Aerospace Forging Industry Oversight Undergoing Paradigm Shift

information for this article was provided by Brian Streich of Honeywell Aerospace. Brian chairs the Nadcap (National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program) Metallic Materials Manufacturing Task Group and will be making a presentation on this topic at the upcoming Forging Industry Technical Conference (see Tech Conference article below for agenda).

 

The aerospace forging industry is continually being regulated, monitored and controlled by numerous organizations and customers. Aircraft safety is the key, and the Federal Aviation Administration mandates customer oversight of its supply base to help ensure aircraft take off, fly and land without failure of components due to manufacturing-related defects. This means that periodic audits are performed by aircraft and engine manufacturers (OEMs) on their supply base to make sure all procedures are being followed and that the latest part being manufactured performs the same as the first.

 

Supplier oversight is conducted by each OEM independently, with no intentional similarities between them. In 2014, a group of aerospace OEMs decided that an industry standard for auditing was needed, and the Metallic Materials Manufacturing (MMM) task group was chartered. These companies were all Nadcap subscribers and saw an opportunity to use Nadcap to consolidate several sets of customer audit requirements into one. Nadcap has been an independent auditing organization for the last twenty years, performing audits in place of the customer over numerous processes including heat treatment, non-destructive testing, machining, and more.

 

The scope of the Nadcap MMM Task Group includes forgings, castings and raw material manufacture. Currently, Nadcap audits can only be conducted for forging accreditation, while casting and raw material checklists are still being developed. The forging checklist (AC7140) covers the following types of forging:

 

 

The forging audit covers the entire forging process from the purchase order to release of the forgings, including billet cutting and preparation, pre-heating for forging, forging control, and post-forging operations, but it does not cover the special processes that are already covered by other Nadcap commodities such as nondestructive testing, chemical processing, or material testing.

 

The creation of the MMM task group within Nadcap represents a paradigm shift in how OEMs oversee their forging suppliers. With this shift comes challenges, such as: how to keep proprietary information (both OEM and supplier) from getting out into the public, what to do about conflicting OEM requirements, and what to do about parts/processes from Nadcap subscribers who do not mandate MMM.

 

These and other challenges were overcome by the MMM task group. A few OEMs have already mandated Nadcap MMM accreditation of their aerospace-level forging supply base, and several more OEMs are expected to do the same. The MMM task group members are dedicated to achieving high quality, consistent audits of their aerospace-level forgings suppliers that are as value-added as their previous independent audits. The MMM task group members are openly working with OEMs and forging suppliers to ensure that the needs of both are met, and will continue to be met in the future. Suppliers and OEMs are encouraged to join and participate in the MMM task group, and can learn more at p-r-i.org/nadcap.