Improving Quality for Aviation, Space, and Defense Organizations with the AS9100D Certification.
Minalex, a leading manufacturer of miniature aluminum extrusions with headquarters and production facilities in Whitehouse, New Jersey announced that the organization recently underwent a four-day audit assessing compliance of the company for the upgrade to AS9100 certification (AS9100D). This certification further enhances the quality that Minalex brings to aviation, space, defense and all other organizations.
The AS9100D certification is primarily for organizations doing business in the aerospace industry such as manufacturers, contractors and suppliers. In addition to counting several well-known global aerospace companies among its customers, Minalex also serves clients in a wide range of other industry sectors including sports equipment, automotive, lighting and the armed forces.
New requirements emphasize the prevention of risk and counterfeit parts, providing a structure that enables businesses to adapt to change, planning for obsolescence, and addressing product safety concerns. Michael Casey, Head of Extrusion Applications and Design at Minalex, says, “What’s most rewarding and noteworthy about the awarding of this designation is the fact that few, if any, other organizations like ours in the U.S. have earned this distinction.”
Certifications are issued by third party certifying bodies. For an organization to maintain AS9100D certification, they are subject to annual or regularly scheduled audits where the organization’s compliance with the standard is thoroughly evaluated by the certifying body. Michael Casey continues, “Audits like these are something we at Minalex are quite familiar with, and proud of the fact that we have been certified since 2005.”
Prepared by the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG), with representatives from aviation, space and defense companies in the Americas, Asia/Pacific and Europe, AS9100:2016/AS9100D standardizes quality management system requirements. While primarily developed for the aviation, space, and defense industry, this standard can also be used in other industry sectors when a quality management system with additional requirements over an ISO 9001 system is needed.
It can be used at all levels of the supply chain by organizations around the world, to improve quality, cost, and delivery performance. This is accomplished through the reduction or elimination of organization-unique requirements, effective implementation of the quality management system, and wider application of good practices.
The latest AS9100 series upgrade is more customer focused, with documentation containing specific sections regarding working directly with customers. Michael Casey adds, “For fifty years, Minalex has built many long-term relationships with its clients. Our customers continue to do business with us because they’re not only looking for a part, they want a partner.”
Achieving AS9100D certification is made possible through a three-step process:
- Application for registration is made by completing the Aerospace Quote Request Form. This provides information about the organization so the scope of assessment can be accurately defined.
- Assessment to AS9100D is undertaken by NQA – this phase consists of two mandatory visits that make up the Initial Certification Audit.
- Certification is issued by NQA and maintained through a program of annual surveillance audits and a three-yearly recertification audit. Initial Certification Audit (conducted in accordance with AS9101).
Evaluated every eight years, the AS9100 series of standards underwent significant revisions in late 2016. This standard revises the previous issue, AS9100C. Though some changes were necessitated by a change in the base standard, ISO 9001:2015, many of the aviation, space and defense industry requirements were also modified and enhanced. Following the structure of ISO 9001:2015, AS9100:2016 includes requirements specific to the context of the organization, leadership, planning, support, operation, performance evaluation and improvement.
“Minalex clients are some of the most demanding. They require the highest standards in both the quality and precision of the parts we manufacture,” Michael Casey concludes. “Our many other certifications, including AMS Specs, MIL-Spec, QQ Specs and the ITAR certification have become increasingly essential for many companies, and those customers rest easy knowing that Minalex is a registered manufacturer.”