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 Post subject: ** UPDATE ** New IEEE 1584 arc flash standard as a proprietary software
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 11:50 am 
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I just found out that IEEE contracted a marketing company for making a survey to understand the effect of publishing their next version of standard 1584 on 2013 as a proprietary software (formulas not available to public).

Engineers will not have access to the formulas, only to the software whose price are in the process to determine by this survey.

This is a complete departure for the normal procedure of IEEE, that will make a lot of people very angry, many of them that have contributed time and MONEY to the development of this standard.


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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 1:00 pm 
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I was avoiding this issue on the forum and was hoping it would not surface for a while until everything was settled but I will go ahead and respond.

What you stated above is correct but as of today (a few hours ago) it appears the direction may not be cast in stone yet. I can't go into specific details yet because the discussions are highly sensitive and ongoing and I must respect that until it is resolved.

It was announced at the last IEEE 1584 meeting in Florida that the equations would not be provided, only an executible file i.e. "Black Box".

There have been many meetings, conversations, emails etc. since the last 1584 meeting. I can assure you that many of IEEE 1584 working group members do not support this direction. I can say that because I have had many of them contact me or I have heard about objections through others.

As far as the marketing company, yes this is also a correct statement. I was one of the people that they contacted. It appeared to be an unbiased survey with open ended questions and they really considered what was being said.

I share your concern and when I can, I will provide updates here but again, for now I have to be sensitive to the situation. I hope everyone understands. I am hopeful that the next generation of IEEE 1584 will move in a favorable direction.

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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 10:45 am 
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Here is the latest update.

A discussion was held yesterday, Friday May 18, 2012 regarding this issue among key personnel. Afterwards, the President of the IEEE Standards Association (SA) issued a statement containing the official position of IEEE-SA .

I have been in regular contact with several key people involved, including the Chairman of the Petroleum and Chemical Industry Committee (PCIC). At the PCIC Chairman’s suggestion, I have posted the content of the IEEE-SA official position as stated by Mr. Steve Mills, President of IEEE Standards Association. Mr. Mills’ comments are as follows:

“The IEEE-SA adheres to an open process that is based on a rigorous peer review. It is the IEEE’s position that a peer review cannot be done on a black box. It is the IEEE’s expectation that the detail (equations) will be made available to both the working group and the ballot group so they can make appropriate technical decisions.

It is important to note that it is the decision of the working group as to what to include in the standard. It is also the decision of the working group whether or not to include a software tool in a package with the standard. If the working group is considering including software with the standard, we request they notify the IEEE-SA, so we can ensure such tool has been developed in a way that is consistent with software development lifecycle principles, has been fully tested, is supportable over the life of the standard and is not cost prohibitive. The IEEE-SA has not done such an investigation and has not made a determination to support a software tool; so it is important that we partner with the working group during the process and before such a formal decision is made to ensure we can support your request.

It should also be noted that no decision has been made by the IEEE-SA to withhold important and necessary technical data from the working group. If the working group would like to obtain the technical data, please send a request to the Manager Technical Committee Programs at the IEEE-SA, along with a statement of intended use.

Any individual or group that wishes to request a decision that diverges from our normal practice must make such a formal request of the IEEE-SA. If such a request should materialize, we would certainly seek the working group's advice and guidance in its consideration.”


Yesterday during a previously scheduled conference call with the PCIC Executive Officers, the PCIC Standards Subcommittee Officers and the IEEE 1584 Working Group officers, the Chairman of IEEE 1584 presented Mr. Mills’ decision to the officers and it was very well received.

That is where the issue stands as of yesterday, May 18, 2012.

If any of our forum members have further concerns that you would like to express, the Chairman of PCIC suggests that you contact via email the IEEE 1584 officers. Since posting personal contact information in a forum thread is not generally an accepted practice by most forums, including this one, I will not publicly post their names or emails here. However feel free to contact me via the forum’s “conversation” area and I can pass this information along to you.

A very special thank you goes out to Mr. Steve Mills, Chairman of IEEE Standards Association for his decision that was proper, well developed and very well expressed. This helps show the integrity that lies behind the IEEE.

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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 11:05 am 
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brainfiller wrote:
I was avoiding this issue on the forum and was hoping it would not surface for a while until everything was settled but I will go ahead and respond.

