B-152738, FEB. 12, 1964

B-152738: Feb 12, 1964

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TO NIAGARA MACHINE AND TOOL WORKS: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 18. YOUR LOW BID WAS REJECTED BECAUSE IT DID NOT CONFORM TO THE REQUIREMENT OF PARAGRAPH 3.3.7 OF THE INVITATION WHICH REQUIRES SHEAR KNIVES WITH A MINIMUM CROSS SECTION OF 1 INCH BY 3 INCHES. YOUR KNIVES ARE 3/4 INCH BY 3 INCHES. YOU WERE ADVISED BY THE NAVY PURCHASING OFFICE THAT THE REQUIREMENT FOR 1 INCH BY 3 INCH KNIVES WOULD NOT BE WAIVED FOR THE REASON THAT "1 INCH BY3 INCH KNIVES ARE MORE RIGID THAN 3/4 INCH BY 3 INCH KNIVES AND LESS LIKELY TO "BOW OUT" BETWEEN BOLT SECTIONS. DOES NOT MAKE REFERENCE TO THE CROSS SECTION OF THE KNIFE AND THAT YOU HAVE FURNISHED YOUR POWER SQUARING SHEARS WITH YOUR SPECIFIED KNIFE SECTIONS TO OTHER NAVAL ACTIVITIES.

B-152738, FEB. 12, 1964

TO NIAGARA MACHINE AND TOOL WORKS:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 18, 1963, PROTESTING THE AWARD TO ANOTHER BIDDER OF A CONTRACT BY UNITED STATES NAVY PURCHASING OFFICE, WASHINGTON, D.C., UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 600-1259-63, FOR ONE UNDERDRIVE TYPE, 6 FEET BY 10 GAGE, SHEET METAL SQUARING SHEAR.

YOUR LOW BID WAS REJECTED BECAUSE IT DID NOT CONFORM TO THE REQUIREMENT OF PARAGRAPH 3.3.7 OF THE INVITATION WHICH REQUIRES SHEAR KNIVES WITH A MINIMUM CROSS SECTION OF 1 INCH BY 3 INCHES. YOUR KNIVES ARE 3/4 INCH BY 3 INCHES. BY LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 13, 1963, YOU WERE ADVISED BY THE NAVY PURCHASING OFFICE THAT THE REQUIREMENT FOR 1 INCH BY 3 INCH KNIVES WOULD NOT BE WAIVED FOR THE REASON THAT "1 INCH BY3 INCH KNIVES ARE MORE RIGID THAN 3/4 INCH BY 3 INCH KNIVES AND LESS LIKELY TO "BOW OUT" BETWEEN BOLT SECTIONS, THUS PROVIDING MORE ACCURATE AND BURR FREE CUTS.'

IN YOUR LETTER YOU SAY THAT FEDERAL SPECIFICATION 00-S-305A, DATED SEPTEMBER 11, 1953, DOES NOT MAKE REFERENCE TO THE CROSS SECTION OF THE KNIFE AND THAT YOU HAVE FURNISHED YOUR POWER SQUARING SHEARS WITH YOUR SPECIFIED KNIFE SECTIONS TO OTHER NAVAL ACTIVITIES. FEDERAL SPECIFICATION 00-S-305A IS A GENERAL SPECIFICATION WHICH COVERS BOTH MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM REQUIREMENTS. HOWEVER, IT CONTAINS AN OPTIONAL ORDERING DATA PROVISION, PARAGRAPH 6.2, WHICH ALLOWS THE PROCURING ACTIVITY TO SPECIFY PARTICULAR DETAILED REQUIREMENTS, INCLUDING KNIFE SIZE. THE MARINE ENGINEERING LABORATORY, ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND (KNOWN AS NAVAL EXPERIMENTAL STATION WHEN THE INVITATION FOR BIDS WAS ISSUED) REPORTS THAT THE PURCHASE SPECIFICATIONS INITIATED BY THAT ACTIVITY AND INCORPORATED IN THE SUBJECT INVITATION REPRESENT THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS OF THE BUREAU OF SHIPS THAT MUST BE MET TO SUCCESSFULLY ACCOMPLISH PRESENT AND FUTURE SHEARING OF HIGH TENSILE STEELS ON BOARD NAVY REPAIR SHIPS AND TENDERS.

YOU ALSO SAY THAT IN OUR DECISION B-150868, DATED APRIL 29, 1963, IT WAS IMPLIED THAT THE CROSS SECTION OF THE KNIFE HAS NO BEARING ON THE PERFORMANCE OF A POWER SQUARING SHEAR. A CAREFUL REVIEW OF THAT DECISION FAILS TO DISCLOSE ANY COMMENT WHICH SUPPORTS THAT STATEMENT. YOU FURTHER SAY THAT BECAUSE OF THE MANNER IN WHICH YOUR KNIVES ARE MANUFACTURED THEY ARE ADEQUATE AND MORE ECONOMICAL THAN THE 1 INCH THICK KNIFE.

