AS9146 FOD prevention programme in manufacturing

First published: 13 Jul 2020
Author: Dr David Scrimshire
Company: TEC Transnational Ltd

AS9146 FOD prevention programme in manufacturing

“FOD” is a generic term used in the aerospace and defence sectors to describe three related issues – - FO (Foreign Object) an ‘alien’ substance or article that could potentially enter and/or migrate into/on the product if not removed and controlled

  • FOd (Foreign Object Debris) FO that has entered and/or migrated into/on the product, and could potentially cause equipment or aircraft damage if not removed and controlled

  • FOD (Foreign Object Damage) any damage attributed to FOd that can be expressed in physical or economic terms, which could potentially degrade the product or system's required safety and/or performance characteristics

FO > FOd > FOD

Apart from the overriding safety issues, globally FOD costs the thousands of companies engaged in aerospace manufacturing and the aircraft operators in the region of £2.5–3.3 billion per annum!

With effective FOD-prevention processes it is possible to create a FOD-aware organization culture and eliminate FOD in a cost-effective manner

These processes must start with product design and manufacturing process design (APQP), and follow through to manufacturing and subcontracting, onto delivery to the customer.

Considerable efforts have been made to mitigate FOD in the past 20-years, and with the release of AS9100 Rev D, FOD became a mandatory part of the QMS (Quality Management System). The requirements for a formal "FOD Prevention Programme" have now been specified in AS9146:2017, and it is likely to be adopted by the aviation ‘Primes’ and ‘Tier-1s’ for their supply chains.

Suppliers should be taking action now by ensuring that they fully understand AS9146 and can develop and deploy practical implementation strategies to meet all of the applicable requirements. Empowerment training of operators will be a powerful weapon backed up by FOD area designation, clean-as-you-go housekeeping and tool accountability & control

Full use must be made of the ‘core concepts’ promoted by all ISO-based management system standards – - process-based approach - risk-based thinking - Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle

In this way potential ‘events’ leading to FOD may be proactively addressed by processes throughout the organization, ensuring that the FOD prevention programme will operate in an effective (and efficient) manner.

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