B-156148, MAY 13, 1965

B-156148: May 13, 1965

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TO FRANK DEE AIRCRAFT: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 27. THESE ASSEMBLIES WERE TO BE REPLACEMENT PARTS IN SUPPORT OF EQUIPMENT SPECIALLY DESIGNED BY THE MANUFACTURER. SINCE IT WAS KNOWN THAT. MIGHT HAVE SURPLUS EQUIPMENT. THESE SOURCES WERE ALSO SOLICITED. TWO PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED. OR AT A PRICE OF $14.45 EACH IF THE USE OF GOVERNMENT FACILITIES ON A "NO-CHARGE-FOR-USE- BASIS" WAS ALLOWED. ACTION WAS TAKEN TO MAKE A CHANGE IN THE WORK REQUIREMENTS BY REQUIRING THE BREAKERS (CONTACT SETS) TO BE RUN IN ON A 14-LOBE CAM. YOU WERE REQUESTED TO SUBMIT EVIDENCE THAT THE CONTACT SETS YOU PROPOSED TO FURNISH. WHICH WERE FORMER GOVERNMENT SURPLUS PROPERTY OR OVERSTOCKED PARTS OF VARIOUS AIRLINES.

B-156148, MAY 13, 1965

TO FRANK DEE AIRCRAFT:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 27, 1965, PROTESTING THE REJECTION OF YOUR PROPOSAL SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL NO. SA-5-40199 ISSUED BY THE SAN ANTONIO AIR MATERIEL AREA, KELLY AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS, ON SEPTEMBER 22, 1964.

THE REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL SOLICITED PROPOSALS--- TO BE RECEIVED UNTIL THE CLOSE OF BUSINESS 4:45 P.M., C.S.T., OCTOBER 22, 1964--- FOR FURNISHING 6,641 BREAKER ASSEMBLIES FOR MAGNETOS IN AIRCRAFT ENGINES. THESE ASSEMBLIES WERE TO BE REPLACEMENT PARTS IN SUPPORT OF EQUIPMENT SPECIALLY DESIGNED BY THE MANUFACTURER, THE BENDIX CORPORATION, SCINTILLA DIVISION. SINCE IT WAS KNOWN THAT, IN ADDITION TO THE MANUFACTURER, TWO OTHER SOURCES, INCLUDING YOUR FIRM, MIGHT HAVE SURPLUS EQUIPMENT, THESE SOURCES WERE ALSO SOLICITED. TWO PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED. BENDIX PROPOSED TO FURNISH THE ENTIRE QUANTITY AT A PRICE OF $14.52 EACH, OR AT A PRICE OF $14.45 EACH IF THE USE OF GOVERNMENT FACILITIES ON A "NO-CHARGE-FOR-USE- BASIS" WAS ALLOWED. YOU PROPOSED TO FURNISH 1,000 ASSEMBLIES AT A PRICE OF $12.78 EACH. ON OCTOBER 8, 1964, ACTION WAS TAKEN TO MAKE A CHANGE IN THE WORK REQUIREMENTS BY REQUIRING THE BREAKERS (CONTACT SETS) TO BE RUN IN ON A 14-LOBE CAM. THEREAFTER, ON DECEMBER 16, 1964, YOU WERE REQUESTED TO SUBMIT EVIDENCE THAT THE CONTACT SETS YOU PROPOSED TO FURNISH, WHICH WERE FORMER GOVERNMENT SURPLUS PROPERTY OR OVERSTOCKED PARTS OF VARIOUS AIRLINES, HAD IN FACT BEEN RUN IN ON A 14-LOBE CAM. YOUR REPLY DID NOT SUPPLY THE EVIDENCE REQUESTED; HOWEVER, YOU DID STATE THAT YOU PROPOSED TO HAVE THE SETS RUN IN ON A 14-LOBE CAM WHICH MEANT THAT THE ITEMS YOU HAD ON HAND HAD ORIGINALLY BEEN RUN IN ON A 9-LOBE CAM. YOUR PROPOSAL WAS REJECTED AND AWARD WAS MADE TO THE OTHER PROPOSER, EFFECTIVE JANUARY 19, 1965.

