B-176521, AUG 31, 1972

B-176521: Aug 31, 1972

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ITS PROTEST WAS MADE 8 DAYS AFTER BID OPENING AND 14 DAYS AFTER DISCUSSIONS WITH NBS PERSONNEL. THE PROTEST IS UNTIMELY AND MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED. ALTHOUGH THE IFB WAS SENT TO 27 PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS. ONLY TWO BIDS WERE RECEIVED BY THE MAY 31 BID OPENING DATE. ONLY THAT SUBMITTED BY GEOFFROY WAS CONSIDERED TO BE ACCEPTABLE. WAS CONSEQUENTLY DETERMINED TO BE NONRESPONSIVE. AVEY NOTIFIED THE CONTRACTING ACTIVITY THAT THE IFB SPECIFICATIONS WERE PROPRIETARY AND DESCRIBED A BURGMASTER MACHINE IN EVERY DETAIL. WE ARE ADVISED. ONLY ONE USES NONMETALLIC TEFLON-BASED MATERIAL IN THE FEMALE WAY AND THAT THIS IS DONE ONLY AS AN ECONOMY MOVE. IT IS FURTHER CONTENDED THAT THE STATEMENT BY PERSONNEL OF THE CONTRACTING ACTIVITY TO THE EFFECT THAT USE OF THIS MATERIAL WILL BEST INSURE A BED DESIGN OFFERING THE BEST POSSIBLE ACCURACY THROUGHOUT THE FULL LONGITUDINAL AND TRANSVERSE MOVEMENT OF THE TABLE.

B-176521, AUG 31, 1972

BID PROTEST - TIMELINESS DECISION DENYING THE PROTEST OF THE AVEY MACHINE TOOL COMPANY AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO THE GEOFFROY COMPANY UNDER AN IFB ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF STANDARDS, FOR A NUMERICALLY CONTROLLED TURRET HEAD MACHINING CENTER. ALTHOUGH AVEY DID DISCUSS THE CAPABILITIES AND MERITS OF ITS MACHINE WITH THE CONTRACTING ACTIVITY AND DID QUESTION THE PROPRIETARY NATURE OF THE MACHINE DESCRIBED IN THE SPECIFICATION PRIOR TO BID OPENING, IT DID NOT PROTEST AGAINST PROCEEDING WITH THE PROCUREMENT PROCESS OR REQUEST THAT THE IFB BE AMENDED TO ELIMINATE THE PROPRIETARY FEATURES. ITS PROTEST WAS MADE 8 DAYS AFTER BID OPENING AND 14 DAYS AFTER DISCUSSIONS WITH NBS PERSONNEL. ACCORDINGLY, THE PROTEST IS UNTIMELY AND MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED.

TO MR. BOYD L. GREEN:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 10, 1972, REQUESTING OUR DECISION ON THE AVEY MACHINE TOOL COMPANY PROTEST AGAINST AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO THE GEOFFROY COMPANY UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS (IFB) NO. NBS 24-72, FOR A NUMERICALLY CONTROLLED TURRET HEAD MACHINING CENTER.

ALTHOUGH THE IFB WAS SENT TO 27 PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS, ONLY TWO BIDS WERE RECEIVED BY THE MAY 31 BID OPENING DATE. OF THE TWO BIDS, ONLY THAT SUBMITTED BY GEOFFROY WAS CONSIDERED TO BE ACCEPTABLE. THE LOW BID OFFERED A SINGLE SPINDLE TURRET HEAD, INSTEAD OF AN EIGHT-SPINDLE TURRET HEAD AS CALLED FOR BY THE IFB SPECIFICATION, AND WAS CONSEQUENTLY DETERMINED TO BE NONRESPONSIVE. THE AVEY TOOL COMPANY DID NOT SUBMIT A BID. BY LETTER OF MAY 22, HOWEVER, AVEY NOTIFIED THE CONTRACTING ACTIVITY THAT THE IFB SPECIFICATIONS WERE PROPRIETARY AND DESCRIBED A BURGMASTER MACHINE IN EVERY DETAIL. AVEY ALSO REQUESTED THE OPPORTUNITY TO DISCUSS THE MERITS OF ITS EIGHT-SPINDLE MACHINES WITH THE CONTRACTING ACTIVITY. FINALLY, IT SUGGESTED THAT IF ONLY A BURGMASTER MACHINE WOULD MEET THE NEEDS OF THE ACTIVITY, A NEGOTIATED PROCUREMENT WOULD BE MORE IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT THAN AN ILLUSORY COMPETITIVE PROCUREMENT. DISCUSSION BETWEEN AVEY AND NBS CONTRACTING PERSONNEL TOOK PLACE ON MAY 25. AT THIS TIME, WE ARE ADVISED, AVEY DID NOT INDICATE THAT IT WOULD PROTEST AN AWARD UNDER THE IFB. THEN, ON JUNE 8, OR AFTER THE MAY 31 OPENING DATE, AVEY NOTIFIED THE ACTIVITY TELEPHONICALLY THAT, INASMUCH AS AWARD HAD NOT YET BEEN MADE, IT INTENDED TO PROTEST ANY AWARD UNDER THE IFB. IT DID SO IN WRITING BY LETTER DATED JUNE 19.

