Even before series production, every supplier must prove that the production process and the product meet all requirements. A suitable procedure for this is the production process and product approval (German: "Produktionsprozess- und Produktfreigabe", or: PPF).

Production Process and Product Approval (PPF) – a Definition

Production Process and Product Approval, according to VDA Volume 2, is a procedure used for the initial sampling of series parts in the automotive industry. According to the name, the PPF procedure contains on the one hand the approval of the processes for the production of the products and on the other hand the approval of the product.

The PPF process proves that the requirements for the production process and the product are met. This equally includes legal, regulatory and approval-relevant requirements, standards, technical specifications and customer-specific requirements as well as contractual agreements between the organization and the customer.

As part of the approval process, the evaluation of the production process and the product are supplemented by documents, records and samples for PPF. PPF samples are those products that are manufactured as initial samples in the PPF process completely with series-production operating equipment and under series-production conditions.

PPAP and PPF – Similarities and Differences

The Production Part Approval Process, or PPAP for short, is also used for the initial sampling of series parts in the automotive industry. The PPAP process and the PPF process are very similar, the difference lies primarily in their geographical origin: The PPAP is based on the American Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG), while the PPF is based on the specifications of the German automotive industry (Verband der Automobilindustrie e. V. or VDA for short).

Goals of the PPF

In the automotive industry, close and intensive collaboration between the customer and the organization is of ever-increasing importance. Increasingly close cooperation in the supply chain, shorter development times, greater product variety and increasing complexity are forcing more intensive coordination between the customer and the organization. The PPF process documents standardized verification along the entire supply chain, proving that trouble-free delivery is possible in the required quality, at the agreed time, in the correct quantity and with the aid of a specific production process. The aim of the PPF is therefore to ensure that the organization meets the requirements for the delivery of products that conform to specifications.

This is How the PPF Process Works

Internal and External Process

The PPF process is triggered not only for new parts, but also for changes, reuse or due to customer-specific agreements. Depending on the triggering reason, either the customer or the organization initiates the PPF process coordination, in which the process is planned.

This is the start of the internal PPF process, in which the production process and the product are examined in detail to determine whether the planned result can be achieved in compliance with all agreed conditions.

After this, the external PPF procedure begins. The organization submits the PPF samples and PPF documentation to the customer, who makes a decision based on this evidence as to whether the product and production process meet all requirements.

Completion of the Procedure

If the agreed requirements are met without restriction or if the customer can accept deviations on a permanent basis, the PPF process is completed and the delivery release can be issued. If the requirements cannot be met in full, measures are agreed and updated PPF documentation must be submitted. If the production process or the product does not prove to be suitable for customer or series production, the series delivery release is not issued and a new PPF procedure is required.

The PPF procedure can take place in several stages. The details are to be agreed in the coordination of the PPF procedure. In addition, several variants of a product may be released in a joint PPF procedure, provided this was agreed in the coordination on the procedure and the variants have a common basis in the product or production process. For example, this can apply to software variants, assemblies with different material options or car seats with different equipment variants. The fact that the requirements for variant-independent characteristics can be met can be proven here on the basis of one variant. The proof is then valid for all variants.

The PPF process is not considered complete until the customer decides to approve delivery. Before this, the organization may not supply the products described in the PPF.

The Relevance of the PPF Process in Quality Management

Proof of Process and Product Quality

Constantly rising cost pressure combined with increasing risk for delivery scopes in terms of product maturity and quality makes efficient interaction between production process and product release absolutely essential.

Here, the PPF process facilitates coordination between the customer and the organization, as compliance with the customer's requirements is documented and proven. Within the scope of the release procedure, the quality capability of the complete production process and the product under series conditions must be proven. The PPF thus serves to ensure the quality of the production processes and products, since the series parts must demonstrably meet all the customer's requirements in terms of quality. The PPF can therefore be understood as a central task area of quality management.

Advantages of Software-Supported Sample Inspection

More and more organizations are relying on a clear software solution to handle the Part Approval Process, as this saves time and costs. Suitable software solutions (e.g. BabtecQ) support both the PPF and PPAP processes and facilitate all steps of the sampling process. In this way, organizations can ensure that not only are all the customer's quality requirements met, but also that the verification of this takes place in a time-saving, efficient and clear manner.

The software for Part Approval Process provides you with a comprehensive and practice-oriented tool for the effective execution and management of your approval procedures. It supports the requirements of the AIAG (PPAP) and VDA 2 (PPF) guidelines from the automotive industry. To evaluate the products, users perform initial sample inspections based on the product characteristics defined in the drawing, which are then documented in an initial sample inspection report (ISIR). The supplier can then use this to prove that the products supplied meet the customer's quality requirements.

A young female engineer checks a machine.

Software-supported Part Approval Process

BabtecQ is QM software that not only offers software-supported creation of initial sample inspection reports and supports the PPF and PPAP processes, but also covers other quality management processes. For the evaluation of products, users carry out initial sample inspections on the basis of defined product characteristics and then document them in an initial sample inspection report (ISIR).

To the module "Part Approval Process"


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