The “PPAP” Excuse

It’s natural to be “risk averse” in manufacturing – especially in highly competitive industries and in our global economy. “PPAP” (Production Part Approval Process) and  “approved chemical” lists exist in part  to minimize potential risks. Yet on  many occasions these can pose just as many risks as they are meant to prevent.

Consider that several, if not most, “PPAP” and “approved chemical” lists contain products that have been in use for half a century. Certainly these materials have proven very effective in production. But the ever changing environmental and occupational safety regulations, materials being stamped and downstream processes (i.e. surface pretreatment and/or finishing) can all be impacted, or even limited by strict adherence to these material lists. We do not use the same paint chemistries or surface pretreatments as in the 1950’s. Gigapascal steel didn’t feature prominently in the cars of the 60’s & 70’s. The evolution of manufacturing processes and the chemicals and techniques employed is crucial to advancement; keeping a corporation viable or even dominant.

Similar to the progressive development and eventual acceptance of transition metal conversion coatings (TMC), servo press, tool-coating and material-joining technologies and expansion in use of ultra-high strength steels – the lubricants used to stamp these newer, more challenging materials deserve the same careful consideration and open-mindedness.

What’s the “PPAP excuse”? Following a standard rather than setting the standard.

What is the “PPAP question”? Will you make the changes to improve your process quality & costs – or will your customer make the change to a supplier that will?

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