The quality and safety of heat treatment products are imperative. Because of this, the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program (Nadcap) has clear and stringent guidelines for accreditation, which can often be challenging to attain. In this blog, I outline the step-by-step process for suppliers to gain Nadcap approval.
To start the Nadcap approval process, potential suppliers should first gain access to the eAudit.net Nadcap site. This website contains the Nadcap procedures regarding how to schedule audits, what will be expected when an audit is performed and most importantly, the Nadcap checklists that will be used during the audit.
The Nadcap checklists that will be used during the audit are based on a potential supplier’s future scope of approval. The scope of approval itself is based on what materials (and to which customer specifications) the potential supplier plans on heat treating and what type of heat treatment is being performed. Once the scope is established, the potential supplier will be able to download the free Nadcap checklists.
Once the applicable Nadcap checklists have been obtained, a thorough internal audit using the Nadcap checklists must be performed. This will establish where in the process the supplier is lacking conformance.
It’s important to perform this gap analysis using the applicable AC7102 checklist requirements; state procedure and paragraph numbers wherever possible and when required to ensure the analysis is detailed. Typically, this task is performed by someone intimately familiar with Nadcap requirements and the checklists to ensure no items are missed.
Gap Fill Process
After the gap analysis, the non-conformances that were found must be fixed. This may require ordering new consumables that conform, fixing equipment or simply correcting procedures and forms and then training operators and quality staff. This really depends on the deficiencies found during the gap analysis.
After all of the supplier’s deficiencies have been corrected, it’s important to perform an internal audit using the Nadcap checklists which are part of the potential supplier’s future Nadcap scope. Make sure to include all 10 job audits as this is a requirement of Nadcap.
This process ensures that all of the items found during the gap analysis were corrected and will not yield any potential Nadcap findings on the actual Nadcap audit.
Live Nadcap Audit
Once the items above are completed, it would be time to schedule the actual Nadcap audit. The supplier would need to do this on eAudit.net.
Typically, Nadcap audits are facilitated by someone who is familiar with the Nadcap process, especially how to respond to auditor questions without creating additional questions, or worse, findings.
Answering Nadcap Findings—Post Audit
This process is performed on eAudit.net between the supplier representative and a PRI/Nadcap staff engineer. The actual auditor will not be involved. This process can sometimes be more difficult than the actual audit and care must be taken when responding to staff engineers as suppliers can get new findings assigned, findings that are originally minors upgraded to majors and, in the worst case, fail the audit due to a lack of response.
Nadcap Accreditation Consulting
If you have any questions about Nadcap certification requirements or need help gaining Nadcap accreditation, our consultants can help. We have extensive, hands-on experience with Nadcap and can assist you in becoming a Nadcap approved supplier. Contact us today.
To read more of Jason's articles related to Nadcap heat treat audits and pyrometry, you can visit his articles at HeatTreatToday.com as well as Thermal Processing Magazine.