Motor Certification Process improvement thread. Please do not rant. Only improvement!

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Andrew_ASC

UTC SEDS 2017 3rd/ SEDS 2018 1st
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A thread for NAR,TRA, NAR S&T, TRA/NAR flyer members, and manufacturers to discuss openly in a vague non NDA or proprietary breaking manner with forum members "if they choose too" on ways to access independent lab equipment or the possibilities of official oversight at multiple locations with more manpower to certify motors quicker with assistance from the TRA/NAR community members or other suggestions of process improvements. I know nothing of the certification process of new motors. I applaud NAR and TRA for the amount of certified motors already existing. The more certified motors the organizations get, the larger the hobby will grow, and the manufacturers will benefit from more products to sell. Please do not rant of how long motor X is taking to certify. Flyers don't want motor X's fuel composition, that info belongs to the manufacturer only. If people have testing sites for motors with timeslots for NAR S&T or other motor certification groups to use for testing for non profit use at certain locations, time, or date please post. If someone wanted to certify an Ex Motor how would they go about doing it process wise officially? Are there additional steps to improve the delay times? Is there an online database to manage the allocation of testing sites for manufacturers? What can forum members due to help TRA/NAR/NAR S&T improve certification times for motors? Anyways, just a noob sticking into a sticky topic about something I know nothing about, not trying to start a bad route or bashing thread.

If the certification groups and rocketry organizations want to explain to flyers and motor manufacturers what additional resources or support steps are needed to certify motors faster, please speak out and inform the community.
 
If someone wanted to certify an Ex Motor how would they go about doing it process wise officially?
EX motors can't be certified, that's why they're EX. I'm not sure what you're driving at here, are you asking how new motor manufacturers get started?

I question whether this thread serves a useful purpose, but I guess we'll see.
 
Then what is the process for a manufacturer to certify a new prototype reload so it can later sell it in consumer market? Technically that prototype load is in an experimental phase of some kind then an organization tests it and approves it. People generally rant on forum about the motors taking a year or longer to get certified. If people could toss out ideas to help the certification groups operate more efficiently perhaps more motors could get certified by manufacturers in a year. Perhaps it could help people who want to start to commercially manufacture a Ex load as a legal motor manufacturer would and sell it as an approved certified reload, legally through a long paper trail and testing for certification.
 
Let's say someone has an Ex load. That person starts a company with intent to manufacture it as a commercial reload not an Ex load anymore and obtains any necessary explosive licenses and other required regulation/insurance compliance processes. This load goes into a certification process with is time consuming. An authorized certification group requires facilities,personnel, lab equipment, test stands, load cells, pressure transducers, and who knows what else from the manufacturers until that specific reload is finally approved for use at TRA/NAR clubs.

Does the HPR community need another independent testing group to certify motors quicker than what is currently done from a manufacturer viewpoint?
 
In the automotive industry there were JSAE requirements standardized of testing processes for rolling resistance of car tires for ultimately assisting the calculations regarding EPA fuel economy to national standards.

Does rocketry need a similar standardization of testing processes of reloads in order to allow commercial reload manufacturers to get loads certified possibly in house with some compliance oversight by following a set of guidelines offered by a testing agency? Sorry for the horrid analogy.
 
The Tripoli Motor Testing Committee has no motors awaiting testing. If a manufacturer approached them the first thing that would be discussed would be whether the motors the manufacturer wanted certified could be tested in our stands or not. The manufacturer would be required to either pay a fee and submit hardware and reloads representing each delay they wanted certified (or simply single use motors). Our volunteers would test the motors and verify them according to NFPA 1125. If they don’t meet the specs the manufacturer claims they fail.
The problem isn’t lack of efficiency and I believe that it’s just an unfortunate situation affecting another organization which is working very hard to overcome the problem.
 
Andrew jumping out of the gate with "Since anxious flyers have already crapped all over the Aerotech 24/60 thread with complaints", is in my opinion provocative and baiting. This will simply lead to a moderator having to step in, babysit and ultimately lock the thread. I would argue that if you were really sincere in having productive civil discourse on the topic, then you should leave the rhetoric out of the discussion and simply make your case.
 
Could Tripoli Motor Comittee or another Comittee establish a set of testing guidelines for manufacturers to follow then allow manufacturers to submit standardized data formats from in house testing and simply pay Tripoli or another organization a fee for each new type of motor certified? Then Tripoli or other organization could independently verify the manufacturers were following the guidelines with random motor selection?

Maybe that is a tad reckless. It would eliminate a lot of shipping costs and equipment pricing on the manufacturer end if they could test on a factory location. It would increase the rate of testing done by a manufacturer. Perhaps they could submit a video recording of testing processes to a comittee's motor testing specifications. And the committee volunteers could audit the reload performance at any date for any reason. I don't know how I feel about that from a safety idea just rambling. I guess the advantage of Tripoli or NAR certification processes is they remain an independent authority with total confidence in quality of certification tests at manufacturer expenses.
 