What you stated above is correct but as of today (a few hours ago) it appears the direction may not be cast in stone yet. I can't go into specific details yet because the discussions are highly sensitive and ongoing and I must respect that until it is resolved.

It was announced at the last IEEE 1584 meeting in Florida that the equations would not be provided, only an executible file i.e. "Black Box".

There have been many meetings, conversations, emails etc. since the last 1584 meeting. I can assure you that many of IEEE 1584 working group members do not support this direction. I can say that because I have had many of them contact me or I have heard about objections through others.

As far as the marketing company, yes this is also a correct statement. I was one of the people that they contacted. It appeared to be an unbiased survey with open ended questions and they really considered what was being said.

I share your concern and when I can, I will provide updates here but again, for now I have to be sensitive to the situation. I hope everyone understands. I am hopeful that the next generation of IEEE 1584 will move in a favorable direction.


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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 11:12 am 
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I appreciate that this is a sensitive issue. But if it is not discussed until it is settled, there is no discussion at that time.

I am a proud member of IEEE for many years, I believe that IEEE is one of the most prestigious technical organizations in the world. But I feel this new direction will hurt its image and exposed it to many damaging lawsuits.

IEEE executives should know the opinion of all its members, not a selective opinion based on a stealth marketing survey.

I hope this forum becomes this popular media to discuss the implications of this new format for the 1584 standard.

I encourage all members of IEEE to publicly manifest their opinion.

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 3:31 am 
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There are lots of reasons for being against it. What would be a reason why IEEE would want to sign onto this?


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 5:45 am 
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PaulEngr wrote:
There are lots of reasons for being against it. What would be a reason why IEEE would want to sign onto this?

Pure guess: keep the monopoly over the result of that research.


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 7:52 am 
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For many of us using commercial software programs, this might be a moot point; but it does go in a direction opposite what we've always been taught is good engineering practice: to know the formula.

I would like to say this is indication of IEEE being part of the best government money can buy, but indeed it is probably a policy crafted by several who have never worked outside bureaucratic positions.


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 10:31 am 
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I always follow the adage, "Ask what they are selling?"

My understanding is IEEE donated $500,000 to the research and NFPA did the same. If that is true I believe they should recoup those costs. I personally donated to the project and have no issue with them recouping costs and making money to use for more research. The old standard was different since almost all the work was volunteer but volunteers and small donations could not have produced the amount of work that went into this project. The software companies won on the last standard because they could legally lift the formulas from the standard and then sell them as part of their software. I'm all for IEEE making some money on this to further research. Nothing is for free. Everything costs something. Those of us who donated should speak our minds but I don't think software companies who didn't donate should get off free this time. Should be equiable. I do believe in peer review and that should happen. I did emphasize to IEEE that this needs to work with all software makers so they don't become king makers. My opinion. You are welcome to disagree.


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 11:47 am 
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At the current cost ($798 non-member) of the 1584 publication, it wouldn't take long to recoup their cost.


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 5:18 pm 
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1. The money that IEEE & NFPA collected was paid for by members. If members are not paying dues to get access to the information (never mind the fairly stiff prices for the publications themselves), it's unclear then what they are paying for. Does this mean that they are going to give away IEEE 1584 or only charge a nominal fee for publication and sell the software instead?
2. Beyond a few tens of buses it is unrealistic to perform the required calculations without a software application beyond Excel. There are no viable alternatives to the existing commercial software packages that I'm aware of that are open source. So nobody "wins" here.
3. Even if the software companies did their own research, it wouldn't receive any kind of recognition as being any more valid simply because they couldn't publish the data without giving away the "keys to the kingdom".
4. No matter how you slice it, unless IEEE defined some sort of "plugin format" (API) and was very stingy about who can sell licenses and how, the software vendors would STILL make money off the work that IEEE and NFPA is selling in their publications.

What it really sounds like to me is that some software or more likely patent troll company is trying to strong arm IEEE/NFPA into licensing their software or tying everything up in patents and other intellectual property litigation armor, similar to the fee that we all pay every time we buy a DVD or a DVD player for the various patent infringements that come with the MPEG standard. The end result is that we end up paying more for what we used to get, not getting more/better quality research. We've been down this road before with MPEG, JPEG, various audio formats, and so forth. Sounds to me like we're all about to get a raw deal and set up yet another patent troll to make a mint for essentially no effort on their part.

