in Vol. 7 - January Issue - Year 2006
Nadcap NMSE Task Group – A Staff Engineer Perspective
Scott Nelson, NMSE Staff Engineer

Scott Nelson, NMSE Staff Engineer

An interview with Scott Nelson, NMSE Technical Staff

(?) MFN: How does the Nadcap Nonconventional Machining and Surface Enhancement (NMSE) Task Group get its authority?

(!) S. N.: The NMSE task group is 1 of 14 task groups under the Nadcap Management Council Structure.
The Task Group is made up of aerospace prime contractors, suppliers, and PRI  staff. More than 16 aerospace Prime contractors mandate Nadcap accreditation for their NMSE suppliers. The Nadcap consensus process is unprecedented and its industry managed structure encourages open communication between the Primes, suppliers, staff engineers, and auditors. This allows sharing of information for all customers to benefit from. The NMSE Task Group currently performs an average of 250 – 275 audits per year across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and maintains an auditor base of eleven auditors.
The Non conventional Machining and Surface Enhancement (NMSE) Task Group is conducting audits to demonstrate compliance with the SAE AS7116 standard for non conventional machining and the SAE AS7117 standard for surface enhancement. These audits address the following types of processes:

Surface Enhancement
Shot Peening: Automated, Computer Controlled, Flapper, Manual, Peen Forming

Non conventional Machining
Electrochemical Machining (ECM)
Electrochemical Grinding (ECG)
Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM)
Fast Hole, Sinker, Wire
Laser Beam Machining (LBM) - Cutting, Drilling, Marking

(?) MFN: What is the role of the Staff Engineer?

(!) S. N.: As the Non conventional Machining and Surface Enhancement (NMSE) and Aerospace Quality Systems (AQS) Nadcap Staff Engineer I have the opportunity of working with many of the leaders in the aerospace industry including representatives from the Nadcap subscribing Primes, special process suppliers, and my fellow staff engineers. The main functions of my role as a staff engineer with the NMSE Task Group are working with the aerospace primes to develop standards and audit criteria for assessing compliance to the various customer and industry specification regarding non conventional machining and surface enhancement. Therefore, at the directive of the primes on the task group, I provide an important interface between the auditor, primes and suppliers.
The Staff Engineer also works with the auditors and suppliers during the audit review process to evaluate, review, and close out the audit report and any non conformances. In cases where there is disagreement between the auditor and supplier I function to provide an objective and fair resolution.

(?) MFN: Who performs the Nadcap audits?

(!) S. N.: The Nadcap process utilizes independent auditors who go through rigorous screening and interviews by the Nadcap Task Groups prior to approval, to perform these audits to the Nadcap audit criteria. These auditors are NMSE technology experts and are a professional group in which 80-100% typically have B.S. degrees in Metallurgy/Material Science or other relevant fields and an average 30 years of relevant experience.
There is also annual training which the auditors attend. The training programs are created by Task Group members, staff engineers, and other Nadcap staff and address any changes in the general Nadcap procedures, checklist revisions, prime specific requirements, and general best practices.
There are many benefits for industry to use auditors and for individuals who work as Non conventional Machining and Surface Enhancement (NMSE) auditors. As an NMSE auditor, you would conduct special process audits of aerospace industry suppliers. The Nadcap program of PRI is the world’s premier special processing accrediting organization. For more information on PRI, visit the www.pri-network.org/ website.

(?) MFN: How can you best prepare for the Nadcap audits?

(!) S. N.: There are many sources of training and help available for suppliers thinking of Nadcap accreditation. The best advice when preparing for a Nadcap audit is to conduct a vigorous self assessment using the Nadcap checklists which are available at eAuditNet.com.
When conducting the rigorous self assessment you need to evaluate each question and it is important to realize that some of the requirements may be new for you and more stringent than current customer requirements. You need to be very thorough and actually seek out the objective evidence to show compliance to the requirements. When the Nadcap auditor arrives they will require objective evidence for each requirement. This self assessment will assist you to uncover areas where you are not currently compliant to the Nadcap requirements and give you the opportunity to fix the problems prior to your audit. Most of the Task Groups also maintain auditor handbooks which explain and support requirements in the checklists. These are also available to suppliers and can be found on eAuditNet.com.
It is also recommended that suppliers understand root cause corrective action. This will help prepare you for the detailed level of responses that the staff engineer and Task Group will expect. You can also visit the Performance Review Institute website http://www.pri-network.org for information about training, free tutorials, and programs such as the Nadcap Customer Support Initiative (NCSI).

(?) MFN: What are the most common findings?

(!) S. N.: The NMSE Task Group routinely studies and evaluates the most common non compliances to the Aerospace Standards, AS7116 (Non conventional Machining) and AS7117(Surface Enhancement)  found during our audits which are:

Flowdown of customer specification and Nadcap requirements into workstation instruction
Generally in the shot peening audits lack of flowdown in areas such as critical process parameters (air pressure, translation rates, and coverage), set-up instructions and masking, and pre-peen inspection for sharp edges and damage and post-peen coverage inspection

This has serious implications for the industry as a whole.

(?) MFN: What is expected from the supplier’s responding to NCR’s?

(!) S. N.: Understanding of root cause corrective actions is essential. The NMSE Task Group requires detailed workstation instructions (routing, technique sheet, etc.). Most suppliers are not used to this level of detail and initially struggle to meet Nadcap flowdown expectations. While it is generally found that suppliers are meeting process and specification requirements, failing to have detailed workstation instruction leads to variations in application and greater chance for process and specification non-compliances.

We at MFN would like to thank Scott Nelson for this interview.

For Information contact Seema Saleem at:
Administered by PRI
28-32 Wellington Road
London NW8 9SP, United Kingdom
Tel. +44.207.483 9010
Fax: +44.207.483 9011