THE REASONS FOR THE REJECTION OF YOUR PROPOSAL ARE STATED IN THE REPORT OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE ON APRIL 26, 1965, AND ARE AS FOLLOWS:

"3. * * * ONE PART OF A BREAKER ASSEMBLY IS THE CAM FOLLOWER BLOCK, WHICH MUST BE CONTOURED TO THE PROPER POLYGONAL SHAPE ACCORDING TO THE SIZE OF THE CAM IN THE ENGINES IN WHICH THE BREAKER ASSEMBLY IS TO BE USED: THE CAM FOLLOWER BLOCK MUST BE NINE-SIDED FOR A 9-LOBE CAM AND FOURTEEN-SIDED FOR A 14-LOBE CAM. CONTOURING OF THE CAM FOLLOWER BLOCK IS DONE BY A "RUNNING-IN" PROCESS. RUNNING-IN IS USUALLY A PART OF THE MANUFACTURING PROCESS, BUT A CAM FOLLOWER BLOCK WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY RUN-IN ON ONE SIZE CAM CAN LATER BE RECONTOURED TO ANOTHER SHAPE BY PUTTING IT THROUGH ANOTHER RUNNING-IN PROCESS ON A DIFFERENT SIZE CAM.

"4. AT TIMES IN THE PAST, BREAKER ASSEMBLIES WHOSE CAM FOLLOWER BLOCKS HAD BEEN RUN-IN ORIGINALLY ON A 9-LOBE CAM HAVE BEEN INSTALLED WITHOUT RECONTOURING, IN MAGNETOS IN ENGINES WHICH USE A 14-LOBE CAM; WHEN THIS IS DONE THE BREAKER OPERATES PROPERLY, BUT RECONTOURING OF THE CAM FOLLOWER BLOCK TO A 14-LOBE CONFIGURATION TAKES PLACE IN ACTUAL OPERATION. THEN, AT THE POINT WHEN THE RECONTOURING OCCURS, THE DWELL, OR TIMING, OF THE MAGNETO CHANGES CAUSING FAILURE OF THE MAGNETO. WHEN THIS HAPPENS IT IS NECESSARY TO REMOVE THE MAGNETO FROM THE ENGINE FOR RETIMING, AND IN MANY CASES THE BREAKERS WILL BE REPLACED RESULTING IN A HIGH CONSUMPTION RATE.

"5. CLEARLY, THEN, IN ORDER TO AVOID GREATLY INCREASED COSTS OF REPAIR AND CONSUMPTION OF BREAKERS, IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT THE CAM FOLLOWER BLOCKS OF NEW BREAKER ASSEMBLIES BE PROPERLY CONTOURED OR RECONTOURED BEFORE INSTALLATION IN AIRCRAFT ENGINES. IN CASES WHERE RECONTOURING IS NECESSARY, HOWEVER, THERE IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM: RECONTOURING TAKES A MUCH LONGER TIME THAN CONTOURING THE FIRST TIME, AND THE TIME VARIES GREATLY FROM ONE CAM FOLLOWER BLOCK TO THE NEXT. THE FIRST CONTOURING TAKES ONLY ABOUT 8 OR 9 HOURS WHEREAS RECONTOURING MAY TAKE FROM 25 TO 50 HOURS, AND MAY OFTEN TAKE AS LONG AS 85 HOURS FOR A SINGLE CAM FOLLOWER BLOCK. FOR THESE REASONS, WHEN THE RUNNING IN PROCESS IS CONDUCTED APART FROM THE PRODUCTION LINE OF THE MANUFACTURING PROCESS, QUALITY CONTROL BECOMES MUCH MORE DIFFICULT AND EXPENSIVE.

