of “Supplying the Skies” so that customers can get all their aviation needs satisfied.

Media Contact:

Mark Cassetta @: mcassetta@styleslogistics.com

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FAA to Discontinue Direct-to-the-Public Subscriptions and Sales of Aeronautical Charts

The aviation community depends on many things and among them are aeronautical charts. While the importance of these charts remains, the means of distributing them to the public and to pilots in particular is set to change.

Within the next three months, the FAA will discontinue their direct-to-the-public individual sales of paper aeronautical charts and related paper products. The official release of this statement on the organization’s website reads:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is taking this action to reduce costs, improve efficiencies and enhance and modernize the service provided our customers and the aviation community.

Effective July 1, 2013, as current subscriptions expire, we are discontinuing our direct-to-the-public subscription sales of paper aeronautical charts and related paper products. Current subscriptions will be filled through their applicable expiration date and we will continue to offer individual (other than subscription) paper sales through our aeronav.faa.gov website until October 2013

Currently targeted for October 1, 2013, we will then discontinue all other direct-to-the-public individual sales of paper aeronautical charts and related paper products. Subsequently, all future individual purchases, and subscriptions of our aeronautical paper products will be sold expressly through the FAA’s worldwide network of authorized chart sales agents. A list of these agents is available at: Chart Agents in Your Area.

For additional assistance, please contact us at: 9-amc-aerochart@faa.gov or by phone at 800-626-3677. Additional updates will be posted as they are available.

Based on the above, you can see that like many businesses and/or organizations, the FAA is trying to streamline their operations. Obviously, with many processes of modern flight shifting toward the implementation of all things digital, this move is not really surprising. Also, everyone appears to be on a tighter budget these days, so any measures that cut costs and have things run more smoothly makes sense. It was a practical move and a logical progression given the constant need to upgrade due to newer technology.

So, how does this affect you, the consumer? It doesn’t really—at least not that much. Many of you are already tech savvy and for those who are more traditional with your charts, you will simply find that fewer places (brick-and-mortar especially) will carry it after October 1, 2013.

Don’t concern yourself too much. Fortunately, SkyGeek falls under the “authorized chart sales agents” designation. If anything, those of you who already subscribe to charts through our site are safe. Those who make individual purchases are safe too, however, you may just have more people vying for the charts we have in stock.

Anatomy of a MSDS: Sections XIII-XVI

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Flatbed or flatline? Safely transporting a product is just as important as producing it and using it. A MSDS will keep you on the right path while avoiding a trip to the hospital.

We’ve reached the end. Part Four of this blog post series on the structure of a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is ready to commence.

We’ve highlighted Dow Corning’s DC4 Electrical Insulating Compound in an attempt to dissect the sections (the basic structure) this type of document contains. This particular post will review the final block, Sections XIII-XVI. Are you ready for the grand finale? Let’s do this.

Section XIII: Disposal Considerations

Unlucky number 13? Possibly, but superstitions aside, in many ways Section XIII of a MSDS is the most critical. A product may or may not be used. Regardless, once its shelf life has expired or once its effectiveness has been compromised, it must be disposed of.

The first thing immediately mentioned is “RCRA Hazard Class (40 CFR 261)”. What is that? The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is a U.S. law passed by Congress in 1976 to spell out a method for properly disposing of waste, especially those considered hazardous. The government agency responsible for setting RCRA guidelines and then enforcing them is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to the EPA’s website, regulations concerning hazardous waste are found under 40 CFR Part 260, which includes “waste identification, classification, generation, management and disposal.” CFR stands for Code of Federal Regulations and the 40 refers to the 40th Title of such a codification; Title 40 covers “Protection of Environment”. This title is further divided into parts (chapters) and subparts, one of them being 261, or “Identification And Listing Of Hazardous Waste.”

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Right underneath is perhaps one of the most important questions and answers posed in the entire document: is this product classified as hazardous material? Luckily, DC4 does not fall under this designation. And this brings up a great point. Contrary to what some may misperceive, not all products with a MSDS are hazmat.

But let’s say an item was hazmat, what then? This section would not only verify this fact but it would also provide you with information as to any particular procedures that an item calls for when disposing of it. The DC4 MSDS, like many, states that you should abide by regulations established by federal, state, local, or any other applicable governing area where you use the product. A phone number is listed in order to gather additional information.

Section XIV: Transport Information

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From manufacturer to retailer to end-user, all products obviously need to travel from place to place. Whether from land, water, or air, travel accommodations of sorts need to be met. That is where and when the Department of Transportation (DOT) and others get involved.

Similar to the previous section, a specific subpart of a CFR is mentioned, 49 CFR 172.101. You guessed it: Title 49 deals with “Transportation.” For those who just love legalese in all its glory you can read 49 CFR 172.101. DC4 is not subject to DOT. Thus, this product does not have any special requirements “for shipping papers, package marking, labeling, and transport vehicle placarding applicable to the shipment and transportation of those hazard materials.”

