What is PPAP and how does one comply

Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) is used in the automotive supply chain for establishing confidence in component suppliers and their production processes.

PPAP is developed and maintained by:

The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG)

The organization was founded by representatives of the three largest North American automotive manufacturers: Ford, General Motors and Chrysler

Membership has grown to include Japanese companies such as Toyota, Honda and Nissan, heavy truck and earth moving manufacturers such as Caterpillar Inc. and Navistar International, and many of their Tier One and sub-tier suppliers and service providers.[2] Over 800 OEMs, parts manufacturers, and service providers to the industry are members.

The AIAG publishes automotive industry standards and offers educational conferences and training to its members, including the advanced product quality planning (APQP) and production part approval process (PPAP) quality standards. These documents have become a de facto quality standard in North America that must be complied with by all Tier I suppliers.[4] Increasingly, these suppliers are now requiring complete compliance from their suppliers,[5] so that many Tier II and III automotive suppliers now also comply.

Official Standard: IAFT 16949:2016

On October 3rd, 2016 IATF 16949:2016 was published by the IATF and supersedes and replaces the current ISO/TS 16949, defining the requirements of a quality management system for organizations in the automotive industry.

The Automotive Quality Core Tools are the building blocks of an effective quality management system. They include Advanced Product Quality Planning & Control Plan (APQP), Product Part Approval Process (PPAP), Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA), Measurement System Analysis (MSA), and Statistical Process Control (SPC).

The Manufacturer`s PPAP Process

The PPAP process is designed to demonstrate that the component manufacturer has developed their design and production process to meet the client's requirements and consequently minimizing the risk of failure by effective use of APQP. Requests for part approval must therefore be supported in official PPAP format and with documented results, when needed from the manufacturer. It is only the manufacturer who can facilitate PPAP documentation, if this is executed or completed by another external entity then the PPAP is not valid.

The purpose of any Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) is

  • to ensure that a manufacturer can meet the manufacturability and quality requirements of the parts manufactured to the customer
  • to provide evidence that the customer engineering design record and specification requirements are clearly understood and fulfilled by the manufacturer
  • to demonstrate that the established manufacturing process has the potential to produce the part that consistently meets all requirements during the actual production run at the quoted production rate

PPAP central process steps

1. Design Records

A printed copy of drawing needs to be provided. If the customer is responsible for designing, this is a copy of customer drawing that is sent together with the Purchase Order (PO). If manufacturer is responsible for designing this is a released drawing in manufacturers release system. "Each and every feature must be “ballooned” or “road mapped” to correspond with the inspection results (including print notes, standard tolerance notes and specifications, and anything else relevant to the design of the part)."[3]

2. Authorized Engineering Change (note) Documents

A document that shows the detailed description of the change. Usually this document is called "Engineering Change Notice", but it may be covered by the customer PO or any other engineering authorization.

3. Engineering Approval

This approval is usually the Engineering trial with production parts performed at the customer plant. A "temporary deviation" usually is required to send parts to customer before PPAP. Customer may require other "Engineering Approvals".


A copy of the Design Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (DFMEA), reviewed and signed-off by supplier and customer. If customer is design responsible, usually customer may not share this document with the manufacturer. However, the list of all critical or high impact product characteristics should be shared with the manufacturer, so they can be addressed on the PFMEA and Control Plan.

5. Process Flow Diagram

A copy of the Process Flow, indicating all steps and sequence in the fabrication process, including incoming components.

6. PFMEA's

A copy of the Process Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (PFMEA), reviewed and signed-off by manufacturer and customer. The PFMEA follows the Process Flow steps, and indicates "what could go wrong" during the fabrication and assembly of each component.

7. Control Plan

A copy of the Control Plan, reviewed and signed-off by manufacturer and customer. The Control Plan follows the PFMEA steps, and provides more details on how the "potential issues" are checked in the incoming quality, assembly process or during inspections of finished products.

8. Measurement System Analysis Studies (MSA)

MSA usually contains the Gauge R&R for the critical or high impact characteristics, and a confirmation that gauges used to measure these characteristics are calibrated.

9. Dimensional Results

A list of every dimension noted on the ballooned drawing. This list shows the product characteristic, specification, the measurement results and the assessment showing if this dimension is "ok" or "not ok". Usually a minimum of 6 pieces is reported per product/process combination.

10. Records of Material / Performance Tests

A summary of every test performed on the part. This summary is usually on a form of DVP&R (Design Verification Plan and Report), which lists each individual test, when it was performed, the specification, results and the assessment pass/fail. If there is an Engineering Specification, usually it is noted on the print. The DVP&R shall be reviewed and signed off by both customer and manufacturer engineering groups. The quality engineer will look for a customer signature on this document.

In addition, this section lists all material certifications (steel, plastics, plating, etc.), as specified on the print. The material certification shall show compliance to the specific call on the print.

11. Initial Sample Inspection Report

The report for material samples which is initially inspected before prototype made

12. Initial Process Studies

Usually this section shows all Statistical Process Control charts affecting the most critical characteristics. The intent is to demonstrate that critical processes have stable variability and that is running near the intended nominal value.

13. Qualified Laboratory Documentation

Copy of all laboratory certifications (e.g. A2LA, TS, NABL) of the laboratories that performed the tests reported on section 10.

14. Appearance Approval Report

A copy of the AAI (Appearance Approval Inspection) form signed by the customer. Applicable for components affecting appearance only.

15. Sample Production Parts

A sample from the same lot of initial production run. The PPAP package usually shows a picture of the sample and where it is kept (customer or manufacturer).

16. Master Sample

A sample signed off by customer and manufacturer, that usually is used to train operators on subjective inspections such as visual or for noise.

17. Checking Aids

When there are special tools for checking parts, this section shows a picture of the tool and calibration records, including dimensional report of the tool.

18. Customer-Specific Requirements

Each customer may have specific requirements to be included on the PPAP package. It is a good practice to ask the customer for PPAP expectations before even quoting for a job. North America auto makers OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) requirements are listed on the IATF website.

19. Part Submission Warrant (PSW)

This is the form that summarizes the whole PPAP package. This form shows the reason for submission (design change, annual revalidation, etc.) and the level of documents submitted to the customer. There is a section that asks for "results meeting all drawing and specification requirements: yes/no" refers to the whole package. If there is any deviations the supplier should note on the warrant or inform that PPAP cannot be submitted.

PPAP requirements are typically distinguished by the following levels:

PPAP Submission Levels

Level 1 – Part Submission Warrant (PSW) only submitted to the customer.

Level 2 – PSW with product samples and limited supporting data.

Level 3 – PSW with product samples and complete supporting data.

Level 4 – PSW and other requirements as defined by the customer.

Level 5 – PSW with product samples and complete supporting data available for review at the supplier's manufacturing location.







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