Aerospace manufacturers are being advised to prepare for the AS9100:2016 major revision. Michael Venner, CEO at IMS International explains what we need to be aware of and why it is important to comply.
The major revision of International standard ISO 9001 published late last year has impacted a number of international standards, including AS9100 aerospace quality management systems. The publication of revision AS9100:2016 is expected this month and will need to be addressed by aerospace manufacturers.
International certifications help to synchronise technical specifications of products and services, making the world’s trading markets more efficient by ensuring quality control. Importantly, it reassures the purchaser that the manufacturer works to procedures and constantly strives for improvements. The aerospace industry is a high-risk sector and regulatory control is needed to capture the requirements and the importance of safety, reliability and maintainability at a global level.
There is a suite of standards dedicated to the aerospace industry for best practices such as AS9102 for First Article Inspections (FAI) and AS9146 for foreign object debris (FOD), but it was manufacturing processes, in particular ISO 9001, that was under the spotlight late last year when ISO 9001: 2015 was published in September. Now the focus is on the imminent publication of the AS9100:2016 series of standards, which also includes AS9120 and AS9110.
AS9100 incorporates all the foundational elements of ISO 9001, but aims to improve confidence in the aerospace supply chain with more provisions in regulatory compliance to global aerospace standards. Despite a seven-month delay between the two revisions, the transition deadline of Autumn 2018 remains the same. Therefore there is a much shorter time period of just over two years for aerospace manufacturers to transition to the new standard. Furthermore, if there is a delay on the expected release of AS9100:2016, the transition deadline will become even shorter.
<Brought up to date>
At present, there are two key dates aerospace manufacturers need to be aware of, which are still subject to change, but useful to have on their radar. Organisations seeking transition to the 2016 editions of AQMS standards are required by January 1, 2017 to communicate with their certification body to establish a commitment date for 9100:2016 AQMS standard transition readiness.
AQMS certifications that have not completed transition to the AS9100:2016 standard by 14 September 2018, which includes transitioned AQMS certificates uploaded and published into the OASIS database, will no longer be valid and shall have a certification status of ‘expired’. They will also no longer be eligible for transition and an initial certification audit will be required to establish conformance with the 2016 editions of the AQMS standards.
Unfortunately, until the revision is published, aerospace manufacturers cannot make any changes to their current AQMS. However, we know that all ISO MS standards will now have a common 10-clause structure and although AS9100: 2016 is still in its draft form, the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG) has published a ‘9100 Series 2016 Revision Overview’ presentation which lists the areas of focus and where the key changes are likely to be. Further changes are likely but aerospace manufacturers can at least start preparation activity. Some of the key areas of focus for the new revision include product safety, human factors, risk, counterfeit parts, and configuration management.
There will also be a new release of the Online Aerospace Supplier Information System (OASIS) platform which will bring additional features as well as an improved user interface.
<A look ahead>
In 2016, as well as the AS9100 revision, the ISO is concentrating its efforts on ‘Occupational Health and Safety’. A new ISO standard, ISO 45001, on occupational health and safety management system requirements is currently being produced and it is thought it will replace OHSAS 18001. The projected publishing date for this is October 2016.
This is a certification aerospace manufacturers should also be aware of. OHSAS 18001, as it currently stands, is dedicated to occupational health and safety and was developed to assist in the reduction and prevention of accidents and accident-related loss of life, equipment and time. Where a person may be exposed to potential hazards in the process of their work such as using materials which release toxins, operating manufacturing equipment in a safe manner and more importantly the electrical safety of lighting products for all types of working environments, gaining this certification demonstrates a company’s commitment to a safer working environment.
The aerospace industry can gain benefit from implementing a health and safety management system through reduced risk of product failures leading to health and safety accidents and incidents, legal compliance for product safety and increased marketability of products as end users seek compliant products.
<Peace of mind>
Compliance in a high-risk sector like aerospace manufacturing is about continuous testing and maintenance, from the process in which it is manufactured through to design, installation and how it is maintained throughout its lifespan. Certification provides the manufacturer and buyer with confidence in product reliability. Importantly, it gives buyers the assurance that the OEM is complying with laws and regulations of not only the country they are manufacturing in but where they are supplying to, and any customer specific requirements which could be over and above legislation.
Once the AS9100:2016 revision is published more information and analysis of the changes will be made available at www.imsworld.org.
IMS International is a UKAS Accredited Certification Body providing second and third party audits to a number of quality management systems, product certifications and certifications for the import of goods into the EU, USA, China and Russia.