Could Tripoli Motor Comittee or another Comittee establish a set of testing guidelines for manufacturers to follow then allow manufacturers to submit standardized data formats from in house testing and simply pay Tripoli or another organization a fee for each new type of motor certified? Then Tripoli or other organization could independently verify the manufacturers were following the guidelines with random motor selection?

Maybe that is a tad reckless. It would eliminate a lot of shipping costs and equipment pricing on the manufacturer end if they could test on a factory location. It would increase the rate of testing done by a manufacturer. Perhaps they could submit a video recording of testing processes to a comittee's motor testing specifications. And the committee volunteers could audit the reload performance at any date for any reason. I don't know how I feel about that from a safety idea just rambling. I guess the advantage of Tripoli or NAR certification processes is they remain an independent authority with total confidence in quality of certification tests at manufacturer expenses.

Why "fix" something that isn't broken?
 
Could Tripoli Motor Comittee or another Comittee establish a set of testing guidelines for manufacturers to follow then allow manufacturers to submit standardized data formats from in house testing and simply pay Tripoli or another organization a fee for each new type of motor certified? Then Tripoli or other organization could independently verify the manufacturers were following the guidelines with random motor selection?

Maybe that is a tad reckless. It would eliminate a lot of shipping costs and equipment pricing on the manufacturer end if they could test on a factory location. It would increase the rate of testing done by a manufacturer. Perhaps they could submit a video recording of testing processes to a comittee's motor testing specifications. And the committee volunteers could audit the reload performance at any date for any reason. I don't know how I feel about that from a safety idea just rambling. I guess the advantage of Tripoli or NAR certification processes is they remain an independent authority with total confidence in quality of certification tests at manufacturer expenses.

This idea was proposed awhile back. The NFPA did not approve it.
 
Could Tripoli Motor Comittee or another Comittee establish a set of testing guidelines for manufacturers to follow then allow manufacturers to submit standardized data formats from in house testing and simply pay Tripoli or another organization a fee for each new type of motor certified? Then Tripoli or other organization could independently verify the manufacturers were following the guidelines with random motor selection?

Maybe that is a tad reckless. It would eliminate a lot of shipping costs and equipment pricing on the manufacturer end if they could test on a factory location. It would increase the rate of testing done by a manufacturer. Perhaps they could submit a video recording of testing processes to a comittee's motor testing specifications. And the committee volunteers could audit the reload performance at any date for any reason. I don't know how I feel about that from a safety idea just rambling. I guess the advantage of Tripoli or NAR certification processes is they remain an independent authority with total confidence in quality of certification tests at manufacturer expenses.

Your ideas are not bad and have been mentioned and even used throughout the years. Most of the answers to your questions can be found distributed throughout the other thread, but maybe I can consolidate some of them here.
All three of the North American testing organizations have published their testing manuals. CAR MCC’s and NAR S&T’s manuals are nearly identical to each other, sharing the original CAR MCC manual as their source. Tripoli’s is equivalent, but not taken from the same source. Currently Tripoli’s Manual has been taken down from outer website because of some structural problems; a couple of chapters were not correctly integrated. It will be published again as soon as we get it fixed.
The manuals are all dictated by the requirements within NFPA 1125, specifically chapter 8. So, there are plenty of guidelines.
Third parties certainly could perform the testing. If a motor manufacturer wished to submit their motors to a commercial laboratory for testing such companies exist. The fees are almost certainly much higher than the manufacturers of hobby motors might wish to pay. Those people are not volunteers and their laboratories are not subsidized by their membership.
As far as testing at the factory instead of incurring transportation costs, motors which include delay grains for ejection charges must be tested at or near sea level, which is another NFPA requirement. That means almost every motor smaller than K.
For motors K and larger, which don’t rely upon the timing of delay grains, in-house testing has been done, but witnessed by TMT or S&T volunteers.
All manufacturers are expected to know the requirements although occasionally good people disagree on their interpretations.
Before a manufacturer can come to us with a rocket motor for certification they have to show that they are serious about being a commercial manufacturer. There are DOT requirements that must be fulfilled. The exception to that is for hybrids which don’t contain energetic materials until filled, but we still would expect a manufacturer to be able to show us that they are serious.
 
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Andrew, may I suggest some homework ? The NAR S&T page can help you get up to speed about the process that was in place and documents used in the motor cert process:

https://www.nar.org/standards-and-testing-committee/

https://www.nar.org/standards-and-testing-committee/nar-standards-and-testing-documents/


Contact info for all committee chairs:

https://www.nar.org/about-nar/organization-contacts/


My two cents, more guidelines are not needed and the current delay happened because "stuff happens". I believe the suggestion for manufacturer self certification has been asked and answered. Any ideas that would increase the cost of doing business and likely result in an increased cost to me would be most unwelcome.
 
I would also add that NAR, CAR, and TRA are composed of volunteers who have lives outside of rocketry, and should not be expected to devote an inordinate amount of time to any one aspect of the hobby. There is a process, motors get certified. Could it be improved? Absolutely. But what amount of commitment from the volunteers would be required to implement the improvements, and what is the trade-off?
 
