Compliance can be a dry subject. It is often considered something that must be done rather than something that is fueled by desire. As a result, the letter of the law may be satisfied, but the intention behind compliance may become lost in the paperwork.
A better approach is to view compliance as a way to drive digital manufacturing success. Standards impacting aerospace such as AS9100 and ISA-95 contain many clauses directly related to digitalization and the establishment of the digital thread in the enterprise. They can be harnessed to drive real change.
The importance of compliance, therefore, should never be underestimated. Customers require it in many cases. They look upon compliance with industry standards as a stamp of approval. They gravitate to companies that can demonstrate third-party validation of product quality. In aerospace, compliance can be considered the price of admission. It indicates a commitment to quality, safety and reliability.
More than that, compliance drives consistency in process controls. Standardized processes provide the opportunity for continuous improvement. Compliance also ensures that controls are in place to handle or remove risk. Further, it can facilitate cost reduction: as standards are instituted, processes smoothed out, and inconsistencies eliminated, costs can be brought down.
There are three compliance models that directly relate to aerospace.
ISA-95 covers how systems work together across the various levels of the organization, particularly on the manufacturing side:
Levels 1 and 2 deal with operational technology: Inputting of data, performing work on the shop floor, sensing production processes and manipulating them, monitoring, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), and automated control of processes. Systems such as DCS, batch control and continuous control are involved. The time frame ranges from milliseconds to minutes.
Levels 3 and 4 lie more on the IT side. Level 4 addresses business planning and logistics. It depends upon data gathered from the earlier levels to understand impact on the business, manage inventory, facilitate product delivery, develop a source plan, view overall metrics and the build plan, and establish the basic plant schedule. The time frame ranges from days to months. ERP systems manage this level.
Level 3 is the glue that pulls all this together. This is where MES and the iBase-t Digital Manufacturing Suite live. Level 3 is about optimization of day-to-day processes, dispatching production, detailed scheduling, reliability assurance, management of exceptions, maintaining records, and workflow/recipe/BOM control to produce the desired end products. The time frame ranges from minutes to days.
By implementing the ISA-95 standard, processes are correctly designed, resources are appropriately assigned, and data flows are streamlined.
ISO9001 and AS9100
ISO9001 was created to introduce a methodology cradle-to-the-grave continuous improvement in a manufacturing facility. Corrective processes help to define the issues, remediate them, isolate root causes, implement changes and verify they don’t recur.
AS9100 was derived from ISO9001 to provide standards for continuous improvement that are more tailored to the aerospace industry. Safety, human factors, counterfeiting, after-delivery support, and risk management are all included. Safety standards, for example, encompass what needs to be done to ensure safety throughout the entire product lifecycle. Project management standards also address risk, as well as making sure data is not lost between one system and another.
Complying with ISA-95, ISO9001 and AS9100 can seem daunting. Their large manuals consist of a seemingly endless number of clauses. But the iBase-t Digital Manufacturing Suite’s integrated enterprise quality management system addresses all of them. It not only supports each standard, it implements them seamlessly. By installing, configuring and integrating iBase-t into the enterprise, compliance with these standards can be achieved quickly and thoroughly.
Here’s an actual example: An organization used to take two full weeks to demonstrate compliance to the AS9100 standard during an audit. Personnel were tied up trying to find various pieces of information and compiling everything into a format that could be shown to the auditor. With iBase-t, audit time came down to less than three days. This is made possible by the fact that all the information for compliance is pre-built into the suite. Instead of compiling the data, it is immediately available on screen to show to the auditor.
The continuous improvement, correction and audit management functions demanded by AS9100 and ISO9001 are facilitated within iBase-t’s solution. Multiple supplier document types and workflows are integrated into a comprehensive system to manage discrepancies, assign priorities, develop action plans and measure success.
Similarly for ISA95, iBase-t pulls data from Levels 1 and 2 into Level 3, and makes it available to Level 4. It fully supports the ISA95 model and brings together all elements of the manufacturing infrastructure.