This completely explains why most of the test work has already been done and yet there have been ZERO publications about the result except some grainy powerpoint slides from a couple years ago that make it impossible to glean much of anything out of the results.


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 6:01 pm 
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What morons at IEEE thought up this stupid idea? I'm a dues paying IEEE member but if I have to pay for locked software and not see what I'm paying for... guess what... I've just made my last dues payment.

What will happen is people will stick with the older 1584 standard, complete with formulas, rather than pay extortion money for proprietary locked software. This is devolution... not evolution to a better standard. Beside, how long before a hacker cracks the software and it's on a torrent... maybe a week after it's released?

The only thing it hinder is the guy that uses Excel to figure out a couple of buses or a single point calculation. Anyone that does system modeling goes with commercial software package.

What the pinheads at IEEE that are proposing this garbage need to be reminded of is there is no legal requirement in any state in the US to use IEEE 1584 for arc flash electrical safety. So what's the driving force to lock down a new release that nobody really needs to use anyway? NFPA70E has HRC job task tables published in every copy for anyone to use for $75 a copy so people DON'T have to do calculations.

I get asked all the time by customers... "Why should I pay for a study when I can just buy an 70E book and follow the tables". The direction I pitch is use actual calculated IE numbers and move away from the old "one sizes fits all" NFPA tables.

My prediction is if IEEE "black boxes" the 2013 ver of 1584, it will push people back to using NFPA tables or simply continue to use to older 1584 std. How many people are using older versions of Etap, SKM or MS Office 2003 rather than forking over money for the newest software?

Even now at close to $800 for a copy of 1584 is steep for the small one or two person consulting companies. Companies like SKM, Etap and Easypower already market their products based on current 1584... why should they redesign their software on a new black box standard? The answer is none.

A better approach is if commercial software companies, SKM, Etap, Easypower etc., use 1584 formulas they pay a royalty. The same approach the music industry figured out years to stop illegal bootlegging.


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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 3:27 am 
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Aside from the arguments that I've already made, for anyone who wonders what the technical push is, from what I've heard, the next version is likely to require a time series type of analysis akin to Wilkins, as documented here:
http://ep-us.mersen.com/resources/media/articles/WP-Improved-Method-ArcFlash-Analysis.pdf

This is MUCH more complicated than the existing formulas. BUT it is not more complicated than say the JPEG image format standard. It is not something that can be distributed in Excel but it could be distributed in C Code. And it may make a lot of sense to sell a calculator similar to the existing Excel spreadsheet IF the algorithm, test data, etc., is documented in the same way that IEEE 1584 is already documented.

And let's face it...complaining about system analysis software companies "stealing" the equations in their software is equivalent to the satellite companies calling cable companies "signal thieves" because the cable companies stick an antenna up and receive local TV/radio signals for free, and then rebroadcast it over their systems while charging customers a premium for the "service". It's not really stealing if it is free/low cost but the alternative is legally/technically even more ridiculous.


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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 7:59 am 
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I think this will be a real issue, since most of the testing by IEEE was done with funded dollars. Being one of those companies would certaininly put a bad taste in our mouths to think about future sponsorship dollars for this particular standard. Additionally, if significant changes are made to the calculations i.e the way that incident energies, etc are determined, will be a major issue to industry, 70E, Z462. I really hope the IEEE 1584 people know what they are doing. I am an IEEE member, maybe we need to "see what happens"


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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 8:05 am 
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Hopefully someone from IEEE will read these concerns and attempt to address them. Good questions and this is a good forum to raise these questions. I told the folks I talked with that they should tie the cost into a gain of new info and improvement to the end users if they wanted to avoid huge pushback. Again, I donated money to the cause but don't know of anyone who has responded who is complaining. Everything costs someone something. Would any of us have taken this risk to make the investment and run the project? Kinectrics developed software for arc flash calcs but didn't give it away. They still charge $1600 per copy and it doesn't work with a modeling software like this one should. I certainly didn't say the software companies "stole" anything. The formulas were there to use. They purchased a copy and used the formulas from the standard, legally. But this was, in my opinion a lost opportunity to raise money to study arc flash more. We still need more info on arc flash boundary distances and higher voltages and blast pressure. Most equipment companies and software companies will not consider spending money on these research items but our organization could dedicate a large percentage of the funds from the software sales to cover some of their overhead and then to fund further research. If IEEE was just paying excecutives and sales people more than fair market salaries, I'd be opposed to that but if they are making fair salaries and effectively accomplishing their goals then providing a vehicle for carrying the torch to do more testing. I'm game.


