What Is NADCAP?
NADCAP is short for National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program. NADCAP is a conformity and quality assessment developed to ensure quality in aerospace manufacturing.
Before NADCAP, suppliers had to undergo audits for every single aerospace customer they wanted to work with. This proved to be expensive and time-consuming, not to mention redundant. Many major aerospace manufacturers had similar criteria regarding process and quality and were performing near-identical audits.
The solution was NADCAP. Proposed in 1989 and passed in 1990, NADCAP created a single, standardized audit that most aerospace customers deem rigorous enough to meet their exacting standards. Now, undergoing a NADCAP audit opens the door for suppliers to work with many different aerospace customers.
Purpose of NADCAP Welding Standards
Aerospace products are expected to perform under rigorous conditions and in extreme environments, requiring a different approach to accreditation than consumer or even industrial products. The purpose of NADCAP welding standards is to establish that all aerospace welding processes and procedures conform to a defined set of expectations. This has several key benefits for aerospace suppliers, manufacturers, and other industry participants.
While many regulatory and accreditation bodies conduct audits based on final product quality, NADCAP conducts audits of processes. Every step of the aerospace welding process, from the way the welder receives the work order to final product delivery, is closely inspected by an experienced auditor to ensure that expectations are met. Some of the processes reviewed during a NADCAP audit include:
- Material sourcing, purchasing, and allocation.
- Equipment maintenance and use.
- Operator practices.
Focusing on best practices throughout the process leads to superior quality at the final product stage.
Meets Safety Standards
By reviewing processes rather than the final product, NADCAP audits can uncover opportunities to improve worker safety. NADCAP welding standards are built around safety best practices, allowing auditors to support suppliers in improving their safety practices and protecting their workers.
Highlights Opportunities for Improvement
Preparing for an audit can be a little stressful, but every audit presents an opportunity to make improvements. NADCAP auditors will provide feedback and guidance regarding areas for improvement, giving suppliers the opportunity to establish better aerospace welding practices and reap the benefits.
Increase Market Visibility
Many aerospace companies and customers will only work with suppliers that have achieved NADCAP accreditation. Passing a NADCAP audit makes suppliers more visible to potential customers, creating more opportunities to do business.
NADCAP Certification Process
The NADCAP accreditation process differs slightly depending on the process for which you are seeking accreditation. Separate audits are required for each service area. However, most audit processes follow the same general format:
- The supplier requests the audit. Usually, they will receive a hefty packet of information about what to expect and how to prepare for the audit.
- The audit is scheduled, and an auditor is assigned.
- The auditor performs the audit and writes and submits their report.
- If the auditor notices and reports any issues, the supplier has a chance to make corrections and respond.
- The accreditation body reviews the report and the supplier’s responses. Once the accreditation body is satisfied that all issues have been corrected, the report goes to a task group for review.
- The supplier receives their NADCAP accreditation.
NADCAP accreditations must be renewed every 12 months.
Quality Aerospace Manufacturing & NADCAP Welding from NMG
NMG is proud to have achieved NADCAP accreditation for aerospace welding. We specialize in welding, torch, and induction brazing for high-performance aerospace parts and components. Our experts have mastered the best practices established by NADCAP welding standards, and we’re constantly improving our processes thanks to our institutional dedication to lean manufacturing.
Our aerospace welding capabilities are supplemented by a robust portfolio of other aerospace manufacturing capabilities and many years of experience.
To learn more about our aerospace welding capabilities, talk to a member of our team >