"6. IN THIS CASE, THE ENGINES FOR WHICH BREAKERS ARE REQUIRED CONTAIN 14- LOBE CAMS. FOR THE REASONS EXPLAINED ABOUT, AN AMENDMENT WAS ISSUED TO THE RFP TO REQUIRE BREAKERS FULLY RUN-IN ON THE PROPER SIZE CAM. COMPLAINANT HAS A SUPPLY OF SURPLUS BREAKERS WHOSE CAM FOLLOWER BLOCKS WERE ORIGINALLY RUN-IN ON A 9-LOBE CAM. HE PROPOSED TO FURNISH THESE AFTER RECONTOURING THEM ON A 14-LOBE CAM. FOR THE REASONS EXPLAINED ABOVE, HOWEVER, AIR FORCE ENGINEERS ADVISED THAT, IN PRACTICE, THE AIR FORCE QUALITY CONTROL INSPECTOR COULD NOT PERFORM EFFECTIVELY ENOUGH TO ASSURE THAT THE RUNNING-IN WAS CONTINUED AS LONG AS NECESSARY UNTIL RECONTOURING TOOK PLACE FOR ALL 1,000 SETS OF THIS HIGHLY CRITICAL ITEM WHICH COMPLAINANT PROPOSED TO FURNISH. FOR THIS REASON, AND ALSO BECAUSE THE OTHER PROPOSER UNDER THE RFP PLANNED TO MANUFACTURE NEW BREAKERS AND RUN THEM IN ON THE PROPER SIZE CAM IN THE FIRST PLACE, AS PART OF THE MANUFACTURING PROCESS, COMPLAINANT'S PROPOSAL WAS CONSIDERED UNACCEPTABLE.'

YOUR MAIN CONTENTION IS THAT YOU HAD AGREED THAT YOU WOULD RUN IN THE BREAKERS ON A 14-LOBE CAM. HOWEVER, AS STATED IN THE ABOVE-QUOTED PORTION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE REPORT, WHEN THE RUNNING-IN PROCESS IS CONDUCTED APART FROM THE PRODUCTION LINE OF THE MANUFACTURING PROCESS, QUALITY CONTROL BECOMES MUCH MORE DIFFICULT AND EXPENSIVE AND THE BREAKERS YOU OFFERED FELL IN THAT CATEGORY SINCE THEY APPEARED TO HAVE BEEN ORIGINALLY RUN IN ON A 9-LOBE CAM AND HAD TO BE RECONTOURED ON A 14-LOBE CAM. SINCE THE ENTIRE QUANTITY OF 6,641 BREAKERS PROPOSED TO BE FURNISHED BY THE MANUFACTURER (THE OTHER PROPOSER) WAS TO BE RUN IN ON THE PROPER SIZE CAM AS A PART OF THE MANUFACTURING PROCESS, AND SINCE IT WOULD HAVE BEEN DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN PROPER RECONTOURING AS TO THE 1,000 UNITS YOU OFFERED, YOUR PROPOSAL WAS CONSIDERED UNACCEPTABLE. IN CASES WHERE, AS HERE, THERE IS INVOLVED A QUESTION AS TO WHETHER THE MATERIALS OFFERED BY A PROPOSER WILL MEET THE TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS OF A SPECIFICATION, THE MATTER IS ONE PRIMARILY FOR DETERMINATION BY THE PROCURING AGENCY SINCE OUR OFFICE DOES NOT EMPLOY TECHNICAL PERSONNEL FOR SUCH PURPOSES AND WE MUST RELY ON A DETERMINATION SO MADE UNLESS IT IS ABUNDANTLY CLEAR THAT THE DETERMINATION IS ARBITRARY OR ERRONEOUS. THERE DOES NOT APPEAR ANYTHING IN THIS CASE WHICH WOULD WARRANT DISAGREEMENT BY OUR OFFICE WITH THE DETERMINATION SO MADE.

REGARDING YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE PROCURING AGENCY "SEEMS TO FAVOR" BIG BUSINESS IT IS CLEAR THAT UPON THE REJECTION OF YOUR PROPOSAL THE AGENCY HAD NO CHOICE IN THE MATTER, IF IT WANTED TO PURCHASE THE BREAKERS, BUT TO AWARD THE CONTRACT TO THE OTHER PROPOSER.