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Tuesday, 24 July 2018

AS9100 Aircraft, Space and Defence Standard

To meet the exacting standards in aircraft, space and defence the major aircraft manufacturers and IAQG (International Aerospace Quality Group) developed AS9100; based on ISO9001:2008 and upgraded with ISO 9001:2015 this standard (now at Rev D) fills the gap between military standards and the commercial ISO9001 quality management standard. It makes good sense to have one aircraft, space and defence standard for conformity to best practice; AS9100 is that standard.

AS9100 v ISO 9001

Manufacturing an item as complicated and critical as an aircraft or space vehicle requires special attention during all the production processes. A great deal of attention is placed on documentation and drawing control to ensure that the current revision of engineering drawings, bills of material and test and inspection specifications is being used. This 'configuration control’ is covered in far more depth than ISO9001, as is identification and traceability. Following an incident or accident documents are always quarantined immediately by an air accident or incident board of enquiry.

Risks and opportunities are highlighted in the standard. The AS9100 standard also provides for key characteristic management in both material, and process control. Clearly there is a good deal of emphasis on the design and development of the final structure as well as components used in that structure, the AS9100 standard includes additional requirements in design and development functions. Explanatory notes are included for both design and development verification and validation, highlighting traditional areas of emphasis. Additionally, AS9100 provides information on areas of verification, documentation and validating testing and results.

One area which receives greater attention is the inspection area, particularly first off in a batch of items and subsequent inspection. The standard also requires actions to be taken when it all goes wrong. Any faulty part, which is designated as scrap, must be put beyond use before disposition.

This standard can be applied in the following forms:

  • AS 9100 - Quality Management System requirements for Design and/or manufacture of aircraft, space or defence products 
  • AS 9110 - Quality Management System requirements for maintenance and repair operations 
  • AS 9120 - Quality Management System requirements for Stockists and distributors. 

Assessment and certification is carried out by properly accredited and competent assessors. The assessment is of necessity, more in depth than ISO9001 and the reporting is far stricter. The assessor checks every element of the standard against the organisation’s documented information system; at the end of the assessment a decision is made to pass or require additional work to be carried out. One major difference in the assessment is that no corrective action may take place during the assessment, unlike ISO9001. Any CAP (corrective action plan) must take place afterwards and be submitted through the OASIS system. Once all CAP items have been accepted a certificate can be issued.

Inevitably organisations who achieve certification to AS9100 will then require their sub-contractors and external providers to achieve the standard as well.

Once accredited these organisations are featured in OASIS (the IAQG Online Aerospace Supplier Information System).

Quality Matters can assist organisations to achieve certification to these standards and provide internal audit services.

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