AS9100 Quality Management Standards for the Aerospace Industry

ISO9001 has been a good quality standard in many industries and has been used in the aerospace industry to great effect, albeit with additions.

To meet demanding aerospace standards, major aircraft manufacturers and the IAQG (International Aerospace Quality Group) developed AS9100; Based on ISO9001:2008, this standard bridges the gap between military standards and the commercial ISO9001 quality management standard. It makes sense to have an aerospace standard for best practice conformance; AS9100 is that standard.

AS9100 vs. ISO 9001

The manufacture of an item as complicated and critical as an airplane or a space vehicle requires special attention during all production processes. Close attention is paid to documentation and drawing control to ensure that the current revision of engineering drawings, parts lists, and test and inspection specifications are used. This ‘configuration control’ is covered in much more depth than ISO9001, as is identification and traceability. Paperwork tracking is vital after an incident or accident and these documents are always immediately quarantined by an accident or incident investigation board.

The AS9100 standard provides guidance for the management of key features in both material and process control. Clearly there is a lot of emphasis on the design and development of the final structure, as well as the components used in that structure, the AS9100 standard includes additional references on design and development features. Explanatory notes are included for verification and validation of both design and development, highlighting the traditional areas of emphasis. In addition, AS9100 provides information on test and results validation and verification documentation areas.

One area that receives more attention is the inspection area, particularly the first of a batch of items. This is called first article inspection in AS9100. The standard also provides guidelines for actions to take when things go wrong. Any defective part, which is scrap, must be put out of use before being discarded.

This standard can be applied in the following ways:

  • AS 9100 – Quality management system requirements for the design and/or manufacture of aerospace products
  • AS 90110 – Quality Management System Requirements for Maintenance and Repair Operations
  • AS 9120 – Quality Management System Requirements for Stockists and Distributors

The evaluation and certification is carried out by duly accredited and competent assessors. The evaluation is necessarily deeper than ISO9001 and the report is much stricter. The evaluator scores each item against a prepared score card; At the end of the assessment, the scores are totaled and a decision is made to pass or require additional work to be done. One important difference in assessment is that no corrective action can be taken during assessment, unlike ISO9001. Any CAP (corrective action plan) should be done afterwards.

Inevitably, major suppliers that achieve AS9100 certification will require their subcontractors and suppliers to also achieve the standard.

Once accredited, these organizations appear on OASIS (IAQG’s Online Aerospace Supplier Information System).

Quality Matters can help organizations achieve certification to these standards.

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