AS9100 aerospace quality management standards

ISO9001 has been a good quality standard across many industries and has been used in high-impact airspace, albeit with additions.

To meet the demanding standards in aerospace, the largest aircraft manufacturers and IAQG (International Aerospace Quality Group) developed the AS9100; based on ISO9001: 2008, this standard fills the gap between military standards and the commercial ISO9001 quality management standard. It makes good sense to have an aviation standard for best practice compliance; The AS9100 is the standard.

AS9100 v ISO 9001

Manufacturing a product as complicated and critical as an aircraft or a spacecraft requires special attention in all production processes. Much attention has been paid to documentation and drawing control to ensure that the current revision of engineering drawings, parts lists and test and inspection specifications is used. This ‘configuration management’ is covered in much more depth than ISO9001, as is identification and traceability. The paperwork trail is crucial after an incident or accident, and these documents are always quarantined immediately by an accident or incident committee.

The AS9100 standard provides guidance for key characteristic management in both material and process control. It is clear that there is a great deal of emphasis on the design and development of the final structure as well as components used in this structure, the AS9100 standard provides additional references in design and development functions. Explanatory notes are included for both design and development verification and validation, highlighting traditional focus areas. In addition, the AS9100 provides information on areas of verification documentation and validation of tests and results.

One area that is getting more attention is the inspection area, especially the first in a batch of items. This is called the first article inspection in AS9100. The standard also provides guidelines for actions to be taken when things go wrong. Any defective part that is scrap must be put in place before use before disposal.

This standard can be used in the following forms:

  • AS 9100 – Quality management system requirements for the design and / or manufacture of aerospace products
  • AS 90110 – Requirements for quality management system for maintenance and repair operations
  • AS 9120 – Requirements for quality management system for operators and distributors

Assessment and certification are performed by properly approved and competent assessors. Evaluation is necessary, more in-depth than ISO9001, and reporting is far more stringent. The evaluator scores each item against a prepared scorecard; at the end of the assessment, the scores are aggregated and a decision is made to pass or require additional work to be performed. A significant difference in the assessment is that no corrective action can be taken during the assessment, in contrast to ISO9001. Any CAP (corrective action plan) must take place afterwards.

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

Once approved, these organizations are featured in the OASIS (IAQG Online Aerospace Provider Information System).

Quality cases can help organizations achieve certification by these standards.