42 | JULY 2017 www.canadianmetalworking.com
BY AKIL BACCHUS
What does it take to provide the highest-quality aerospace
parts and services? There are three
main qualities that boost a winning
aerospace parts manufacturing company to stand above the rest:
1. Sound quality management
2. Effective supply chain
3. First-rate shop floor automation
SOUND QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
A quality management system (QMS)
comprises the policies, procedures,
and processes a company stands by.
A QMS guarantees execution and
fulfillment of customer needs and
satisfaction. It is implemented in all
areas of a company that have a direct
impact on customer requirements.
The absence of a comprehensive QMS
could create problems and reduce
Key questions to ask about your
•Is the system robust enough to
encompass all requirements?
•Are the written processes convoluted or are they well-documented
and easy to understand?
•Does the manufacturer have the
right certifications to adhere to
the strict standards of air travel?
(Certifications include ISO 9001, ISO
9001:2015, and AS9100, among others,
depending on the manufacturer’s
scope of products and services.)
•Are the documents kept private,
and how much of it is saved?
Because aerospace parts require
precise engineering, it is important that a conclusive First Article
Inspection (FAI) process be in place.
This process ensures that the given
specifications of a required part will
meet expectations of the end user.
It is important for both the manufacturer and the customer to do the
An inspection and test plan that
includes third-party checks ensures
that the client will be satisfied with
the end product.
EFFECTIVE SUPPLY CHAIN
The activities of a supply chain start
with raw materials and components
and end with the customer receiving
their finished part. An optimized
supply chain can have a significant
effect on the cost and production
time. When building an effective supply chain, you should keep two areas
1. Raw Materials. Is the raw material provider from a local geographic
area? For a quick-turn project, sourcing locally can speed up the process.
2. Secondary Services or
In-House. Are secondary service
partnerships or in-house capabilities
better? Typically, the more robust
in-house capabilities are, the lower
the price will be.
A review of the supply chain and
post-processing of parts are major
considerations. Customers will want
to have several questions answered:
•Do you have a working relationship
with a local welder or do you have an
•Do you have access to a local company that can handle a part’s coating
•Are you able to do in-house heat
treatments or have a relationship
with a regional vendor that can?
•Do you have a relationship with
local companies that perform pressure tests?
•Can you conduct non-destructive
FIRST-RATE SHOP FLOOR AUTOMATION
testing (NDT) such as magnetic par-
ticle testing (MT), liquid penetrant
testing (PT), and ultrasonic testing
Shop floor automation concerns the
production area where the assembly
takes place. It can be run by workers
or automated systems, or a mixture
With the advances in IT and manufacturing technologies, shop floor
automation is an important area of
parts production. The streamlining
of activities on the shop floor can
boost productivity, decrease production time, and reduce costs.
Manufacturers should ask the
following questions when examining
shop floor automation:
•Are we able to create a part to
exact print specifications with our
•Are we able to send a specification file directly to our machinery to
create the design?
•Do we have a CAD expert who will
be part of the project?
•What kind of CNC machinery is
available? Does it connect wirelessly? Does it have real-time tracking to speed up production time and
allow for adjustments where needed?
An aerospace parts manufacturer
should always benefit its customers. Meeting exacting requirements
is the standard for the aerospace
industry. From specifications to
delivery, every manufacturing and
operations process should be meticulously documented.
Akil Bacchus is vice president, aerospace and defense for GMI Group,
GET IN THE GAME
Top 3 Qualities of a Winning Aerospace Parts Manufacturing Company