Some aerospace companies are either delegated with inspection and test responsibility for customer parts, or perform this activity as their primary service. In such cases, the aerospace primes require an additional level of confidence in the inspection and testing activities, and the related quality system. AS9003 has been developed to address this need.
In addition, some manufacturing companies may opt to implement AS9003 for just their inspection and test processes, rather than implement AS9100 for their entire company’s quality system. While implementing AS9003 is less complex than implementing the full AS9100 standard, there is the risk that customers may view the AS9003 compliance (or certification) as a lesser achievement; therefore, manufacturers must review the expectations of their customers and industry to see if AS9003, or full AS9100, is right for them.
The AS9003 standard does not include the full set of requirements for ISO 9001, so a final certification to AS9003 will not include a simultaneous certification to ISO 9001.
The standard focuses on the control of inspection and test procedures, carrying such services out under controlled conditions, and ensuring inspection and test results are valid. Users of the old MIL-I-45208 will see some similarities, but updated greatly to reflect current best practices, and the specific needs of the aerospace industry.
Until recently, AS9003 was just a guidance document. Now, however, a company can become third-party certified to AS9003. Oxebridge’s AS9003 implementation program helps implement the standard in a way that will ensure speedy passage of a AS9003 audit, if so desired.
If your company performs inspection and/or testing for NASA, aerospace primes or related companies, it is likely you will have to comply with AS9003 at a minimum.