Production Part Approval Process
Introduction to PPAP
What is PPAP
Why Perform PPAP
When to Perform PPAP
How to Perform PPAP
Introduction to Production Part Approval Process (PPAP)
Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) is a valuable tool for establishing confidence in component suppliers and their production processes. In today’s competitive
manufacturing environment controlling cost and maintaining a high level of quality have become vital to a company’s success. Increasing costs of equipment,
materials and labour combined with expanding world markets have resulted in an increase of outsourced parts. Many component parts are being outsourced to
overseas manufacturers. This often results in longer lead times and larger order quantities. Therefore it has become imperative to provide quality parts
that meet the customer’s requirements the first time and every time. Initially PPAP was utilized by the automotive and aerospace industries. PPAP is now being
utilized by several industries to improve communication and provide quality products. Within the automotive industry the ultimate resource for PPAP information
is the manual published by the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG).
What is Production Part Approval Process (PPAP)
PPAP defines the approval process for new or revised parts, or parts produced from new or significantly revised production methods. The PPAP process consists of 18
elements that may be required for approval of production level parts. Not all of the elements are required for every submission. There are five generally accepted
PPAP submission levels. The PPAP manual contains detailed information, guidelines and sample documents useful for completing the process requirements. The resulting
PPAP submission provides the evidence that the supplier has met or exceeded the customer’s requirements and the process is capable of consistently reproducing quality
Why Perform Production Part Approval Process (PPAP)
The PPAP process verifies that the supplier understands all customer engineering design specifications and requirements and that the process is capable of
consistently producing product meeting those requirements during an actual production run at the quoted production rate. PPAP and other quality tools continue
to be implemented into more industries; therefore it is important to gain an understanding of the PPAP requirements to remain competitive as a parts supplier.
When to Perform Production Part Approval Process (PPAP)
A PPAP is required for any new part submission as well as for approval of any change to an existing part or process. The customer may request a PPAP at any time
during the product life. This demands that the supplier must maintain a quality system that develops and documents all of the requirements of a PPAP submission at
any time. The best method of producing PPAP requirements is to maintain a robust system within the APQP process so as to allow all documents to be on hand when
How to Perform Production Part Approval Process (PPAP)
The process of completing a PPAP submission is can be fairly complex. This detailed process is a collection of key elements that must be completed to verify that
the design and production process will produce a quality product. Not all of the elements are always required for a PPAP submission. The particular requirements
of the PPAP are usually negotiated during the quoting process between the customer and supplier.
PPAP Levels of Submission
The PPAP submission requirements are normally divided into five classifications or levels, as follows:
Elements of PPAP
- Level 1 – Part Submission Warrant (PSW) only submitted to the customer
- Level 2 – PSW with product samples and limited supporting data
- Level 3 – PSW with product samples and complete supporting data
- Level 4 – PSW and other requirements as defined by the customer
- Level 5 – PSW with product samples and complete supporting data available for review at the supplier’s manufacturing location
Below is the list of all 18 elements accompanied by a brief description for each element:
- Design Documentation
Engineering Change Documentation
Design documentation shall include both a copy of the customer and the supplier’s drawings. The documentation should also include a copy of the
purchase order. In some cases the supplier is required to supply documentation of material composition.
The purchase order is used to confirm that the correct part is being ordered and that it is at the correct revision level.
The design engineer is responsible for verifying that the two drawings match and all critical or key characteristics have been identified.
Material composition information is required to supply evidence that the material used manufacture the parts meets the customer’s specific requirements.
Customer Engineering Approval
If the PPAP is being required due to a request for a change to a part or product, the documentation requesting and approving the change must be included
in the PPAP package. This documentation usually consists of a copy of the Engineering Change Notice (ECN), which must be approved by the customer engineering
Design Failure Mode and Effects Analysis
When required as part of the PPAP, the supplier must provide evidence of approval by the customer engineering department.
If required, pre-PPAP samples are ordered by the customer for onsite testing. The samples must be production intent and ship with a waiver so
that testing can be done. When testing is complete, the test engineers will provide an approval form for inclusion in the PPAP submission.
Note: A copy of a “Temporary Deviation” is normally required to submit parts to the customer prior to a PPAP approval.
