The Montebello Consultancy - Achievements in quality standards and fire safety
ANDREW GRAHAM SMITH

Experts in two fields throughout the World respected Andrew Smith. Domestic fire safety was one area; the second was quality standardization. Twenty-five years working in industry was the foundation of these achievements. Then he hoped to use his experience more widely. To do this he formed "The Montebello Consultancy" in 1988. My face through the years.

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Working Experience:
 
 
Now retired, he joined the Dunlopillo Division of Dunlop Ltd. on leaving university. In that same year he joined his first British Standards Institute technical committee. During this period he developed physical tests and introduced statistical procedures to the Division. In the mid-Sixties his responsibilities enlarged to include process development, working on a system of low pressure foaming. The costs were not favourable at that time but it is now a major production process. Factory graphic

At the beginning of the Seventies the public began to be aware of the Fire issue. Individual companies had done small scale tests for many years. A whole industry chose Andrew Smith to do some of the first experiments on the ignition and burning of real pieces of furniture. (See the pictureMan at Work taken in 1974). He used this knowledge to design the apparatus on which BS 5852, EN 1021 and the U. K. Government furniture safety regulations were based.
Through the middle and late Seventies the British Standards Institution then the International Standards Organization and the Comité Europeenne de Normalisation (CEN) started drafting methods of test and specifications based on the ideas formed by these experiments. In all of these discussions Andrew Smith was one of the leaders, seeking to reduce the toll of lives lost by fire.
For ten years Andrew Smith was convener of the ISO working group dealing with foam test methods and quality specifications. This group published thirteen International standards under his guidance.
 

In the Eighties the use of statistical methods of quality control increased. Within his company Andrew Smith became the statistical advisor on the efforts to conform to the Ford Q101 system of control, and to achieve certification under BS 5750. These external standards are now the ISO 9000 series and its automotive equivalents.

In the early part of the Eighties the effort on fire died away, but new techniques became available. He was seconded for a period to the Fire Research Station to work on the computer modelling of fire.

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Andrew Smith also developed a quantitative test for smouldering for Dunlopillo. In 1986 his efforts over the years were recognized by a presentation by the British Rubber Manufacturers Association. This was the "J. Mac A. King" award for "outstanding services to the foam industry". He had been chair of two technical committees of the BSI and served on many others. At ISO he was at one time a member of four expert groups. He was a member of the CEN working group on furniture flammability. As the first chairperson he established the CEN Technical Sub-committee dealing with cellular polymers.
From 1988 he managed his own business, The Montebello Consultancy. He deliberately organized this as a one man operation so that all clients had full access to his abilities.
 

In the Nineties he worked for a wide variety of clients, within the UK and internationally. His projects covered a very wide range. One example was to organize academic and industrial cooperation to improve the quality of products in Costa Rica. Another was to set up a database of fire test results in a project funded by the European Commission. In 1992 the BSI awarded a Distinguished Service Certificate to him. Eventually he became Chairman of one of the four Consumer Coordinating Committees of the BSI which was concerned with mechanical engineering, construction and health care. Thus his fire and general standards expertise was used for the benefit of product users. He drafted standards under the DTI aided consultancy scheme, including a major portion of BS 0, "A Standard for Standards". World globe graphic

 
 
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The future:
The coming of micro-computers meant that it was possible to offer a wide range of numerical services. Andrew Smith made problems comprehensible that involved tens of thousands of results, each including multiple measurements. Interlaboratory tests were a speciality. He brought research on the statistical analysis of attribute data into use. To do this he wrote dedicated programmes to carry out the calculations. People seeking to have complicated numbers reduced to practical advice could use his numeracy. He had twenty five years of micro-computer programming experience. He welcomed the writing of special applications to solve problems for clients.
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His ability to find concise words to simplify complex situations was widely known. Clients used this ability to create, update or edit technical literature. Manuals for systems, machines or processes; descriptive material for products; searches, abstracts or precis writing; or regular reports on the polymer or fire fields could all be written for clients.
He has an enquiring mind, combined with a strong practical streak. He has proved his ability to lead teams to achieve improvements in quality systems. Andrew Smith retained good links with many test houses such as the Fire Research Station, The Loss Prevention Council, the Furniture Industry Research Association, RAPRA Technology Ltd. and the Warrington Fire Research Centre. He could plan and organize simple or complex experiments. Special apparatus or test rigs can be designed and made.
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Clients:
 
Past and present clients of The Montebello Consultancy have included
  • British Rubber Manufacturer's Association
  • British Standards Institution
  • Ciba-Geigy Industrial Chemicals, U. K.
  • Consumers' Association, UK
  • Defence Research Agency, UK
  • Department of the Environment, UK
  • Department of Trade and Industry, UK
  • European Commission
  • Fire Research Station, UK
  • National Council for Science and Technology, Costa Rica
  • RAPRA Technology Ltd., UK
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Qualifications:
 
B.Sc. Physics

(Nottingham University, 1963, subsidiary subjects Mathematics, Electronics and Geology)

3 "S" Level G.C.E. Passes

(Pure, Applied Mathematics and Physics with the same subjects at "A" level );

8 "O" Level G.C.E. Passes;

Languages:

English, French and Spanish.

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