Manufacturing | PPAP

Product Part Approval Process – PPAP

Words by Alex Matheson
Product Part Approval Process – PPAP

Last week we started to break down the advanced quality product planning (APQP) framework. We took a top down look at what it is, where it came from, how it can be used and what each phase entails.

This week we’re going to dive into a more specific process that falls within the framework, generally at around Phase 4, that being a product part approval process (PPAP).

What is PPAP?

PPAP is a rigorous procedure that ensures parts made by suppliers are created consistently. It is made up of 18 potential steps that aim to guarantee high quality in part production every time.

The approval process is generally put into practice when new parts are produced, or parts are produced using new or significantly revised production methods. While PPAP is made up of 18 potential steps, not every part needs to pass all of these.

We’ll take a closer look at the 18 potential steps in a future article. This week we’re going to take a quick look at the levels those steps fit into and a vital document that is needed for each one.

What are the 5 levels of PPAP?

The five levels of PPAP submission are:

  • 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

You’ll notice that each level requires a part submission warrant (PSW), but as the levels progress a PSW needs to be accompanied by increasingly comprehensive supporting elements and data.

What needs to be included in a part submission warrant?

As each level of the PPAP requires a PSW, it’s worth taking a closer look into the information you need to provide.

Part information

This includes detailed information about the part in question. It includes everything from the part name, which differs from part name on drawing by being more human allowing for easier distinction by the supplier and customer.

It also includes details of engineering actions, such as dates of changes, descriptions of changes, and the level of changes.

Within the part information is also an overview of any regulatory specifications, from a safety or governmental perspective, linked to a part of this type. This is obviously important because these specifications need to be included, or at least linked to, to meet regulatory standards.

The part information section goes on to list any sort of special tools needed and what level of checking equipment is used to check the part, both the customer and organisation part numbers to aid identification, the purchase order number, and the weight of the object.

Contact details

The next two sections cover the contact details for both parties. This includes the name of the supplier and any associated vendor codes. It also includes the customer name and/or division as well as any associated buyer code.

Materials reporting

Substance of concern information needs to be added if there’s material used in the part that might have an adverse effect on any humans in the immediate, or in the future.

International material data system (IMDS) format needs to be declared here, detailing how IMDS or IMDS like information will be submitted. This section also needs to include the IMDS ID.

Reason for submission

There are many different reasons a part could be submitted for PPAP and it’s obviously vitally important to note the reason correctly so the process can take the right course. Most options are presented as tick boxes but a customer can also specify ‘other’ if it’s something more unique.

Submission level

As noted above, a PPAP can be one of five levels. Each consecutive level requires a different amount of supporting material and has its own logic behind it. We’ll come back in a future article to look at each level in depth.

Submission results

What are the results of the PPAP? Has the supplier included results for dimensional measurements, material and function tests, appearance criteria, and statistical process packages?

It’s also here where it can be recorded whether the results meet any and all design requirements. If not, have any concerns been noted?

Declaration and explanations or comments

These two sections are where the supplier confirms the PPAP has been carried out and can expand on any explanations or comments related to the process.


Finally you have the status. This where the customer signs off on the PPAP if they’re satisfied the process has been completed to specification, or doesn’t if they aren’t. The Part Warrant Disposition can be either accepted, rejected, or specified if other.

What’s next?

Now that we’ve broken down some of the basics and taken a look in depth at the PSW, we need to investigate what different levels of PPAP are available and what makes them distinct. Join us again next week for the five levels of PPAP for that discussion.