How AS9120 Certification Can Help Ensure Safety in Air Transportation

Aircraft disasters have been happening a lot lately and many frequent travelers are asking: Is it still safe to fly? The truth is current passenger airplanes are significantly more advanced than their predecessors, and are ahead in terms of safety and technology. So, what could be causing these accidents? Pilot Error A BBC News article cites pilot error as the primary cause of most plane crashes worldwide,  accounting for 50% of all fatal accidents, based on statistics from PlaneCrashInfo.com. Data gathered by the International Civil Aviation Organization from 2006 to 2011 showed that a situation known as “controlled flight into terrain” (CFIT) was one of the  prevalent pilot error cases. CFIT accidents involve totally airworthy planes, manned by capable pilots, which were unintentionally flown into terrains, such as bodies of water, mountains, or the ground. Lack of proper communication also caused some of the biggest disasters in air travel history, like the infamous plane crash of 1978. The problem was pretty simple—low fuel—something that any crew member could have mentioned to the main pilot, but nobody did, and the plane ran out of fuel. Mechanical Failure Although most accidents point to pilots as the likely cause, some experts believe that mechanical or equipment failure also largely contribute to crashes. An example is the popular Air France flight 447 incident in 2009, which took three years to resolve. Investigators found that the aircraft’s autopilot mechanism had malfunctioned while in turbulence over stormy seas. Another accident in 1985 was caused by a badly repaired rear pressure bulkhead, which shattered in midair, causing the pilots to lose control of the aircraft. While...

Organizations Should Be Ready for ISO 9001:2015 as Early as Today

ISO 9001 is a global standard that discusses requirements for quality management systems, and organizations make use of this in order to improve their performance, product quality and customer satisfaction. The standard is constantly revised in order to keep up with the times and to improve organizations further. ISO 9001:2015 continues to undergo the revision process, and while it is not quite there yet in terms of replacing the existing standard, it is still on schedule to be released before the end of 2015. Organizations don’t have to make drastic changes right now, but small changes here and there can help when the new standard finally gets here. Quality Digest suggests how “…the new version of ISO 9001 represents not necessarily a change in the actual requirements, rather, the difference in the approach.” It says how it is the mindset that should change, and how organizations and its people should change to reflect this in order to meet the new standard. Organizations should understand that quality is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone should be committed to quality, to its customers and so on. The broader approach enables organizations to focus on improvement, consistency and its customers. There are three areas that can be improved on in anticipation of the new standard, regardless of if the proposed sections are implemented or no (the effects will not lessen the conformance to the existing requirements nor will it create any unnecessary hassles). These areas refer to the context of the organization, elaboration of managing quality objectives and the introduction of risk-based thinking. All of these improvements can be made today and they will give...

AS9100 Certified Companies Demonstrate Effective Quality Management

The AS9100 standard was created specifically for the aviation, space and defense industries. It serves the purpose of achieving significant improvements in those industries in areas of safety, quality and customer service. Companies that are certified with this standard can be confident that they have an effective quality management system, and by extension, so can their customers. According to Aerospace Manufacturing and Design, “Thermacore Inc., a provider of advanced thermal and material solutions, has received full recertification to both AS9100:2009 Rev. C and ISO 9001:2008 Quality Standards at its Lancaster, Pennsylvania, headquarters and manufacturing facility.” The company received recertification for their design, manufacture and distribution of thermal management components and systems. AS9100 is being used by the world’s leading aerospace companies and by their supply chains. There is public demand for safety and reliability which is driving the need for product quality to reach high levels. In order to achieve this, there must be continuous improvement and an integral part of that is having quality management systems. With one in place, a company gets data on a regular basis so that they can see their progress as well as areas for improvement that they need to work on. The standard calls for a lot of responsibilities, and because of this companies see increased involvement of top management with their quality management system, from the setting of quality goals and objectives to the management review to taking steps towards meeting the quality goals. If this is met, there is sure to be increased productivity with continued training and qualification of employees. Furthermore, the needs of customers are better understood and...