AVEY QUESTIONS THAT PORTION OF THE SPECIFICATION WHICH REQUIRES THAT NONMETALLIC TEFLON-BASED MATERIAL SHALL BE USED TO LINE THE FEMALE WAY OF THE MACHINING CENTER. AVEY ALLEGES THAT OF THE THREE MANUFACTURERS IN THE UNITED STATES WHO MANUFACTURE THIS MACHINE, ONLY ONE USES NONMETALLIC TEFLON-BASED MATERIAL IN THE FEMALE WAY AND THAT THIS IS DONE ONLY AS AN ECONOMY MOVE. USE OF THIS REQUIREMENT IN THE SPECIFICATIONS MEANS, IN AVEY'S OPINION, THAT ONLY ONE OF THE THREE MANUFACTURERS CAN FEASIBLY BID. IT IS FURTHER CONTENDED THAT THE STATEMENT BY PERSONNEL OF THE CONTRACTING ACTIVITY TO THE EFFECT THAT USE OF THIS MATERIAL WILL BEST INSURE A BED DESIGN OFFERING THE BEST POSSIBLE ACCURACY THROUGHOUT THE FULL LONGITUDINAL AND TRANSVERSE MOVEMENT OF THE TABLE, AS WELL AS PROVIDING A TABLE SUPPORT SYSTEM WHICH WILL BE RIGID AND PROVIDE A MINIMUM OF FRICTION AND UNINTERRUPTED NONVIBRATING TABLE MOVEMENT, POINTS OUT EITHER THAT LITTLE RESEARCH HAS BEEN DONE INTO THE MATTER OR THAT A DETERMINATION HAS BEEN MADE TO BUY ONLY ONE TYPE OF MACHINE. THE FACTS ARE, AVEY ADVISES, THAT THE COEFFICIENT OF FRICTION OF TEFLON IMPREGNATED MATERIAL COMMONLY AVAILABLE IS ABOUT .03. THE COEFFICIENT OF FRICTION OF RECIRCULATING ROLLERS ON HARDENED STEEL WAYS, AS IS FOUND IN THE MACHINE AVEY MANUFACTURES, IS APPROXIMATELY .005. AS TO THE SUBJECT OF RIGIDITY, THE AVEY MACHINE WAS ALLEGEDLY DESIGNED WITH THIS VERY OBJECT IN MIND. ITS MACHINE IS CAPABLE OF 6-HP DRILLING BOTH IN THE LINEAR AND THE CIRCULAR MODE OF OPERATION, AVEY FEELS THE CONTRACTING ACTIVITY'S DEFENSE ON THIS MATTER IS EXTREMELY POOR AND THAT THE LACK OF FACTUAL INFORMATION IS QUITE SURPRISING.

THE CONTRACTING ACTIVITY ADVISES THAT WHILE THERE MAY BE OTHER METHODS TO PROVIDE A LOW FRICTION TABLE SUPPORTING SYSTEM, IT WAS NOT AWARE OF ANY OTHER METHODS AT THE TIME THE PRESENT SPECIFICATION WAS DRAFTED. IT WAS THEREFORE NECESSARY THAT THE SPECIFICATION CALL FOR A DESIGN WHICH WOULD PROVIDE A MACHINE MEETING THE GOVERNMENT'S REQUIREMENTS. ALTHOUGH AVEY DID DISCUSS THE CAPABILITIES AND MERITS OF ITS MACHINE WITH THE CONTRACTING ACTIVITY AND DID QUESTION THE PROPRIETARY NATURE OF THE MACHINE DESCRIBED IN THE SPECIFICATION PRIOR TO BID OPENING, IT DID NOT PROTEST AGAINST PROCEEDING WITH THE PROCUREMENT PROCESS OR REQUEST THAT THE IFB BE AMENDED TO ELIMINATE THE PROPRIETARY FEATURES. ITS PROTEST WAS MADE 8 DAYS AFTER BID OPENING AND 14 DAYS AFTER DISCUSSIONS WITH NBS PERSONNEL. ACCORDINGLY, THE PROTEST IS UNTIMELY AND MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED.

WE RECOMMEND, HOWEVER, THAT THE MERITS OF THE AVEY ALLEGATIONS BE EXAMINED TO ASSURE THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS ARE IN FACT SUSCEPTIBLE TO COMPETITIVE BIDDING.

WE ARE RETURNING, AS REQUESTED, THE ENCLOSURES ACCOMPANYING THE LETTER OF JULY 10.