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1985 Archive: Norand's test building includes no metal parts

1985 Archive: Norand's test building includes no metal parts

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Published by GazetteOnline
A testing site for Intermec blew down during severe weather on June 30, 2014. Here's a story from the Gazette archives about the building when it was constructed in 1985.
A testing site for Intermec blew down during severe weather on June 30, 2014. Here's a story from the Gazette archives about the building when it was constructed in 1985.

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Published by: GazetteOnline on Jul 01, 2014
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SUNDAY, JULY 21, 1985
■ Business and finance■ Farm and agribusiness
is normal
for museum
Iowa Arboretum
serves as educational
tool as well as
living exhibit(Farm news, page 8E)
House ‘hook’
Premiums in realty market
(Your Money, page 2E)
Fiower expert
Art, philosophy important
(Farm, page 9E)
That’s no farm building at Fairfax
test building
includes no
metal parts
By George C. Ford
Gazette assistant financial editor 
esidents of Fairfax have been talking about a new building on the northwest edge of town for the last couple of months.In outward appearance, it looks like any other farm  building in the surrounding countryside. But the vinyl-sided, 30foottalI structure is by no means a new barn or machinery storage building.Custom built by Harvest Hill Construction Co. and leased to Norand Corp., the structure soon will be a sophisticated test site for electromagnetic interference.What makes the building unusual is that it contains no metal — not one nail, bolt or plate.SUCH A BUILDING is required, says Mike Howard, a  Norand engineer, to accurately measure electromagnetic interference (EMI) generated by microprocessor chips found in many of today’s computerized toys, games, microwaves and other devices."We live in an environment where our electronic  products have a certain degree of electronic noise or electronic pollution,” said Howard. "The microprocessor used in many devices is like a radio transmitter and receiver in that it transmits and receives electromagnetic signals."The building will be used to test our products to make sure we don’t contribute to this electronic  pollution. It will also ensure we’re not susceptible to the same interference from other devices.”Howard said such testing is required by a federal agency and many foreign countries following the explosion of microprocessorcontrolled devices in the early ’70s."The Federal Communications Commission adopted a regulation that manufacturers of electronic devices, such as computerized equipment, must design their equipment so as not to interfere with other forms of radio communication,” said Howard. "We have to test to make sure we are not contributing external radio emissions from our equipment that might cause such interference."To do this, certain tests must be employed to make sure our data agrees with that obtained by the FCC. The FCC and American National Standards Institute have set standards for the construction of the test site.'"rhe building needs to be nonmetallic to ensure that we don’t get reflections from metallic walls, metallic fasteners or nearby metallic objects. 'These reflections could either add to or cancel our test results, making them vary from those that might be obtained by the FCC or another test site.”WHAT CAN HAPPEN when electromagnetic signals go astray? Howard cited several cases that led to FCC mandated testing and licensing of equipment containing microprocessors."When personal computers were introduced in Portland, Ore., in the early ’70s, it was determined that they were interfering with the town’s police radio system,” said Howard."There was an electronic cash register at Dulles International Airport that was interfering with ground control communications located a mile away. Every time someone would use the cash register, no one was able to use the ground control communications system.”The problem took a more serious turn recently when a plane attempting to land kept losing its glide slope signal. The trouble was traced to a passenger using his  personal computer, prompting a call for a total ban on  personal computer use in commercial aircraft.HOWARD SAID EMI has become a special concern for automotive manufacturers, prompting companies to  build sophisticated, multimilliondollar test facilities."Ford, Chrysler and General Motors have a much more complex form of testing because their customers are placing 100watt radios in their autos,” said Howard. "The companies have to make sure those
 Please turn to page 3E: Norand 
Gazette photos by John Mclvor 
A new Norand Corp
testing facility resembles many of 
the farm buildings surrounding
Fairfax, but with a distinctive
difference — it contains no
metal. Nylon nails were used in
place of conventional nails and
wooden pegs were employed to
build the roof trusses.
The large nail was used
to construct the exterior walls,
roofing shingles were attached
with the medium
small fastener was employed to
attach vinyl siding.
Buck Hill likes a challenge
‘Many of the ideas
we used are fairly
By George C. Ford
onstruction of the new Nor-and Corp. nonmetallic elec-tronic testing facility  presented a special challenge for Buck Hill, the contractor."You get into these things and they say 'Can you build this for us?’” said Hill, president of Harvest Hill Construction Co. "Well, we’ll give it a try. It’s something no one else in this area has done. There’s an element of pride involved, but the challenge is there as well.”The building Hill agreed to con-struct and lease on a fiveyear basis  presented some special problems. Unlike conventional structures, it had to be held together without the  benefit of metal nails, bolts or  plates.Hill researched various fasteners, finally settling on nylon bolts nor-mally used to fasten materials to concrete."We built a section of wall in our shop,” he said. "Normally, we can take a section of plywood nailed to a frame and take it off fairly easily."We glued the plywood to the frame with adhesive and then used the nylon bolts to strengthen the  bonding. I took a large framing hammer and tried to knock the  plywood loose, but all I succeeded in doing was delaminating the  plywood. It didn’t budge the nylon  bolts.”THE FOUR WALLS of the build ing were built at the plant and hauled to the construction site, Hill said.A crane used to lift them into  position