Life of the part - How long should I keep processing data, powder, raw material tests



Life of the part

How long should I keep processing data, powder and raw material tests, etc. if the warranty only lasts 3 years or 36,000 miles, would there be any reason to keep the records longer than that?
Or when I specify life of the part plus one year, do I mean life of how long we have the part in production?
(Confused again)

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!

4.16.1 speaks to a few different points.

Parts in production will generate Quality Records (lot traceability stuff). These have a life of one calender year after the year they were created. An example: a record created today could be destroyed 12/31/00 (created early 1999, but retained a year after the year they were created in, all of 2000). This would apply to the similar type records as the examples point out (e.g. control charts, inspection and test results). This would include the acceptance or production records for processing data, powder, and raw materials you mentioned.

Next point: PPAP type records (tooling, POs noted in the first paragraph). This speaks to the "Or when I..." question. These are records that are living records. They maintain the current acceptable process to manufacture and submit product for an OEM. They die one year after a product line dies. These records are maintained for the life of the product (a 10 year old product's records will be kept through the 11th year and then disposed of). Now the catch: the product you manufacture has a warranty. This may be an attachment to the "service requirements" portion of the element.

In this case, I believe you would have to wait until the 4th year before disposing of your "production quality records" (the lot traceability stuff). This is the point I have a bit of confusion on. What I believe is that you would need to maintain these records should an issue arise late in the second/third year. If you had disposed of the records, how could you defend yourself?

This also leads me to the fourth paragraph "Retention periods longer than those specified above may be specified by the supplier in their procedures. The supplier shall eventually dispose of records". You may decide to keep you records longer, provided there aren't any conflicts with the contract. Someone in the "Quality Records" pointed out that the retention periods were otherwise just minimum requirements. This is correct. You may decide for you own protection to have longer retention periods.

So why all the hoopla over retention and disposal. I believe Quality Records are a liability concern for OEMs as they are careful to point out in paragraph 5. I think they are saying "keep them for atleast this long for our sake, consider your own organizational needs, any governmental needs, but then be sure to dispose of them when their usefulness has expired". This protects them, and to some degree you. Also, managing useless data is a nonvalue added process the Customer is not willing to pay for.

I hope I haven't muddled it up for you or anyone else, but perhaps other folks could add or subtract to/from my posting. Back to the group...


Fully vaccinated are you?
Kevin is right on the money - this is driven by the liability issue.
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