Product quality is the key to every manufacturer’s competitive market success. Therefore, each manufacturer focuses on quality product manufacturing and services. Those manufacturers who fail to realize the importance of the aspect get lost on the road to success. Quality is one of the most important characteristics for a brand to dominate the market, which gains customers’ trust and makes the brand more dependable than other competitors. Therefore, maintaining quality standards for physical products and after-sale services are the most crucial factor for every manufacturer. In this case, PPAP is one of the essential product quality standards in most manufacturing industries.
This article will introduce the production part approval process or PPAP and highlight the importance of PPAP over the product’s performance in the market. It will also highlight the five levels of PPAP, which plays a significant role in manufacturing. At the end of this article, we will discuss some of the essential elements of PPAP and the companies which operate the PPAP standards.
What is The Production Part Approval Process or PPAP?
As the section title implies, PPAP stands for production part approval process, a typical manufacturing acronym. PPAP is the key to consistent parts and component manufacturing in automotive industries. It comprises 18 elements that make this comprehensive process ensure the high-quality production of parts and equipment expected by the consumers.
The origin of the PPAP standard is the aerospace and automotive industry, especially in AIAG or Automotive Industry Action Group. Later, this standard has gained popularity in all other manufacturing plants to improve quality production. PPAP supports all the critical activities in manufacturing engineering and eases collaborations between suppliers and buyers. This process is also a part of APQP, which stands for advanced product quality planning.
If any entrepreneur initializes any of the supply chains related to automotive fields, it is requiring conducting PPAP. However, other than automotive supply chains, other industries also practice PPAP to ensure engineering designs and specifications. In this case, the responsible companies, FCA US, Ford Motors, and General Motors, listed PPAP as the customer-specific requirement or CSR.
Importance of PPAP
PPAP is crucial because it ensures the manufactured part required for an automotive or piece of machinery specification is correct as expected. It provides a simple guideline that lets the suppliers improve communication. Each production run in a factory enables the quality output and assurance of the product requirement through PPAP. As a result, it reduces the risks and improves the implementation of the correct action. PPAP makes the overall manufacturing process smoother. However, the following three points are the primary purpose of the PPAP.
- To ensure that a supplier maintains the customer’s product quality requirements
- Proving that the manufacturer or supplier has fulfilled all the products specifications and engineering drawing requirements
- To verify the approved manufacturing process
What Are The Five Levels of PPAP?
The five levels of PPAP are as famous as five part submission levels. These five-part submission levels are crucial for the PPAP process, and a customer should get these documents from a seller. In this case, when a customer requires the PPAP, they will also follow this part submission levels.
According to the AIAG or Automotive Industry Action Group, a seller must consider all the essential PPAP elements of a manufactured piece. However, submitting the necessary details depends on the part and the purchase order requirements. These five PPAP levels indicate what type of documents a supplier should hand over to the customer.
- PSW or the part submission warrant (Level 1)
- Documents with products sample and some limited supporting data (Level 2)
- Products sample with completed supporting data (Level 3)
- Customer’s other products requirement (Level 4)
- PSW with complete support data at the manufacturer’s location. (Level 5)
PSW or part submission warrant is the part of the PPAP process that usually indicates the supplier’s evidence that they can meet the customer’s demands. These documents include the delivery date, production rate, and product quality. A supplier must ensure all these application elements. On the other hand, PSW quality controls ensure the proper testing of the products.
According to the above five levels of PPAP, it is essential to note that these levels are at the buyer’s discretion. In this case, it is not specific in which situation requires which PPAP level. Therefore, every supplier must retain all these details from the manufacturers.
Elements of Product Part Approval Process in Manufacturing
AIAG founded the PPAP checklist and released version 4 recently. According to the latest PPAP manual version, there are 18 primary documents required for manufacturing automotive parts. In this section, we will shortly introduce these 18 elements to you.
- Design records include customer’s and supplier’s drawings, material composition, and purchase orders.
- Documents for engineering changes include the change requirement details from the customer and ECN or engineering change notice from the engineering department.
- Evidence of engineering approval includes the sample testing reports approved by the engineering department.
- Design FMEA: DFMEA or Design Failure Mode and Effects Analysis include failure modes and their effects on the part.
- Process flow diagrams describe the entire process of manufacturing and assembly.
- Process FMEA: PFMEA or Process failure mode and effects analysis include all the possible process quality failure and their effects on the final products.
- The control plan is the next step for PFMEA.
- MSA or Measure System analysis includes Gage Repeatability & Reproducibility (GR&R).
- The dimensional analysis represents the data, including the tolerance and other factors.
- Material performance test results include Design Verification Plan and Report (DVP&R).
- Initial process studies include Statistical Process Control (SPC).
- Documentation for Qualified laboratory tests includes the certificates approved by any quality testing lab.
- AAR or appearance approval report includes the components affecting the test part’s appearance.
- Sample product.
- Expert sample: This sample usually comes from the final testing and the manufacturers’ engineering department approvals.
- Checking aids includes a list of tools used to inspect, test, or measure parts throughout the assembly process.
- Customer specific requirements approval reports.
- PSW or part submission warrant, including the five submission levels.
PPAP vs APQP
Let us first consider the abbreviation of both terms. PPAP stands for Production Part Approval Process, and on the other hand, APQP stands for Advanced Production Quality Planning. PPAP deals with the product design requirements and customer-requested design, process, and design FMEAA, process flow chart, control plan, etc.
On the other hand, APQP deals with the overall production and process development. APQP has five gates, including AIAG APQP requirements. Each gate defines the different documents and requirements. The five phases of APQP are:
- Plan and program definition
- Verification of product design and development
- Process design and development verification
- Product validation and feedback
- Launch, assessment, and correction
It is important to note that the production part approval process is the result of APQP. During the APQP processes, it will further check the PPAP documents. The APQP phase will also deal with technical review and tooling approval for off-tooling parts.
Who is Responsible for PPAP, and When is it Necessary?
Suppliers or manufacturers are responsible for PPAP elements. They prepare all the necessary PPAP documents for each type of product. The manufacturers usually operate the process closely with the OEM’s quality management team.
A production part approval process is necessary for new part production, product dimensional changes or corrections, process changes or corrections, and inactive tooling for more than one year. In this case, product change may include the design, material composition, supply, and function. On the other hand, process change may consist of a method, tools, location, and inspection criteria.
What is AIAG, and What Does AIAG Do?
AIAG, or Automotive Industry Action Group, is a non-profit trade association where the members are most automotive manufacturers, suppliers of all sizes, automakers, etc. Specifically, AIAG members include Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Caterpillar, and more than 800 OEMs. However, PPAP is one of the most valuable standards that originated from AIAG.
The primary role of AIAG is to provide an open and neutral forum to facilitate manufacturing actions and joint issues. They aim to develop business process standards and guidelines. They educate and train people through assessments, events, and newsletters to create a more efficient and responsible supply chain.
PPAP is not only necessary for the quality production process but also necessary to maintain a high-quality supply. The production part approval process is the key to most automotive industries. Seal strip manufacturing also requires PPAP, as the seal strip type includes automotive parts. There are five levels of PPAP where PSW or part submission warrant is the essential element.
The most recent PPAP handbook also states that 18 key documents are necessary to produce automobile parts. These components must be made available to customers by suppliers or manufacturers. PPAP is essential for new part production, product dimensional changes or corrections, process changes or corrections, and inactive tooling for more than one year. The production part approval process or PPAP ensures that every production stage is well planned and fully considered before and during the manufacturing process, to reduce unnecessary waste and errors.