A major decision that has significantly impacted my life was choosing whether to join a fraternity during college. Although initially excited about the prospect of becoming a distinguished member of one of the popular clubs, I was less enthusiastic when I started hearing about the initiation processes. I still recall seeing the pledges running around doing who knows what for the older members and hearing rumors about other rituals that seemed too painful for me to handle. So, I decided to join clubs with merit-based membership systems instead. Merit-based clubs offered an advantage that fraternities did not: assurance of the capability of their members.
In certain industries utilizing electronic products and systems, a similar type of merit-based membership is required for companies and organizations that supply components. A prime example of this is the aviation, space and defense industries’ requirement that all suppliers, vendors and distributors be AS9100 certified. The AS9100 standard defines requirements for a quality management system (QMS) that enables companies with conformity to supply the critical components that aerospace industry customers require. Let’s take a look at some important requirements for your QMS and how your CM can assist you in ensuring that your PCB manufacturing adheres to AS9100 requirements.
AS9100 Requirements for a Quality Management System (QMS)
The current version of the AS9100 requirements falls under revision AS9100C, published in 2009. AS9100C provides detailed explanations and specific requirements for the entire QMS. These requirements can be classified as follows:
AS9100 Requirements Overview
Section 4. General Requirements
- 4.1 Instructions on developing your QMS
- 4.2 How to document your QMS
Section 5. Management Requirements
- 5.1 How to support your QMS
- 5.2 How to focus on customer’s needs
- 5.3 Support of your quality policy
- 5.4 QMS planning
- 5.5 Allocate QMS responsibilities
- 5.6 Monitor and review your QMS
Section 6. Resource Requirements
- 6.1 Provide necessary resources for your QMS
- 6.2 Ensure personnel competency
- 6.3 Provide and maintain adequate infrastructure for your QMS
- 6.4 Make sure your work environment is conducive to QMS success
Section 7. Realization Requirements
- 7.1 Control product realization
- 7.2 Ensure customer needs are central to product realization
- 7.3 Control product design and development process
- 7.4 Control purchasing and purchased products
- 7.5 Establish and control production and service; including products, equipment, tools, etc.
- 7.6 Ensure monitoring capabilities are controlled
Section 8. Remedial Requirements
- 8.1 Establish monitoring and measurement of processes
- 8.2 Execute monitoring and measurement of processes
- 8.3 Establish to means to measure nonconformity
- 8.4 Collect and analyze your QMS data
- 8.5 Take action to remove nonconformities and improve your QMS
Section 7, in particular, deals with product realization and provides the primary AS9100 requirements that apply to PCB manufacturing and your contract manufacturer (CM). The requirements that apply to your CM and the manufacturing process are expanded in the AS9100D revision.
Incorporating AS9100 Requirements into the PCB Manufacturing Process
Under AS9100C, your CM as an external organization is not required to be AS9100 certified and may not necessarily adhere to your QMS. However, as the manufacturer of your PCBs, your CM’s PCB manufacturing process does fall under your QMS and the AS9100 requirements for product realization. Therefore, selecting the right CM directly affects your ability to meet quality and safety standards while manufacturing critical systems typical for aerospace platforms.
The level of quality control (QC) that your CM employs over its manufacturing processes is a good indicator of its ability to fully support your QMS and ensure you meet AS9100 requirements for Section 7. Depending on your PCB development stage, specific actions your CM can take in support of these requirements include:
PCB DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT OF AS9100 REQUIREMENTS
AS9100 Section 7 Requirement
PCB Development Stage(s)
Use board materials that meet or exceed electrical breakdown, temperature resistance and other requirements
7.3 And 7.5
|Board fabrication, component procurement and PCB assembly|
Use reputable suppliers, track components and employ practices thwarting the usage of counterfeit components
|Board fabrication, component procurement and PCB assembly||Track materials and components, employ multiple inspections and collect data|
In addition to the above actions, your CM may implement additional restrictions on process tolerances and documentation methodologies that can greatly assist your QMS. You should consult with your CM early in the PCB design and development process to verify their capability to meet your AS9100 requirements.
At Tempo Automation, manufacturing high-quality boards with precision and accuracy is a standard that we strive to uphold for all clients. Moreover, our QC protocols ensure our processes are strictly controlled, as mandated by the AS9100 requirements.
|Tempo‘s Custom PCB Manufacturing Service|
We will work with you beginning with design and through prototyping to ensure your boards meet any restrictions that critical aerospace systems may require.
And to help you get started on the best path, we furnish information for your DFM and enable you to easily view and download DRC files. If you’re an Altium user, you can simply add these files to your PCB design software.
If you are ready to have your design manufactured, try our quote tool to upload your CAD and BOM files. If you want more information on how our PCB manufacturing process helps you meet AS9100 requirements for your aerospace systems, contact us.