Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) overview

In order to provide consistency and stability, suppliers are now required to submit a PPAP report for assessment. Although the process may be complex, features of a PPAP report are commonly outsourced, to attain consistent part data. For example, dimensional analysis are commonly outsourced to an inspection lab. This helps users maintain the integrity of the PPAP report and ensure accurate analysis.

What is PPAP? 

PPAP stands for Production Part Approval Process. Initially developed by and for the automotive industry, PPAP has spread across the aerospace industry as well. The PPAP process is administered by the PPAP manual which was published by the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG).

What is the purpose of a PPAP?

PPAP is used as a risk classification and qualification process which is used to determine whether a production run will produce parts with consistency and repeatability. PPAP also allows for a clear communication outlet between a customer and supplier. The purpose of a PPAP include the following:

A PPAP provides confirmation that the customer and supplier have clear understanding in regards to engineering design specifications and requirements, which can be met by the supplier.

A PPAP also validates that the manufacturing process has the potential to produce the part consistently, meeting all design requirements during production, at the quoted production rate.

PPAP process confirms that a supplier can meet the manufacturing and quality requirements of the parts being produced.

PPAP Application

A PPAP report is required to be filled out by the following suppliers (automotive industry):

  • Bulk Material: PPAP only required if requested by customer
  • Production Material: PPAP required unless waived by customer
  • Service Parts: PPAP required unless waived by customer
  • Production Parts: PPAP always required

When is PPAP necessary?

A PPAP report is necessary when one of the following occur, subject to AIAG PPAP manual:

  • New part
  • Engineering changes
  • Correction to discrepancy in previous submission
  • Design or process change
  • Change in source of subcontracted material or services
  • Transfer or rearrangement of tooling & equipment
  • Parts produced at a new or additional location

PPAP Benefits

The main benefit that PPAP reports provide customers is that the process allows users to avoid the use or distribution of unapproved parts from the production line. A PPAP report also makes it very easy for customers to detect issues or defects early in the production process, inevitably reducing time and saving costs. Moreover, the PPAP process helps suppliers and customer relationship by maintaining and withholding the integrity or design parameters for production parts as well as assisting customers to review and handle supplier changes more effectively.

PPAP Process

The PPAP process involves a set of instructions for setting up the approval process for production parts. In the automotive industry, there are 19 distinct elements which need to be taken into account for the approval of parts. Furthermore, depending on the PPAP submission level highlighted by the customer, the supplier must provide a part submission warrant (PSW) along with supporting data for each of the 19 elements listed. Initial Sample Inspection Report (ISIR), Sample parts, documentation and warrants are assessed, if the PPAP report is not approved, the process is repeated until all conditions are met.

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PPAP – Required Elements (automotive)

  1. Design Records – A printed copy of the drawing
  2. Authorized Engineering Change Documents – Document entails thorough description of change
  3. Engineering Approval
  4. DFMEA – Design Failure Mode and Effect Analysis – signed by supplier and customer
  5. Process Flow Diagram – Entails all steps in fabrications process
  6. PFMEA – Process Failure Mode and Effect Analysis – signed by both supplier and customer
  7. Control Plan – Signed by both supplier and customer
  8. Measurement System Analysis Studies
  9. Dimensional analysis – Review dimensions noted on ballooned drawing for ok/not ok analysis
  10. Material Performance Review – summary of test(s) performed on the part
  11. Initial Sample Inspection – inspection before development of prototype
  12. Initial Process Studies – statistical process control charts
  13. Qualified Laboratory Documentation – All certification of labs that performed tests on parts
  14. Appearance Approval Report (AAR) – Appearance Approval Inspection signed by supplier & customer
  15. Sample Part – A sample from initial production run
  16. Master Sample – Signed off by supplier and customer – sample parts used to train
  17. Checking Aids
  18. Customer Specific/Compliance record
  19. Part Submission Warrant (PSW) – Summary of PPAP

PPAP – Submission Levels

There are five different submission levels for PPAP reports. In the automotive industry, level 3 is the default submission level. A supplier of bulk material can use level 1 as the default submission level, however, the customer has the responsibility of identifying the submission level for the supplier.

Level 1: PSW submission warrant 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


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