What is Nadcap?
The National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program (Nadcap) is an industry-managed global effort to improve quality and efficiency in the aerospace and defence industries. Run through the Performance Review Institute (PRI), it brings together prime contractors, suppliers and government representatives to achieve a standardised and streamlined approach to quality assurance, auditing and accreditation throughout the supply chain. Surveys of Nadcap-accredited suppliers show that they have seen an average 40% reduction in audits following Nadcap accreditation.
In 2016, a new Measurement and Inspection (M&I) certification was introduced to ensure that the measurements needed to ensure quality are consistent across the industry.
How does it affect me?
This is the first attempt to implement a unified approach to measurement and inspection in the supply chain. Current audit programmes only look in detail at certain parts of M&I practice and don't take into account the full spectrum of factors affecting M&I. Nadcap will take a more holistic approach, looking at everything from employee skills to calibration practices and onsite environment.
Many aerospace primes will be looking to mandate the Nadcap M&I certification to their supply chains. Boeing has announced that they will mandate Nadcap by 1 January 2017, and are already mandating it for new suppliers. This means that many aerospace and defence suppliers will need to achieve Nadcap M&I compliance or risk losing significant business. NPL estimates that this will affect around 1,000 companies in the sector.
What's more, with 85% of Nadcap-accredited suppliers seeing a improvement in quality as a result of Nadcap, and over half claiming that it has helped increase sales or bring in new business, achieving M&I accreditation could lead to significant improvements in productivity and profitability.
How do I achieve compliance?
Nadcap M&I accreditation is awarded following an onsite audit, from a PRI auditor. Nadcap M&I certification covers the following technical sheets:
- AC 7130 Measurement and Inspection Base Sheet
- AC 7130/1 Coordinate Measurement Machines
- AC 7130/2 Laser Trackers
- AC 7130/3 Articulating Arms
- AC 7130/5 Airflow Testing
- AC 7130/6 General Measurement and Inspection
PRI provides an online audit run-through, self-diagnostic tools and tutorials through its 'Auditnet', to help suppliers seek accreditation for their various processes. However, many companies will need more support to find non-conformity issues within their processes and address them. As the UK's National Measurement Institute, NPL provides support for suppliers in achieving M&I compliance, through its 'Gap Analysis' service.
The NPL 'Gap Analysis' service
The Nadcap Gap Analysis broadly follows the Nadcap M&I audit process and is intended to illustrate where there are potential gaps in current practices that may lead to Non-Conformance Reports (NCR) in a formal audit. The Gap Analysis is performed by experienced measurement experts from the NPL Product Verification team, and each NCR is noted against the relevant clause in the Standard against either:
- Existence: Does a procedure or process exist?
- Adequacy: Does the procedure or process completely fit the requirements of the standard?
- Compliance: Is there evidence to support that 'Existence' and 'Adequacy' is being consistently applied?
In addition, suggestions are made for good practice to support the company in assigning and prioritising corrective actions. The details of the findings, including details of potential NCRs and suggested improvements to support closing and compliance gaps, are provided in a final report.
- NPL has been awarded a new contract by Sharing in Growth UK Ltd to continue supporting the aerospace industry through its Product Verification Programme.
- Workshop held by NPL and Midlands Aerospace Alliance focused on using new aerospace manufacturing standards to create competitive advantage.
- The NPL Product Verification team has recently completed a successful Nadcap Gap Analysis with Aeromet International Ltd.
'Gap Analysis' case study
The NPL Product Verification team has recently completed a Nadcap Gap Analysis with Aeromet International Ltd, a world leader in the production of aluminium castings. The company has many customer approvals from leading Primes, and holds Nadcap accreditation for a range of special processes. Aeromet turned to NPL for help in preparing for the Nadcap M&I standard following notification from one of their prime customers that accreditation was required.
NPL's measurement experts performed a 'Gap Analysis', which follows the Nadcap audit process to identify where there are any potential gaps in current practices that may lead to Non-Conformance Reports (NCR) in a formal audit. During the process, the NPL team coached the business in industry best practice, and produced a final report, which details potential NCRs and suggested improvements.
NPL is working with Aeromet through Sharing in Growth UK Ltd, which is an ambitious Regional Growth Funded programme to support 64 UK Aerospace companies to drive productivity and global competitiveness.
Following the work by NPL, Paul Dolphin, Aeromet Quality Manager said: "We really appreciate the expertise the NPL team brought to the process. We are now confident that we know exactly where we can focus our efforts, and we are well on track to meet our Nadcap M&I quality improvement objectives this year."
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