Process Flow Diagram
Design Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (DFMEA) is a cross-functional activity that examines design risk by exploring the possible failure modes and their effects on the product or customer and their probability to occur. These failure modes can include:
Reduced performance or product life
Safety and Regulatory issues
The DFMEA is a living document that should be reviewed and updated throughout the product life cycle.
Process Failure Mode and Effects Analysis
The Process Flow Diagram outlines the entire process for assembling the component or final assembly in a graphical manner. The process flow includes
incoming material, assembly, test, rework and shipping.
Process Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (PFMEA) reviews all of the steps in the production process to identify any potential process quality risk and
then document the applied controls. The PFMEA is also a living document and should be updated even after the product is in normal production.
Measurement System Analysis Studies
The Control Plan is an output from the PFMEA. The Control Plan lists all product Special Characteristics and inspection methods required to deliver
products that continually meet the customer quality requirements.
Measurement System Analysis (MSA) studies will include Gage Repeatability & Reproducibility (GR&R) studies on measurement equipment used during
assembly or quality control checks. Calibration records for all gages and measurement equipment must be included.
Records of Material / Performance Tests
Dimensional layout of sample parts is required to validate the product meets the print specifications. The samples should be randomly selected from a
significant production run usually at least 30 pieces. Each dimension on the drawing is measured on the final assembly to make sure that it falls within
specification. The results are recorded in a spreadsheet and included within the PPAP submission.
Initial Process Studies
This element should contain a copy of the Design Verification Plan and Report (DVP&R). The DVP&R is a summary of every validation test performed on the part.
It should list each and every test performed, a description of how the test was performed, and the results of each test.
This section may also include copies of all the certification documents for all materials (steel, plastics, etc.) listed on the prints. The material
certification shall show compliance to the specific call on the print.
Qualified Laboratory Documentation
Initial process studies will be done on all the production processes and will include Statistical Process Control (SPC) charts
on the critical characteristics of the product. These studies demonstrate that the critical processes are stable, demonstrate normal variation and are
running near the intended nominal value.
Appearance Approval Report
Qualified laboratory documentation consists of the industry certifications for any lab that was involved in completing validation testing. This could be for
an in-house test lab or any offsite contracted test facilities that were used for validation or material certification testing.
Sample Production Parts
The Appearance Approval Inspection (AAI) is applicable for components affecting appearance only. This report verifies that the customer has inspected the
final product and it meets all the required appearance specifications for the design. The appearance requirements could include information regarding the
colour, textures, surface finish etc.
Sample production parts are sent to the customer for approval and are typically stored at either the customer or supplier’s site after the product
development is complete. A picture of the production parts is usually included in the PPAP documentation along with documentation regarding the location
that the parts are being stored.
A master sample is a final sample of the product that is inspected and signed off by the customer. The master sample part is used to train operators and
serves as a benchmark for comparison to standard production parts if any part quality questions arise.
Customer Specific Requirements
This is a detailed list of checking aids used by production. It should include all tools used to inspect, test or measure parts during the assembly process.
The list should describe the tool and have the calibration schedule for the tool. Checking aids may include check fixtures, contour, variable and attribute
gages, models or templates.
MSA may be required for all checking aids based on customer requirements.
Part Submission Warrant
This element of the submission package is where any special customer requirements are contained. For bulk materials, the customer specific requirements
shall be recorded on the “Bulk Material Requirements Checklist”.
The Part Submission Warrant (PSW) form is a summary of the entire PPAP submission. A PSW is required for each of part number unless otherwise stated by the
customer. The PSW includes:
The reason for submission (design change, annual re-validation, etc.)
The level of documents submitted to the customer
Declaration of part conformity to customer requirements
A section provided for any required explanation or comments
Supplier authorized person signature along with contact information
An area for the customer to indicate disposition of the PPAP
The PPAP process is a detailed and lengthy process that should be completed as the APQP process is conducted for the component, part or assembly. The PPAP package
includes documentation of various multiple cross-functional tools and documents the ability of the supplier to meet all customer requirements. PPAP provides customers
adequate information to validate that all areas of the design and production processes have been reviewed thoroughly to ensure that only high quality products will
be allowed to ship to the end customer.