AS9120 Certification: Ensuring Quality Aircraft Parts for Safe Flying

Dismissed as a minor accident at first, the ultralight plane crash last April 22 that occurred in the middle of Delta Highway was recently opened for further investigation by Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB). The pilot, Paul Deane-Freeman, reportedly suffered a fractured vertebra and is still recovering from the accident. What is an ultra-light plane? The Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association of Canada (LAMAC) defines a basic ultra-light aeroplane as an aircraft that has at least two seats, with a take-off weight of 544 kg and landing configuration of 45 mph (39 knots). An ultralight aircraft is for recreation purposes only, although it may also be used for pilot trainings in conformity with the Canadian Aviation Regulations. Although manufacturers of ultra-light planes are not required to meet any standards in their products, the LAMAC recommends that they apply materials and practices accepted in general aviation. What’s the importance of being AS9120-certified? One of these safety requirements is to have an AS9120 certification from certification bodies like the International Standards Authority, Inc. (ISA) to ensure long-term benefits for both the manufacturer and their clients. Auditors and assessors from quality management system (QMS) agencies are also accredited by the Aerospace Industry Experience Auditors (AIEA) and Aerospace Experience Auditors (AEA) for value-added certification services. Below are the basic principles behind the importance of being an AS9120-certifed company. The AS9120 is one of the QMS requirements released by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in a publication titled, “Quality Management Systems-Aerospace Requirements for Stockist Distributors,” which includes other criteria concerning the aerospace industry. The AS9120 certificate covers the following specifications: Evidence of Conformance, Splitting,...

The ESD 20:20 Standard and Its Roles in Electronics Manufacturing

The Electrostatic Discharge Association (ESDA) announced last February that the 9th Annual International Electrostatic Discharge Workshop (referred to as IEW hereafter) will be held from the 3rd to the 7th of May this year. The venue will be the Granlibakken Conference Center & Lodge located in Lake Tahoe, California. The IEW will feature a technical program divided into sessions dedicated to several topics. There will also be keynotes and talks on the theme of the workshop. In addition, seminars about technology challenges will be conducted, along with discussion and special interest groups. ESDA The annual IEW is only part of the work of ESDA in regulating protective measures from electrostatic discharge across the electronics industry. Another aspect of their mission is the Facilities Certification program. The ESDA has developed a third-party certification program administered via ISO 9000 certified bodies that are accredited by their respective countries. This program uses the ESD 20:20 standard in evaluating facilities. Electrostatic Discharge When an abrupt flow of electricity occurs between two electrically charged objects, you have an event called electrostatic discharge (ESD). It can be caused by contact of the two objects, by an electrical short, or by dielectric breakdown. One notable harmful effect of ESD manifests in electronic circuitry. In certain conditions, the flow of electricity can burn a hole in an integrated circuit big enough to be detectable by the naked eye. The area surrounding the hole would also exhibit discernible heat damage. If the event didn’t cause a hole, one ESD will not be disruptive to the operation of equipment, but numerous and frequent occurrences will wear down internal components...

ISO Registration: Selecting a Certification Body for Your Business

Getting an ISO 9001 certification certainly does wonders for your business. Not only will it add to your credibility and establish you as a business, it will also be a selling point for your customers, investors and stakeholders. If your business does not have an ISO certification yet and you’re thinking about getting one, you will need to start by registering. The first thing you need to do is find a certification body to get started on the ISO registration process. Why do you need a certification body? The International Organization for Standardization, better known as ISO is the world’s largest developer of International Standards. Their sole purpose is just to develop standards and nothing more, which means that certification is handled by other external organizations or companies called certification bodies. They handle everything that has to do with certification according to standards set by ISO’s Committee on Conformity Assessment. How do you find a certification body? Perhaps the easiest way to find a reliable ISO 9001 registrar is to consult trusted sources like directories published by country or by finding an accredited certification body using the International Accreditation Forum’s Multilateral Recognition Arrangement signatories. If you prefer to find one on your own, however, you can just as easily conduct a search on the Internet based on your location. Is it better to hire an accredited certification body? Accreditation for certification bodies is not compulsory and it does not mean that non-accredited companies are no good. It only means that accredited certification bodies can provide confirmation of their competence. When you hire an accredited certification body, you will be...