AS TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION TO REQUIRE A 1 INCH THICK KNIFE IN THIS PROCUREMENT, THE ENGINEERING LABORATORY REPORT IS, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"THE CONCEPT THAT THE SUPPORT GIVEN TO A SHEARING KNIFE, OR A CUTTING TOOL, IS OF PRIME IMPORTANCE IN THE EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF THE KNIFE OR TOOL IS BASICALLY TRUE. HOWEVER, IT IS CONSIDERED THAT REDUCTION OF THE THICKNESS OF THE KNIFE BLADE TO 3/4 INCH, OR LESS, WOULD GENERATE PROBLEMS WHICH ARE NOT COMPLETELY CONTROLLABLE BY THE RIGIDITY OF THE BLADE SUPPORTS. BLADE LIFE WOULD BE REDUCED, AND THE CONCENTRATION OF SHEARING FORCES OVER A REDUCED AREA WOULD COMPRESS THE MATERIAL ADJACENT TO THE SHEAR CUT, THE AMOUNT OF COMPRESSION VARYING WITH THE HARDNESS AND STRUCTURE OF THE MATERIAL. IT IS ACKNOWLEDGED THAT PROPERLY SUPPORTED 3/4 -INCH THICK KNIVES MAY PERFORM SATISFACTORILY UNDER IDEAL CIRCUMSTANCES. HOWEVER, THE ARDUOUS NATURE OF EQUIPMENT UTILIZATION ABOARD A REPAIR SHIP IS FAR FROM IDEAL. THE VARIETY OF MATERIALS, THICKNESSES, AND ALLOYS ENCOUNTERED IN NAVAL SHIP MAINTENANCE ARE EXTREME. THEREFORE, THE DECISION TO REQUIRE 1-INCH THICK KNIVES IN THIS PROCUREMENT WAS BASED ON SUCH FACTORS AS:

A. LONGER TOOL LIFE.

B. LESS TENDENCY FOR THE KNIFE BLADE TO BOW.

C. GREATER RIGIDITY DUE TO ADDITIONAL THICKNESS AND MORE SEATING AREA.

D. MORE GRINDINGS PER BLADE AND LONGER BLADE LIFE.

"NIAGARA STRESSES THE IMPORTANCE OF RIGIDITY IN POWER SQUARING SHEARS. THIS IS AN ACCEPTED PRINCIPLE IN MECHANICAL DESIGN. IT IS ALSO AN ACKNOWLEDGED PRINCIPLE THAT THE WEIGHT OF A MACHINE HAS A DECIDED EFFECT UPON ITS RIGIDITY. COMPETITIVE MANUFACTURERS OF SHEARING MACHINES USE ALTERNATE DESIGN CONCEPTS TO ACHIEVE THE DEGREE OF RIGIDITY REQUIRED OF THEIR MACHINES. IN THIS CONNECTION, IT IS INTERESTING TO NOTE THE WIDE VARIATION IN THE WEIGHTS OF 10 GAGE BY 6 FEET CAPACITY, POWER SQUARING SHEARS CURRENTLY MANUFACTURED:

TABLE

NIAGARA --- 5400 POUNDS

WYSONG --- 7100 POUNDS

STAMCO ---- 7400 POUNDS

FAMCO ----- 8200 POUNDS

ALL COMPANIES EXCEPT NIAGARA PROVIDE 3 INCH BY 1 INCH KNIVES. ONE MANUFACTURER, (WYSONG AND MILES) IN CORRESPONDENCE HELD BY THIS ACTIVITY, STATES THAT AT ONE TIME THEY USED 3/4 INCH KNIVES AND EXPERIENCED DIFFICULTY DUE TO THE TENDENCY FOR THE SECTION OF THE BLADE BETWEEN THE FASTENING BOLTS TO BOW OUT.'

DETERMINATION OF THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT AND THE DRAFTING OF SPECIFICATIONS FOR THE ADVERTISING OF SUCH NEEDS ARE THE PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PROCURING AGENCIES. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 554; 19 ID. 587; AND 40 ID. 35. AS IT IS NOT APPARENT FROM THE RECORD THAT THE ACTION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE WAS ARBITRARY OR CAPRICIOUS, WE WOULD NOT BE JUSTIFIED IN SUBSTITUTING OUR JUDGMENT FOR THAT OF THE CONTRACTING AGENCY, NOR DO WE PERCEIVE ANY BASIS UPON WHICH WE COULD OBJECT TO THE AWARD TO A HIGHER BIDDER OFFERING TO MEET THE SPECIFICATION REQUIREMENTS. AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE NOT REQUIRED TO PURCHASE EQUIPMENT NOT MEETING THEIR REQUIREMENTS SIMPLY BECAUSE A LOWER PRICE CAN BE OBTAINED IN THAT WAY.