Informational APQP4Wind - Advanced Product Quality Planning for the Wind Power Supply Chain

Sidney Vianna

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#1
As a fast growing segment around the world, the wind power energy sector and it's supply chain have established their own version of APQP. From About APQP4Wind:

APQP is a well-known concept within the automotive industry and has been the backbone for maturing quality performance at Manufacturers and Suppliers for decades. In the context of APQP4Wind, the concept of APQP is adapted to the business areas and special conditions differentiating wind from automotive.
APQP4Wind aims to make the process of product quality assurance demands (APQP) as well as the product release process (PPAP) as clear as possible.

The standards made available in APQ4Wind have been created to substitute company-specific procedures and set aligned methods and procedures for all Suppliers and Sub Suppliers nationally and internationally. The APQP4Wind Manual and corresponding Toolbox defines the framework for quality requirements and provides recommended formats and templates.

It would be interesting to know if any Cove member works in this exciting market segment and follow APQP4Wind. In terms of "volume production" numbers, wind turbines are much closer to aerospace than automotive. So, when it comes to APQP and PPAP approaches, it seems to me that APQP4Wind should line up with AS9145 instead of the AIAG APQP/PPAP methodologies.
 
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#2
I participated in the initial 2017 Congress to establish the APQP4Wind in Denmark. The week long event involved major OEMs (Vestas, LM, and Siemens) and suppliers (KK Wind). It was run by certification body DNV. I was the only person present with a working knowledge of the automotive APQP/PPAP standards. We were presented with a working document that chopped and hashed elements of AIAG APQP/ PPAP/MSA/... In my opinion, very few attending seemed to grasp the basic principles; certainly not the real world application. They wanted to adopt a modified AIAG APQP/PPAP system, without doing the due diligence of understanding the AIAG components. The initial document had thrown the 18 AIAG PPAP elements in to a blender, added a net 4 random elements, eliminated 1 element, and reassembled without any thought to the APQP/PPAP development (i.e. Design Record to Warrant). Over the course of the week, I was able to explain in the 18 AIAG elements, and their application. At least they agreed to revise the APQP4Wind manual from being a dog's breakfast to something aligned with the AIAG structure. Overall, APQP4Wind remains more of a 50 page glossy brochure/ PR exercise than a detailed standard like the AIAG versions.
 

Sidney Vianna

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As the wind turbine sector supply chain matures, it is critical for advanced quality management to permeate it. But, let’s remember that the context of automotive industry means that some parts will be manufactured in the millions, while we will never see the same model of a wind turbine sell more than a few tens of thousands at best. Just this morning I saw news that Vestas should have a 15 MW turbine in the market in a couple of years.

Because of the volume of production parts involved, much more in line with aircraft numbers, I still think that the aero derived APQP/PPAP protocols would be better aligned with this sector.
 
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