Manufacturing | PPAP

The 5 Submission Levels of PPAP

Words by Alex Matheson
The 5 Submission Levels of PPAP
Manufacturing equipment and figures on a colourful background

We’re back talking about all things APQP. We started off with an overview of the APQP framework and last week we looked at PPAP in general as well as PSWs more specifically. This week we’re returning to PPAP, or the product part approval process, to look at the five different levels of submission for PPAP.

What are the five levels of PPAP?

  • Level 1 – Part Submission Warrant (PSW) only
  • 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 supplier’s manufacturing location

Each submission level requires a PSW, but as you can see, each level above the first requires some extra amount of supporting material. There is a checklist of 18 potential aspects that either need to be submitted to the customer, or retained by the supplier and provided to the customer on request.

Let’s start at the beginning though and see what differentiates each level.

What does a Level 1 PPAP submission require?

While a level 1 submission is listed as ‘PSW only’, that’s not strictly true. For designated appearance items, an appearance approval report will also need to be submitted to the customer. For a bulk material PPAP, a bulk material requirements checklist must be submitted.

What does a level 2 PPAP submission require?

A level 2 PPAP needs more supporting data to be provided to the customer than a level 1, but doesn’t cover everything that might be needed from the list of 18 potential requirements. A level 2 PPAP would need to include design records of saleable products as well as all other components and details.

You would also need to include dimensional results, materials and performance test results, as well as qualified laboratory documentation. As you can see, as the levels progress the amount of information also increases.

It’s also at this level that a sample product would need to be provided to the customer, not just retained by the supplier.

What does a level 3 PPAP submission require?

As you can see in the checklist above, this level requires ‘complete’ supporting data rather than ‘limited’ supporting data. That means you’re going to cover everything you’ve covered in level 2, and much more on top.

As well as everything included in level 2, the supplier will need to provide the customer with data such as customer engineering approval, design FMEA, process flow diagrams, control plans, and measurement system analysis studies. The supplier would also need to provide the customer with any initial process studies and records of compliance.

What does a level 4 PPAP submission require?

Here’s where things get a bit more interesting. While the mandatory PSW and, if applicable, bulk material requirements checklist, will always be supplied to the customer, the rest of the checklist is down to the customer.

Despite the customer defining what they want to be submitted, it’s still important for the supplier to retain each of the 18 requirements on site so they can be provided later if needed.

What does a level 5 PPAP submission require?

What distinguishes level 5 PPAP submissions from the other four is that it’s complete, but to be reviewed at the supplier’s facility. That means a PSW and all supporting materials need to be created but the customer will come to the supplier for the review.

How do you decide on a PPAP submission level?

The decision of what PPAP submission level is chosen depends on a number of different factors. Customers may have a preferred PPAP submission level for the bulk of the parts they purchase, but have specific parts needing different submission levels.

It also depends on the type of parts that are being submitted. Obviously things like bulk material orders will have their specific requirements, but any other part might have special considerations that means a customer would go for one or other of the PPAP submission levels.

What’s next?

Well, we’ve taken a good look into PPAP now and hope these last two articles have given you a good idea of what it’s all about. Next week we’ll be diving back into the broader world of the APQP framework. See you then!