Origination of PPAP Process
Prior to 1980s, the American Manufacturing plants dominated the worldwide market for automobiles. However, they lost their dominance when Japanese entered the market with higher quality product. American manufactures had to rethink how to compete with the Japanese, and developed various process that allowed them to regain their position in the automotive market.
The Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) is developed by industry engineers within the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG). The AIAG was found in Southfield, Michigan, and it had all engineers from all major manufactures of automobiles in North America. When the AIAG was formed, the initial goal was to provide the recommendations to improve the quality of the product. However, it was expanded to include all key processes and standards in automotive used within the industry.
Purpose of PPAP
The main purpose of the PPAP is to:
- Ensure that a supplier can meet a customer’s manufacturing and quality requirements for their products.
- Prove, with objective evidence, that the supplier fulfilled all customer specifications and engineering drawing requirements.
- Verify that the supplier can successfully manufacture the customer’s product using their established and approved manufacturing process.
As per PPAP process, design engineers must complete the drawings and specifications for the vehicle, Production engineers must design robust processes with the proper quality controls, with the help of designs provided by design engineers. Quality engineers are included in the PPAP process as well, and are responsible for several elements of the process. Moreover, in many organizations, the quality engineer completes the PPAP document and submits the entire package to the customer for approval.
Designing and producing an automobile is not an easy task, and it’s not surprising that the PPAP process is complex. This detailed process is comprised of eighteen key elements that must be completed to ensure the production process will produce a quality product.
PPAP Elements as per 4th Edition of AIAG PPAP Manual:
- Design records
- Engineering change documents
- Customer engineering approval
- Design FMEA
- Process flow diagrams
- Process FMEA
- Control plan
- Measurement System Analysis (MSA)
- Dimensional analysis
- Material performance results
- Initial process studies
- Qualified laboratory documentation
- Appearance Approval Report
- Sample product
- Master sample
- Checking aids
- Records of compliance
- Part Submission Warrant (PSW)
Success of PPAP in Automotive Industry
PPAP process is very successful in the automotive industry over last two decades, which ensures to supply the defect-free products with high quality, and for better traceability.
How Aerospace is in line with Automotive Industry
Aerospace and automotive are two major manufacturing industries, they both are involved in product performance, leveraging high technologies, and reducing the time-to-market.
Both industries rely on high Quality requirements, advanced materials, electronics and embedded systems, as well as New Product Introduction (NPI), and enabling Product life cycle management (PLM).
PPAP in Aerospace:
The Aerospace industry is growing rapidly, and to continue the same in future, there is a high demand for producing at a higher rate. Thus, continuity of supply products becomes necessary.
Currently, the way Quality Management System (QMS) of Aerospace & Defence (A&D) business is organized, it would not support the above need much. Supply Chain, which is huge and multi-layered, is adding to its existing challenge. The aerospace industry is facing challenges in terms of resources, pressure to save cost, and the implementation of this APQP / PPAP being new. Hence, there needs to be a proven system which addresses all the challenges.
PPAP has been a proven methodology in the automotive industry for the last two decades. This concept is applied on all manufacturing components in the automotive industry successfully for the past two decades. Most of the Aerospace OEMs have realized that PPAP implementation is required in the aerospace industry wherever there is need for quality and consistent delivery against a significant demand over a period.
Challenges in Implementing PPAP in Aerospace
The challenges of implementing PPAP in Aerospace industry is categorised as:
Process / Framework:
- Lot size during product launch is typically less than 30, making the Statistical Process Control study challenging
- Non-availability / incomplete DFMEA due to lack of integration of PPAP elements in NPD process
- Lack of knowledge in methodology and importance of various elements of PPAP, as it is relatively new to the Aerospace industry.
- Inadequate infrastructure
- Cost associated with PPAP documentation not in contractual agreement
- Shortage of resources to implement the standard
Addressing the challenges
Process / Framework:
The requirement of minimum batch quantity to assess the process capability, and approve a PPAP is trimmed down in Aerospace. For some of the products, full PPAP approval could take a couple of years until which time, an interim PPAP approval is provided. This could be for the reason of getting a minimum quantity of 25 parts to assess process capability and stability.
Design / Process Failure Mode Effect Analysis (DFMEA/PFMEA) are most powerful attributes of APQP / PPAP process. The Aerospace industry identified both Design and Process FMEA, which plays an important role to ensure full compliance to their customer expectations.
The DFMEA is an important input to PFMEA, defining the Critical to Quality features / characteristics of the design. However, we can still generate a PFMEA, even though a DFMEA is not available by providing the definition of the product and process flow diagram.
Effort and Cost associated with the amount of paperwork can be reduced by integrating PPAP with the centralized, robust tool to manage the rest of the information collection, submissions and approvals. Also, a tool to be effective, a good capable and seasoned team is equally important.
The Aerospace domain is characterized by rapid technological advancements in engineering, and diversified product outlook. Adapting end-to-end engineering solutions such as APQP & PPAP to manage and to improve QCD (Quality, Cost & Delivery) is no more an expectation, but a very basic need.
By adopting PPAP in Aerospace, companies do not need to invest on extra resources and technology, as required for individual projects of different capacities executed across the globe. Companies can also concentrate on the broader scale of their business interests.
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