AS9100A - Production Equipment, etc...



Section, "Control of Production Equipment, Tools and Numerical Control (N.C.) Machine Programs" is rather a stumper for me. I've looked for guidance on how detailed this requirement is, but so far haven't found much of anything.

My difficulty is not so much in defining control methods as it is defining the scope of the requirement, i.e. what is a piece of "production equipment" or "tool"? Obviously, NC programs are covered, and I would imagine that part- or program-specific tooling might not be too controversial, but what about: scissors, screwdrivers, other hand tools, even marking pens (for product labeling)? There's all kinds of things I might make a good argument are tools or production equipment, but I sure don't want to include them in the class of items covered by this section.

Anybody cracked this nut yet (definition of scope)?


What we did


My experience.....Drill Presses, Brake Presses, laser, shears (not scissors or snips), rollers, lathes, bridgeports, sanders, etc. all had identification numbers and maintenance schedules attached to the equipment. The criteria used was simple. If the failure of the machine would cause you to miss shipment dates due to major downtime, include it in your Preventive Maintenance Program. Smaller items that you may use that you can go to, say, Home Depot, Grainger, etc and replace immediately..we did not include it. Like a radial arm saw for cutting wood to make crates. It's your call. Look at the equipment that would cause your production to crash. JMHO

:ko: :smokin:


I was a bit concerned with this requirement too when I first saw it.

I have assumed (rightly or wrongly) that "tools" (hardware or software) are product or contract specific. When we implemented the '99 version of AS 9100, I looked back to Boeing's D1-9000 BQS standard (for clarification) because I thought that maybe this was a Boeing influenced requirement. BQS 1.9.2 reads:

The supplier shall comply with applicable portions of Boeing tooling documents, I&R plans of other tooling agreements, as specified by contract.

Tools shall be:

a. released for production use only after the first parts produced have been verified to the part drawings and specifications

b. periodically verified to ensure their continued accuracy

c. properly stored and controlled to prevent misuse, damage, and deterioration

d. periodically checked for condition and preservation when in storage

Tool changes that affect product configuration shall not be implemented prior to Boeing approval.

The supplier shall maintain records that verify the proper control and care of supplier-, Boeing-, Boeing customer-, and Government owned tooling including records for accountability, identification, accuracy, and maintenance. These records shall include accurate identification of datasets on accountable tooling and inspection tools.

“Boeing or Government owned" tends to infer product or contract specific. Maybe it’s a stretch but that’s where we drew the line and so far, it has been a safe assumption for us.

I was particularly worried about control of NC programs but an ME furnished me with a detailed work instruction during an internal audit which included good controls for proper configuration using a network drive.

So far, so good!

Hope this helps.



Your rationale is exactly what we used to include or exclude items from our PM program. However, I did not interpret (or to be a requirement for a PM program. I hope I was not incorrect with my interpretation!

Anyone else have an opinion?

BTW, I would much rather be fishin’ too!


Customer Supplied Tooling


rightly or wrongly, Customer supplied tooling was considered Customer Property and we treated it entirely different than Production Equipment. Our own tooling, qualified through first piece inspection, was not considered Production Equipment either. Production Equipment were the machines we used to produce parts. We had representatives from the various aircraft customers in our plant daily auditing to their version of AS9000. They had no problems with what we were doing. Maybe I'm reading something wrong in Greg's post. I do not, or have not seen the new AS9001 spec. :ko: :smokin:


My experience with aerospace tooling is that it does not matter whether the tooling is customer furnished or company owned. The tooling must be controlled. Among the tooling are jigs, fixtures and inspection fixtures. Part of the problem is tooling wears. A first piece control is therefore insufficient. The controls on government furnished tooling become even tighter. The other side of control is to make sure customer and government furnished tooling is accounted for. In fact the DOD is presently going through very strict checks to make sure government tooling is accounted for.


The standard seems pretty explicit: production equipment and tools must be validated prior to use and thereafter inspected periodically (according to "documented procedures" too; did you catch that one?)

It doesn't exclude customer-supplied production equipment and tools. It doesn't say it only pertains to items on a PM program or that would cause major downtime. It doesn't instruct the reader to refer to Boeing legacy requirements.

I'm concerned that a strict constructionist (as many auditors are) would not allow the exclusionary schemes posted so far. I'd love it if the IAF or ISO/TC would come up with official guidance matter on this. I'm sure that in the early years of adoption, few folks auditing to AS9100A are going to hit hard on this. Our customer auditors especially will likely rely on their intuitive interpretation based on past expectations. But that doesn't mean that sooner or later someone will understand what this language is actually saying, and then our lives will be unpleasant.

I'll probably roll something together using some of the ideas posted so far, but if anyone comes up with other thoughts or approaches please post them -- I can use the help.

Hmmmm, still sittin' and thinkin'.


Inanutshell, the question remains, does this requirement imply contract or product specificity for the subject “production equipment” or “tooling”?

We (my employer) made the assumption that it does based on:

a. our Boeing rep auditing to D1-9000 BQS and BQMS D682479

b. our registrar auditing to AS 9100:1999 and AS9100a

c. our own interpretation of the aforementioned specs

As with many other requirements of the standard, they are open for interpretation by the auditor. Good luck!


This activity is important!
If you have quality approved manufacturing plan, work instructions, & set up documentation per as necessary including methods & steps listing work centers, specific tools & nonspecific tools. the first article report or other documents will capture these activities. we use the PM to predict a potential capability failure of key process equipment(specific equipment), which is determined by maintenance records 6.3(b). if its non-specific, it's listed in the non-specific section of the set-up book. our validators review the documents/product/process and report the finding to the QM/QE for appropriate action.
You may not have your equipment specified per 6.3?

Have fun!:)
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