Last week I wrote about the fact that I have noticed there are missing links in the regulatory framework for new gear materials. Missing links that impose those who – like me – operate in the design and engineering sector, to apply “comparative” dimensioning criteria to be able to use new unclassified yet highly potential materials in their projects.

At present, the only solution I know of to overcome this shortcoming is to use the studies provided by Verein Deutscher Ingenieure (VDI), i.e. the renowned association of German engineers that has developed calculation parameters with materials which have not yet been classified by such regulatory frameworks, including plastic materials and sintered steels. I am not certain that it covers all the materials available on the market, but it is undoubtedly a considerable step forward.

To simply the work of designers, some of the most recent software applications in the gear world have updated their material databases with unclassified materials using the information provided by the VDI studies. And this brings me to a very important point of this review.
Making reference to “VDA Standards” (as indicated in certain software applications) is not really correct in my mind, because VDI – although certainly and undoubtedly a highly qualified reference association – it is not a Certification Body.

These software developers declare that

everything that is tested using highly specialized studies (and those performed by VDA are undoubtedly in this category) can be intended as “Regulated”,

as the Certification Bodies – in actual fact – are manned by the same specialized technicians that work with the VDA. Professionals who – in other words – simply perform the same tasks in a different location for a different client.

What are your views on the subject? Do you agree?

Technically speaking this concept is correct but – at the same time – I am convinced that there is a formal defect in there somewhere. These calculations may well be the result of extensive experiments, but following and complying with the reference international standards is a different matter. Especially for those who have to design and sell a project and – above all – take on all the relative responsibilities.

So, in my mind,

writing “according to VDA Standards” could be misleading, because the VDA is a sector association and not a Certification Body which – as such – also undertakes certain responsibilities.

Do you agree? I would like to receive your views on the matter…