If a shipment of DC4 is on an ocean liner, there are no worries since the product is not subject to IMDG code. This code operates through the United Nations’ funded agency, the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) code is used similar to the DOT’s CFR but on an international scale that covers services and industries relating to shipping.

Just as DC4 is not subject to other regulations, this product is not subject to IATA, or the International Air Transport Association. Periodically, the IATA publishes a set of Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR). The most current version (as of this writing), is the 54th edition. You can view the most important changes to DGR 54 or simply check the IATA website from time to time.

Once again, Section XIV includes a contact number to make further inquiries and get more information.

Section XV: Regulatory Information

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More regulations and more acronyms. Take a deep breath, this section’s a long one.

Back in Section III we mentioned OSHA’s (Occupational Safety and Health) involvement in a MSDS. For Section XV they make one final appearance, this time with a “Hazard Communication Standard 29 CFR 1910.1200.” CFR Title 29 deals with “Labor.” As for 1910.1200, this is the standard number of Title 29’s regulation. The purpose of it is to “ensure that the hazards of all chemicals produced or imported are classified, and that information concerning the classified hazards is transmitted to employers and employees.” The specifics of the standard is a mound of text that could put Mt. Kilimanjaro to shame. If you want to take that trek, you can read 1910.1200.

TSCA refers to the Toxic Substances Control Act, a piece of legislation passed by the U.S. in 1976. While it regulates the use of new and pre-existing chemicals, it specifically targets use of products with polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB). In addition, its subchapters address dangerous substances that, prior to the 1970s, were left unchecked while being applied residentially or industrially. This includes asbestos, radon, and lead in particular. DC4 is free from such substances and that fact is affirmed in “TSCA Status.”

The EPA has also compiled a list of chemicals under the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA Title III) of 1986. This is also known as the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986. What follows under “EPA SARA Title III Chemical Listings” is a breakdown of the EPCRA’s four sections, i.e. 302, 304, 311/312, 313, 314; the chemical ingredients within each section; as well as the different parts of CFR Title 40 they correspond to:

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DC4 has no ingredients mentioned in this area of Section XV. However, it is important to see just how complex and how closely monitored products are when they contain anything threatening to users.

The other subsection, “Supplemental State Compliance Information” lists certain states that have passed their own legislation that may pertain to the product in question. California, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are mentioned. The contents of DC4 are not considered toxic or otherwise harmful under California State Law. Worth noting is New Jersey and Pennsylvania: both states require manufacturers to list the chemical ingredients, including their name, CAS number, and percentage by weight. This is basically what Section III (or any section that deals with composition) of a MSDS would contain. Why this information is not found in DC4’s Section III is puzzling. It could be an error that may be corrected in a revised edition.

Section XVI: Other Information

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There’s not much to say, here. Any other pertinent information, perhaps any special considerations that must be made according to a product’s specific design, would be mentioned in Section XVI. But honestly, in most cases all relevant details are listed in preceding sections.

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To summarize, a product’s MSDS includes a lot of ingredients, a lot of acronyms, a lot of protocol, procedures, regulations….basically a lot of information. It’s ultimately the responsibility of the reader, the end-user of the product, to be aware of any issues concerning safety.

The MSDS for DC4 is indicative of Dow Corning’s approach to disseminating the appropriate information necessary to safely interact with their extensive product line. It follows a sleek and pleasant design that clearly delineates the different sections. This is in contrast to many MSDS from other manufacturers that have an almost haphazard layout. These kinds of MSDS are often confusing (in addition to the content), lack any depth, are incomplete, and are otherwise presented in a way that further dissuades any one from reading it let alone understanding it.

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In an effort to make it easier to read, many companies are issuing a “Plain Language Hazard Summary” at the beginning of their MSDS. One great example is found when buying LPS® Hardcoat Corrosion Inhibitor. In the accompanying image, you see this new section admits to the confusing and technical nature of the MSDS and how it will just frustrate a “non-professional.” It’s good to see manufacturer’s writing with the audience in mind. Hopefully, this will become a standard carried out by all businesses in the near future.

So there you have it. I hope this was informative, educational, and a help to all who read. It may seem like a waste of time to read a MSDS, but at least it is peace of mind knowing the lengths that governments and related organizations are willing to go through to ensure the welfare of users. While it certainly would be nice to have a streamlined version, when you think about it a MSDS must be thorough, even at the risk of boring readers to death.

As always, until we meet again, stay safe out there…

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***UPDATE*** Read other parts in the “ANATOMY OF A MSDS” blog post series

Part One – Sections I-IV
Part Two – Sections V-VIII
Part Three – Sections IX-XII