APQP and International Material Data System

By Wally Stegall and Jon M Quigley

Collecting and Reporting Material

One approach to collecting and reporting material content is the International Material Data System (IMDS).  IMDS is a computer-based material data system used and funded primarily by automotive OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturer of cars, trucks, heavy vehicles, agricultural equipment, construction equipment, industrial equipment, military vehicles, and other apparatus) although other manufacturers use IMDS to manage environmental care aspects of products.

“The IMDS (International Material Data System) is the automobile industry’s material data system. Initially, it was a joint development of Audi, BMW, Daimler, HP, Ford, Opel, Porsche, VW and Volvo. Further manufacturers have meanwhile joined the community and IMDS has become a global standard used by almost all of the global OEMs. Talks are being held with further manufacturers regarding their participation in IMDS. In IMDS, all materials used for automobile manufacturing are collected, maintained, analyzed and archived. Using the IMDS, it is possible to meet the … Continue reading

Transition Prototype to Production

by Kim H Pries

When we are engaged in prototype development during the early to late middle phases of our new product delivery process, we usually purchase components through maintenance, repairs, and operation (MRO) purchasing. This type of purchasing is managed on an as-needed basis, and often, is not automated. We purchase the parts we need in relatively small quantities because we are not yet in production. At this point in our process, this approach is reasonable and effective. The part cost is high but we are not at risk of having any parts we need to throw away.

As we move through the process, however, we reach a point where we begin to transition from prototypes to sellable products. For these products, we most commonly use manufacturing resource planning (MRP) purchasing, which is nearly always automated. As developers, we have seen huge discontinuities in delivery when shifting from MRO to MRP purchasing. MRP purchasing has some different characteristics:

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Prototype Parts and Product Development Lifecycle

by Jon M Quigley

A few recent experiences have led me to believe many do not know the reason for prototype parts. Consider organizations that employ an iterative process for developing products. The automotive world typically uses this sort of product development method. In iterative product development, we build increments of the product learning from each increment to improve the subsequent increment culminating ultimately the increment that will make it to production. We do this to reduce risk and to ensure we do not spend BIG money for engineering work when we are missing some key information about the potential product.

Let us review the following all too frequently occurring story. An organization has an iterative product development process in place. In this example, the defined process has four levels of prototype parts, with each level having specific objectives to be achieved and a definition of the part’s level of sophistication. We have a brief list as an example of … Continue reading

PPAP is the Quality System

By Wally Stegall and Jon M. Quigley

The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) has developed the Production PART Approval Process (PPAP) standard as part of advanced product quality planning (APQP).

The PPAP documentation; is thought by many as just a collection of documents and sign-off to allow a supplier to start manufacturing. That is not the case. The PPAP documents provide a demonstration of diligence from the respective areas of product development.  These documents provide evidence that Engineering, Product Evaluation (test), Production and Quality have performed necessary actions to secure the product.  The specific documents included are:


Part submission warrant Design records and drawings Engineering change documents Design Failure Mode Effects Analysis (DFMEA) Process flow diagram Process Failure Mode Effects Analysis (PMEA) Dimensional results Material/performance test results Initial process study Measurement system assessment (MSA) studies Qualified laboratory documentation Prelaunch control plan Appearance approval report Process control plan Bulk material checklist Product sample Checking aids (Gauge R&R) Master sample Customer … Continue reading

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