B-155142, NOV. 20, 1964

B-155142: Nov 20, 1964

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THE ORIGINAL INVITATION WAS ISSUED ON MAY 15. WAS CANCELLED AFTER BID OPENING ON THE BASIS THAT AN AWARD COULD NOT BE MADE AT A REASONABLE PRICE. THE READVERTISEMENT WAS ISSUED UNDER A REVISED SPECIFICATION. BIDS WERE OPENED ON AUGUST 14. THREE BIDS WERE RECEIVED (TWO BIDS HAD BEEN RECEIVED ON THE CANCELLED INVITATION). AWARDS WERE MADE TO ROOTS-CONNERSVILLE FOR ITEM 1 (VACUUM BOOSTER) AT $46. YOUR BIDS OF THESE ITEMS WERE $45. YOUR BID WAS DETERMINED TO BE NONRESPONSIVE. "B. THE IMPELLER IS NOT MOUNTED ON A THROUGH SHAFT. THE IMPELLER AND STUB SHAFT ARE DUCTILE IRON AND THE SHAFT EXTENSION IS ALLOY STEEL. "C. THIS IS FITTED WITH HELICAL TIMING GEARS IN LIEU OF SPUR TYPE. "D. THE OIL SUMP AND TIMING GEARS ARE NORMALLY AT DISCHARGE PRESSURE.

B-155142, NOV. 20, 1964

TO KINNEY VACUUM DIVISION, NEW YORK AIR BRAKE COMPANY:

WE REFER TO YOUR TELEGRAM OF SEPTEMBER 10 AND YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 17, 1964, CONCERNING YOUR PROTEST AGAINST THE AWARDS MADE UNDER NASA INVITATION NO. C-150756-PB (RE-AD), ISSUED ON JULY 24, 1964, AT LEWIS RESEARCH CENTER, CLEVELAND, OHIO, FOR VACUUM PUMPING EQUIPMENT (VACUUM BOOSTER AND MECHANICAL PUMPS).

THE ORIGINAL INVITATION WAS ISSUED ON MAY 15, 1964, BUT WAS CANCELLED AFTER BID OPENING ON THE BASIS THAT AN AWARD COULD NOT BE MADE AT A REASONABLE PRICE. (THE LOWEST BID RECEIVED EXCEEDED THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE BY APPROXIMATELY 34 PERCENT.) THE READVERTISEMENT WAS ISSUED UNDER A REVISED SPECIFICATION. BIDS WERE OPENED ON AUGUST 14, 1964, AND THREE BIDS WERE RECEIVED (TWO BIDS HAD BEEN RECEIVED ON THE CANCELLED INVITATION). ON SEPTEMBER 8, 1964, AWARDS WERE MADE TO ROOTS-CONNERSVILLE FOR ITEM 1 (VACUUM BOOSTER) AT $46,601 AND TO F. J. STOKES COMPANY FOR ITEM 2 (MECHANICAL PUMPS) AT $35,820. YOUR BIDS OF THESE ITEMS WERE $45,748 FOR ITEM 1 AND $32,552 FOR ITEM 2. YOU PROTEST THE REJECTION OF YOUR LOW BIDS.

YOUR BID WAS DETERMINED TO BE NONRESPONSIVE. THE SPECIFICATION (NO. 150756, JULY 14, 1964) PROVIDED AT PARAGRAPH 2-03/C) CONCERNING THE VACUUM BOOSTER EQUIPMENT (ITEM 1) THAT: "THE 2ND STAGE PUMPS SHALL BE TWO (2) ROOTS-CONNERSVILLE 1012 RCS OR EQUAL HIGH-VACUUM BOOSTER PUMPS, WITH A MINIMUM FREE AIR DISPLACEMENT OF 1875 CFM EACH, OPERATING AT 1175 RPM.' YOU STATED IN YOUR BID THAT YOU PROPOSED AS AS EQUAL PRODUCT TO FURNISH THE KINNEY MODEL KMBD-1900 UNIT, WHICH DIFFERED FROM THE BRAND NAME UNIT IN THE FOLLOWING RESPECTS:

"A. IT DOES NOT REQUIRE A PRESSURE OILING SYSTEM. THIS ELIMINATES TROUBLESOME AUXILIARY DEVICES.