cracked some of the two  bysfxes under the shfeer weight of the sections, but failed'lo break any of the nylon bolts or fracture the  joints.Building the wooden roof trusses  presented another problem."We wanted to find the strongest wood possible to make wooden dowels,” said Hill. "After checking at Lumberland, where we bought most of our materials, we settled on  birch. We felt it was the strongest American wood available locally."We probably put about 450 feet of birch dowels in those trusses. . . They were dipped in adhesive and then driven into the holes in the  beams. You couldn’t drive them out now with a chisel.” NEXT CAME the problem of what type of roofing to use. After initially considering and rejecting rolled roofing. Hill used convention-al shingles, but with one difference."We used the same kind of nylon  bolt that we used on the exterior  boards and walls, only slightly shorter,” he said. "We had to drill each shingle and then drive in a nylon bolt to secure the shingle,"Actually many of the ideas we used, including the wooden pegs, are fairly conventional. The building itself is conventional in design and
• Please turn to 3E: Hill 
Tribune Media
ON EXCELLENCE‘Bias to yes’
brings creativity
in organization
o a naive ob-server, the ex-ecutive vice
president of a $10
billion aerospace con,
tractor appears to
have much more con-trol over his destiny
than does the teen
on a jungle boat ride
at Disneyworld in Or-lando, Fla,Looks, however,
can be deceiving.When Italk, in turn,
to the executive vicepresident and to the jungle boat driver, Ifind that the reverse is actually true.The jungle boat driver is, of course,
terribly constrained. All one has to do is
glance at his script: His "spiel” is laid out in
great detail, including some 30 or so
approved variations.That doesn’t leave him much room to
roam!The executive vice president, on the other
hand, has line operational control over about
$5 billion of assets. The corporate policy
manual says he has millions of dollars of 
personal signoff authority. In addition, he
has a corporate jet at his disposal full time.
 NEVERTHELESS, the executive vice  president sees himself as trapped in a tiny
box.When I sat at dinner
with him recently, he
lamented that, "I really agree with
all that 
you’re saying but I
 can’t do it because of 
the chairman of the company.”
(I had 
made a speech covering the five major
points in my new book
 A Passion for 
The opposite is true of the jungle boat
driver. He believes it’s
 ride and his
responsibility to make that ride perfect for
 (Guest is Disney’s term for
customer.) He alone is responsible for
making Walt’s dream real to those guests.How did this disparity in views emerge? A
recent PBS show based on
 In Search of 
 highlighted the Disneyworld
training process. Although the young jungle
boat driver is given a very detailed script
and many other limiting regulations, the vast
majority of his training focuses on the
opportunity and responsibility he has to
make the guest feel good, to get him or her
"into” the ride. The driver is made aware
that he is the 1985 living embodiment of 
analogy is to a star like
Katharine Hepburn. She gets a script for a
Broadway drama. There are
variations. But that hardly limits the scope
of the worldclass actress who is renowned
for her creative interpretations of roles.Likewise, the stores in The Limited chain
have a very formulaic approach to instore
 Please turn to lOE: Peters
Heard any good books lately?
Cedar Rapids
buyers prefer 
self-help tapes
By George C. Ford
Gazette assistant
financial editor 
Americans have a fascination with doing two things at one time.For some, it’s riding an exercise  bike while watching a favorite soap opera. Businessmen like using a personal computer while flying from one city to another.Still others, faced with a scarci-ty of spare time, enjoy listening to a favorite book on their personal cassette player while jogging, driv-ing or biking.James Henley, vice president of Merchants National Bank, has enjoyed particular success with motivation tapes."I was reading a newspaper article about it one day and I decided to give it a try,” said Henley, "I got hooked on them and I use them driving to and from work.”Henley said motivational tapes have proven especially useful when he has made a long trip, such as a drive to Des Moines for a meeting."It kind of pumps you up when you’re going into a meeting to have that positive reinforcement,” he said. "It makes you receptive to other ideas because it makes you think about other alternatives. It’s a good way to keep your mind clean.”KAY DAVISSON, manager of B. Dalton Bookseller, Lindale Mali, says Cedar Rapids residents have expressed a particular interest in selfhelp tapes."A lot of people don’t have the time to read a book, so they use the cassette as a substitute,” she said, "We are seeing the greatestinterest in the area of selfhelp tapes, such as 'Stop Smoking’or 'Personal Improvement,'"All the management cassettes are primarily tailored toward men, while the selfhelp or personal improvement tapes seem to be tailored toward women. Tom Pe-ters' 'In Search of Excellence’ would be a good example of a tape appealing to businessmen,” Davisson said the books availa- ble on tape range from abridged versions of classics to fairly recent  bestsellers, such as Ken Follett’s "On Wings of Eagles.”IN ADDITION to lack of time, Davisson said eye strain and age are other reasons the cassettes are  becoming popular."I have to do an awful lot of reading in my occupation,” she said, "Sometimes my eyes just give out. It’s much easier to put a cassette on and listen to a best-seller, rather than trying to read it. "We have a lot of older peoplewho have poor eyesight and use a magnifying glass, but are not classified as legally blind. While unable to use the 'Talking Book’ program, they are able to buy the cassettes and keep up on their reading,"We also carry a wide selection of the oldtime radio shows, such as 'Amos and Andy,’‘Jack Benny’and 'W.C. Fields.’They are partic-ularly popular with older people who enjoy returning to programs heard years ago.”WHILE BOOKS on cassette are  becoming more popular, Davisson does not see them replacing  books. She said DaytonHudson Corp., the owner of B, Dalton Bookseller stores, classifies them as "accessories.”"If the community wants them, we’re going to carry them as a service or courtesy,” she said, "They won’t be one of our primary  products. We consider them acces
• Please turn to JOE: Tapes

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