PPAPs for the Automotive Industry


Can You Say PPAP? PPAP stands for Production Part Approval Process. If you want to sound cool, you will pronounce the acronym pee-pap.

The term PPAP is unique to the automotive industry but the considerable documentation required by the PPAP procedure is similar to those in the aviation, military and nuclear industries. The term refers to the documentation required to verify manufacturing capability and product performance prior to shipment of the product itself. Wire and cable products generally require about 30 pages of PPAP documentation for each part number.

PPAP Contents

  • Design Records
  • Engineering Changes
  • Engineering Approvals
  • Design Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (Design FMEA)
  • Process flow diagrams
  • Process Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (Process FMEA)
  • Dimensional results
  • Records of material/performance test results
  • Initial Process Studies
  • Measurement System Analysis Studies
  • Qualified Laboratory Documentation
  • Control Plan
  • Part Submission Warrant (PSW)
  • Appearance Approval Report (AAR)
  • Sample Production Parts
  • Master Sample

Why Should I Care About PPAPs?

In short because many customers of automotive wire and other automotive parts will not make purchases without them! Automotive customers usually require a PPAP submission for each part number (including each wire color) prior to shipment. They are often required for SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) wire types J1127 and J1128.

The PPAP Manual 

The Production Part Approval Process is spelled out in detail in a procedure manual that was first published in 1993. It was the result of a joint effort of Chrysler (now DaimlerChrysler), Ford and General Motors working under the auspices of the American

Society for Quality Control (ASQC, now ASQ) and the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG). The purpose was to standardize the reference manuals, procedures, reporting formats, and technical nomenclature used in their respective supplier quality systems. The third and most recent edition, which contains 92 pages, became effective February 1, 2000. It contains the forms and instructions required to properly prepare PPAP documentation (a.k.a. PPAPs) as well as a glossary of PPAP terms. What Information is Required in a PPAP Submission?

The PPAP manual requires detailed documentation on each of the items shown in the box on page one. As you can see, the documentation is extensive. The good news is that experienced automotive wire and cable manufacturers are well practiced in preparing and submitting PPAPs. Distributors are usually only required to:

  • Obtain a copy of the PPAP documentation for each part number from the manufacturer
  • Add a single page Part Submission Warrant (PSW) to the manufacturer’s PPAP documentation
  • Forward the entire package to the customer

PPAP submissions are generally valid until design or manufacturing process changes are made to a part number or until the item has been out of production for 12 months or more. If a change is being contemplated, manufacturers and distributors must notify their customers prior to implementing the change and will most likely be required to submit an updated PPAP.

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Submission Levels 

PPAP documentation must comply with one of five Submission Levels as defined in the PPAP manual. The levels are shown in the box at right. Any submission level can be specified by the customer, but the most common request is for a Level 3 submission.

PPAP Submission Levels

Level 1 – Part Submission Warrant (PSW) only submitted to the customer.

Level 2 – PSW with product samples and limited supporting data.

Level 3 – PSW with product samples and complete supporting data.

Level 4 – PSW and other requirements as defined by the customer.

Level 5 -PSW with product samples and complete supporting data available for review at the suppliers manufacturing location.

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