"B. THE IMPELLER IS NOT MOUNTED ON A THROUGH SHAFT. THE IMPELLER AND STUB SHAFT ARE DUCTILE IRON AND THE SHAFT EXTENSION IS ALLOY STEEL. THIS DESIGN HAS BEEN PROVEN TO BE ENTIRELY ADEQUATE.

"C. THIS IS FITTED WITH HELICAL TIMING GEARS IN LIEU OF SPUR TYPE. THIS MAKES FOR QUIETER OPERATION.

"D. THE OIL SUMP AND TIMING GEARS ARE NORMALLY AT DISCHARGE PRESSURE, HOWEVER, THEY CAN BE OPERATED AT ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE SHOULD THIS BE MORE DESIRABLE.' SIMILARLY, FOR THE ITEM 2 EQUIPMENT, WHERE THE SPECIFICATION REQUIRED AT PARAGRAPH 3-03A THAT: "EACH THIRD STAGE MECHANICAL PUMP SHALL BE A SINGLE-STAGE, GAS-BALLASTED VACUUM PUMP STOKES 912H, OR EQUAL * * *," YOU PROPOSED TO FURNISH 4 KINNEY MODEL KT-740 PUMPS AS EQUALS. YOU LISTED THE FOLLOWING VARIATIONS FROM THE BRAND NAME EQUIPMENT:

"A. THE LUBRICATION SYSTEM IS A GRAVITY TYPE WHICH INCLUDES A SOLENOID CONTROL VALVE, AN OIL LEVEL INDICATOR, AN OIL TEMPERATURE INDICATOR AND SWITCH AND THE NECESSARY INTERCONNECTING PIPING AND VALVES TO MAKE A COMPLETE WORKABLE SYSTEM. KINNEY OIL SEALED VACUUM PUMPS DO NOT REQUIRE EXPENSIVE AND TROUBLESOME EXTERNAL OIL CIRCULATING PUMPS, OIL PRESSURE CONTROLS, OIL COOLERS AND OIL BREATHERS THAT ARE NECESSARY FOR THE PUMP OUTLINED IN THE PURCHASERS SPECIFICATIONS. THE SIMPLE, AUTOMATIC AND COMPLETELY RELIABLE OIL SEALING SYSTEM ASSOCIATED WITH THE KINNEY KT-740 PUMPS ALLOWS UNLIMITED, CONTINUOUS, UNATTENDED REMOTE OPERATION.

"B. THE KT-740 PUMP SHAFT IS MADE OF ALLOY STEEL RATHER THAN A FORGING. THE SHAFT DIAMETER IS SUFFICIENTLY LARGE SO AS NOT TO REQUIRE FORGED STEEL.'

BY MEMORANDUM DATED AUGUST 21, 1964, THE NASA EVALUATOR COMMENTED ON YOUR PROPOSAL AS FOLLOWS:

"BECAUSE TESTING PERFORMED IN THE FACILITY IS HAZARDOUS, CONTROL AND OPERATION WILL BE PERFORMED FROM A REMOTE SAFE AREA AND THE VACUUM EQUIPMENT MUST OPERATE CONTINUOUSLY AND UNATTENDED FOR PERIODS OF TIME OF 7 TO 14 DAYS. BECAUSE OF THE STRINGENT OPERATING REQUIREMENTS - SLOW SPEED, POSITIVELY LUBRICATED BLOWERS WERE SPECIFIED (ITEM I) SINCE SIMILAR EQUIPMENT HAS PERFORMED EXCELLENTLY FOR US TO DATE. KINNEY'S HIGH SPEED BLOWER WITHOUT A POSITIVE EXTERNAL LUBRICATION SYSTEM IS CONSIDERED TO SIGNIFICANTLY DEVIATE FROM THE SPECIFICATIONS.

"SIMILARLY, LUBRICATION IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT FOR THE ROUGHING PUMPS (ITEM II) AND A POSITIVE SYSTEM WAS SPECIFIED. LEWIS HAS HAD OVERHEATING PROBLEMS ON SIMILAR GRAVITY LUBRICATED UNITS. KINNEY'S PROPOSAL FOR THIS ITEM IS ALSO CONSIDERED TO SIGNIFICANTLY DEVIATE AND IS NOT CEPTABLE.'