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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 9:11 am 
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Is there anyone from IEEE 1584 committee reading this thread and able to tell us what is really going on and answer the questions below?

1) Is the existing IEEE 1584 version so badly flawed to the point that the IEEE group decided to abandon it and offer a new version instead?

2) Will the existing version of IEEE 1584 Guide for Performing Arc-Flash Hazard Calculations somehow be discontinued, withdrawn or announced unsuitable after the new version is released? Will IEEE repay to the people who purchased the IEEE 1584 Guide and Excel spreadsheet format calculator?

3) What about the people who've already did the study on their own using the existing IEEE 1584 document or paid consultants to do the analysis based on IEEE 1584? Would they have to re-do it all again with the arrival of the new "black boxed" version of the standard? Knowing the formulas would help to identify what was changed and make necessarily corrections instead of discarding everything that was previously done based on IEEE 1584 and start doing the analysis from scratch.

4) Would IEEE compensate for the expense of going away from the existing version of IEEE 1584 and re-doing the analysis based on new IEEE calculation procedure, or other procedure?

Quick comment about Kinectrics: They didn't disclose the formulas but neither they didn't use public money to do the testing and come up with the formulas.

I am an IEEE member and I will seriously consider my association with IEEE if the organization does what a lot of us afraid it is about to do.

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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 10:51 am 
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arcad wrote:
Will IEEE repay to the people who purchased the IEEE 1584 Guide and Excel spreadsheet format calculator?
...
3) What about the people who've already did the study on their own using the existing IEEE 1584 document or paid consultants to do the analysis based on IEEE 1584? Would they have to re-do it all again with the arrival of the new "black boxed" version of the standard?
...
4) Would IEEE compensate for the expense of going away from the existing version of IEEE 1584 and re-doing the analysis based on new IEEE calculation procedure, or other procedure?

There has never been a requirement to use IEEE 1584. It is one of the example methods in the NFPA 70E Annex D, but Annex D is not a requirement of NFPA 70E.

You could argue that IEEE 1584 represented the current best practice for arc hazard analysis, and you should use the current best practice for studies. It would be a real stretch to argue that you must update studies for future best practices.

If you purchase IEEE 1584 for $800 and used it for a study for which you charged several thousand dollars, or studied your own system and saved several thousand dollars, I think you got your money's worth.
Quote:
Quick comment about Kinectrics: They didn't disclose the formulas but neither they didn't use public money to do the testing and come up with the formulas.

What public money was used by IEEE?


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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 12:26 pm 
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If the goal is to implement a licensing cost to software makers using IEEE 1584 for arc flash calculations, I can somewhat see their position. I'm not familiar with US laws around this issue, but I'm thinking it's not possible to 'trademark' equations but for software it is.

Regardless, if more money is needed to keep up development I'm not entirely against this idea. I just hope it doesn't result in a crazy licensing scheme that hampers usability for those that play by the rules (as seen in media licensing).


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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 6:14 pm 
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If IEEE decides to "black box" how it derives incident energy numbers who's to say the "new" std is any better than the current one? I see this turning into a financial disaster and backfiring in the face if IEEE. This whole thing makes me question the competency of IEEE leadership.


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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 8:56 pm 
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Is the existing IEEE 1584 version so badly flawed to the point that the IEEE group decided to abandon it and offer a new version instead?


I'm not on the committee but I may have a partial answer.

Using a time domain model, the model published by Wilkins overcomes limitations of IEEE 1584 for modeling fuses and also does a better curve fit to the IEEE 1584 test bank than the existing IEEE 1584 model and fixes some oddities that occur near the "edges" of the valid test range for the model:
http://ep-us.mersen.com/resources/media/articles/WP-Improved-Method-ArcFlash-Analysis.pdf

This model cannot be implemented as a simple spreadsheet and does not work with aggregate equations that you can do on a sheet of paper.

In addition in the published slide show on progress of the test work, arc blast similarly has a time domain element to it.


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