I would also add that NAR, CAR, and TRA are composed of volunteers who have lives outside of rocketry, and should not be expected to devote an inordinate amount of time to any one aspect of the hobby. There is a process, motors get certified. Could it be improved? Absolutely. But what amount of commitment from the volunteers would be required to implement the improvements, and what is the trade-off?

We volunteers appreciate the sentiment.


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Question coming from ignorance here. I like the concept of testing at the manufacturer's facility. Is there any prohibition in NFPA against having a third party test the motors at the manufacturer's facility? I'm envisioning a semi-mobile testing rig where motors of the various diameters (13, 18, ..., 150mm) have an individual motor mount with a load cell of the right thrust range attached. NAR/CAR/TRA can give the manufacturer the foundation specs for the equipment, and the manufacturer can supply the stand to mount the load cell on. Maybe the load cells even live at the manufacturer's facility if the manufacturer has a lot of tests that they do.

The testing organization can then go to the manufacturer when requested (quarterly?) and do a batch of tests all together. This seems like less trouble than shipping motors and maintaining a separate test stand, but maybe I'm missing something. The big fly I can see in the ointment is that you'd have to have a volunteer qualified to use the testing equipment near each of the motor manufacturers (AT, CTI, Estes, Loki, ??). However, I think it wouldn't be too hard to find volunteers in a reasonable distance.
 
I went through the motor certification process 8 years ago. It was very easy and straight forward. The cost of certification should be part of your operating costs. I don't see anything that needs to change.

How to you insure calibration of the equipment at the motor manufacturer's location? That is the benefit of the current system. The stands are used for all motors certified and calibrated. You can compare apples to apples if needed.

Edward
 
Boatgeek,
We already do offer to test st the factory except when there is a delay grain that must be certified and the factory is well above sea level. Our testers’ expenses would be paid for by the manufacturer.
 
I went through the motor certification process 8 years ago. It was very easy and straight forward. The cost of certification should be part of your operating costs. I don't see anything that needs to change.

How to you insure calibration of the equipment at the motor manufacturer's location? That is the benefit of the current system. The stands are used for all motors certified and calibrated. You can compare apples to apples if needed.

Edward

Exactly!
 
Like the man said, there is no backlog at TMT. I personally know Alan Whitmore and he has nothing to test.
 
"CAR MCC’s and NAR S&T’s manuals are nearly identical to each other, sharing the original NAR manual as their source."

To give credit where credit is due, the CAR MCC testing document predates the NAR S&T manual and the NAR manual leveraged off the CAR MCC efforts.

John
 
To give credit where credit is due, the CAR MCC testing document predates the NAR S&T manual and the NAR manual leveraged off the CAR MCC efforts.

John

Thank you for that correction, John. I’m sorry for my mistake. I’ll go correct my original statement.


Steve Shannon
 
As one of the antagonists about the 24/60 loads, I'll kick in that the info in the other thread pretty much covered what the issue was, and what was being done to correct it. My point wasn't that the delay was unacceptable in itself, but that I hadn't seen anyone explain it. It is quite possible, perhaps likely that I just hadn't dug around hard enough to find those reasons. Several people in that thread pointed out the reasons and locations of that information. Short version, capability to test is down, work is being done to correct the issue, and everyone who tests motors is working hard to increase ability.

As a member of TRA, I have to say I'm pleased and impressed with the organizations testing ability and process. As someone affected by the NAR testing I wish the process hadn't fallen to the point it is, but life happens and they appear to have a plan in place/action.

I've usually the first to line up to wack an equine with a solid piece of hickory......but in this case it seems they've got things handled.


As for certifying an EX load....well as soon as you design it to be a certified load, it really stops being EX doesn't it?
 
As one of the antagonists about the 24/60 loads, I'll kick in that the info in the other thread pretty much covered what the issue was, and what was being done to correct it. My point wasn't that the delay was unacceptable in itself, but that I hadn't seen anyone explain it. It is quite possible, perhaps likely that I just hadn't dug around hard enough to find those reasons. Several people in that thread pointed out the reasons and locations of that information. Short version, capability to test is down, work is being done to correct the issue, and everyone who tests motors is working hard to increase ability.

As a member of TRA, I have to say I'm pleased and impressed with the organizations testing ability and process. As someone affected by the NAR testing I wish the process hadn't fallen to the point it is, but life happens and they appear to have a plan in place/action.

I've usually the first to line up to wack an equine with a solid piece of hickory......but in this case it seems they've got things handled.


As for certifying an EX load....well as soon as you design it to be a certified load, it really stops being EX doesn't it?
Thanks David!
 
I believe that the actual cert testing is not the challenging part of turning what might be EX into a certified motor. Stuff like making the motors legal to ship is worse.

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I believe that the actual cert testing is not the challenging part of turning what might be EX into a certified motor. Stuff like making the motors legal to ship is worse.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Rocketry Forum mobile app

That is the truth. Becoming compliant with 1125, storage permits, insurance, and yes dot.

The making of the motor is likely not close to the toughest part.


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