YOU STATE THAT THE MODIFICATIONS YOU PROPOSED, INCLUDING THE SPLASH AND THE GRAVITY-PRESSURE TYPE OILING SYSTEM, HAVE LONG BEEN ACCEPTED COMMERCIALLY, AND YOU CONTEND THAT YOUR "OR EQUAL" EQUIPMENT FUNCTIONS AS WELL AS, OR BETTER THAN, THE BRAND NAMED EQUIPMENT. THUS YOU CONCLUDE THAT THE PRESENT SPECIFICATION AS INTERPRETED BY NASA IS UNDULY RESTRICTIVE. IN THIS CONNECTION, YOU STATE THAT NASA OFFICIALS HAD VERBALLY APPROVED YOUR EQUIPMENT MODIFICATIONS.

NASA REPORTS THAT NONE OF ITS OFFICIALS GAVE VERBAL APPROVAL TO YOUR MODIFICATIONS; BUT RATHER THAT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE WAS INFORMED THAT THE MODIFICATIONS WERE UNDER TECHNICAL EVALUATION ONLY, AND THAT A REVIEW AND FINAL DECISION FOR AWARD WOULD BE FORTHCOMING FROM ITS PROCUREMENT DIVISION. ADDITIONALLY, NASA STATES THAT YOU DID NOT PROVIDE SUFFICIENT TECHNICAL DATA WITH YOUR BID TO DETERMINE WHETHER YOUR EQUIPMENT WAS EQUAL TO THE SPECIFIED EQUIPMENT. (NASA REPORTS THAT THE KMBD-1900 BLOWER QUOTED WAS NOT EVEN LISTED IN YOUR CATALOG.)

YOU RECOGNIZE THAT THE DEVELOPMENT OF SPECIFICATIONS TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT IS A FUNCTION PRIMARILY OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY CONCERNED. 17 COMP. GEN. 554. OF COURSE, AN ADVERTISED SPECIFICATION SHOULD BE STATED IN SUCH TERMS AS TO PERMIT THE BROADEST FIELD OF COMPETITION CONSISTENT WITH THE GOVERNMENT'S NEEDS. HENCE A SPECIFICATION SHOULD NOT BE DRAWN SO AS TO FAVOR ONE MANUFACTURER'S PRODUCT OR TO EXCLUDE ONE MANUFACTURER'S PRODUCT IN THE COMPETITION WITHOUT SUFFICIENT JUSTIFICATION. B-138859, AUGUST 18, 1959. BUT IT IS OBVIOUS THAT IN DRAFTING A SPECIFICATION THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY CANNOT POSSIBLY ANTICIPATE ALL THE PRODUCTS OR MODELS WHICH MAY BE OFFERED TO PERFORM THE REQUIRED FUNCTION. AS A PRACTICAL MATTER, THEREFORE, WE MUST ACCEPT THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION "AS TO THE TYPES OF EQUIPMENTS SUITED TO ITS NEEDS IN THE ABSENCE OF CLEAR INDICATION THAT SUCH DETERMINATIONS ARE ARBITRARY OR CAPRICIOUS.' B 138859, MAY 19, 1960.

IN THIS CASE THE SPECIFICATION WAS REVISED JUST PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF THE READVERTISEMENT; BUT WE CANNOT CONCLUDE FROM THE RECORD THAT THE AGENCY SHOULD HAVE INCORPORATED YOUR PROPOSED MODIFICATIONS. FURTHER, IT APPEARS THAT THE DEVIATIONS STATED IN YOUR BID TO THE SPECIFIED EQUIPMENT WERE CONSIDERED TO BE OF MAJOR IMPORTANCE IN TERMS OF THE AGENCY'S NEEDS. AGENCY EXPERIENCE INDICATED THAT YOUR PROPOSED MODIFICATIONS WOULD RESULT IN AN UNACCEPTABLE PRODUCT. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, WHILE YOUR EQUIPMENT MAY WELL BE APPROVED FOR USE ON FUTURE PROCUREMENTS, WE DO NOT FIND THAT YOUR BILL WAS IMPROPERLY REJECTED.