Why You Need an AS9100-Certified and ITAR-Registered Manufacturing Partner

Jun 18, 2024 | News, Precision Machining

Modern jet fighter flying against a blue sky. White smoke trail.

For companies that make products for the aerospace or defense industries, AS9100 certification gives manufacturers a leg up. Additionally, certification with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is necessary for anyone doing business with the US military. Based on ISO 9001:2015, AS9100 was developed by the European Association of Aerospace Industries and the Society of Automotive Engineers in 1999, with the most recent revision made in 2016. These AS9100 standards complement ITAR registration, established to protect US national security.

Partnering with a machine shop registered with ITAR ensures defense manufacturers have a quality management system in place while protecting intellectual property rights. All manufacturers and defense contractors doing business with the Pentagon within the United States fall under ITAR guidelines. ITAR also restricts and controls the export of technology used for military equipment to protect US national security. While mandating that those performing certain work for the US military must be ITAR-registered, manufacturers who follow the AS9100 standard quality management system will provide superior products and services.

AS9100 Standard & ITAR Registration for Machine Shops

An AS9100 machine shop has many advantages over one that’s not certified. The AS9100 standard describes specific aspects necessary for quality management systems in the aerospace sector. With a framework based on continually improving processes and customer service, certification augments an AS9100 machine shop’s efficiency. Certification can also open new markets, as some customers and suppliers require it as a condition for doing business with a machining company.  

ITAR compliance and registration help ensure that companies making products for the US military keep engineering information on designs confidential to help prevent it from being copied by foreign adversaries. It also augments the AS9100 standard by guaranteeing products made for US and allied forces will be of the highest quality. This ensures they work under the most difficult combat conditions, protecting US troops’ lives. ITAR compliance involves registering with the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), which is managed by the US State Department to make certain that “commercial exports of defense articles and defense services advance U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives.”

ITAR compliance requires that machine shops register with the DDTC and carefully follow all requirements for manufacturing military-related products. With a stringent quality management system, an AS9100 machine shop will be better able to achieve such certification, which extends to intellectual property rights. Failure to follow ITAR’s criteria would result in as much as $500,000 in civil and $1 million in criminal penalties and prison sentences of up to 10 years. The AS9100 standard puts another layer of protection against possible security breaches in place as well. This is particularly relevant, as failure to comply with ITAR requirements can endanger US and allied military personnel.

Though ITAR certification doesn’t involve a formal process, there are a few steps companies doing business with the US Department of Defense (DOD) must take to become compliant. These include registering with the DDTC, accepting ITAR’s program for compliance, and safeguarding data within the cloud to prevent data leaks. This protected information extends to technology relating to military equipment, services provided by contractors, and technical data.

Advantages of Choosing an AS9100 Machine Shop 

It’s not just manufacturers and suppliers for the US defense industry that benefit from doing business with an AS9100 machine shop. The AS9100 standard and its stringent quality management system can benefit any industry. It improves production efficiency, and adopting AS9100 standards enables an environment that delivers better overall service.

Advantages of choosing an AS9100 machine shop include: 

  • Digitalization: With modern digital technology that includes an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, AS9100 machine shops will ensure patents, registration, and other proprietary information regarding fabricated components is kept secure.
  • Documentation: Inspections and reports are standard for an AS9100 machine shop that fabricates items for the aerospace sector. These assessments and associated documentation ensure quality throughout the manufacturing process based on hard data, which will often be included in formal first-article inspection (FAI) reports. 
  • Labeling: The AS9100 standard also involves producing detailed labels for parts and products. This will include an image of the component and identifying markers that include revision and work order numbers, the quantity produced and other information. Incorporating such details helps customers to track these parts within their inventory better, augmenting procedures for receiving.
  • Purchase orders: PO numbers confirm dates and prices for customers, and these conditions shouldn’t change once they are agreed upon. An AS9100 machine shop will verify pricing and availability of materials before beginning a production run, along with the timeline for assembly.
  • Serial numbers: Marking parts sequentially allows manufacturers to more easily track components throughout their lifecycle to aid management of recalls and warranties, while also helping evaluation of complaints and service histories.
  • Tracking components: The AS9100 standard for tracking allows manufacturers to identify the specific stage at which components are within the fabrication process. Modern tracking systems use an ERP system that allows customers to trace when a part was machined, inspected, sent for outsourced processing, made ready for shipping or other aspects of its manufacture.
  • Turnaround: An AS9100 machine shop’s certification shows it’s committed to providing superior service and high-quality components, but it also ensures processes are streamlined so that production is done as efficiently and quickly as possible.

As a result of certification, AS9100 machine shops can also better follow the strict criteria for ITAR registry.

Importance of ITAR Registry for Defense Manufacturing

Registry with ITAR is a must for any manufacturer of products included on the United States Munitions List (USML). These regulations were originally put together in 1976 by the State Department, applying primarily to defense contractors and others who manufacture products for the US military. Since it also incorporates protocols for specialized machining operations for military aircraft, an AS9100 machine shop has an advantage in obtaining an ITAR-registered status.

Manufactured and provided items covered under ITAR registry include:

  • Aircraft and their components
  • Ammunition
  • Artillery
  • Ballistic and guided missiles
  • Biological, chemical, and other toxicological agents with accompanying gear
  • Bombs, mines, and torpedoes
  • Classified equipment and technical data
  • Directed energy weapons (DEWs)
  • Equipment for fire control, guidance, imaging, and range finding
  • Explosives, incendiaries, propellants and constituent ingredients
  • Firearms
  • Gas turbine engines and constituent components
  • Military electronics
  • Miscellaneous military equipment and supplies
  • Naval surface vessels and equipment
  • Nuclear weapons and associated items
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Provision of technical data and other services for military
  • Rockets and other launch vehicles
  • Spacecraft and components
  • Submersible naval vessels and components
  • Tanks and other military vehicles, both armored and unarmored
  • Training equipment

Whether a contractor, distributor, third-party supplier, wholesaler, or other vendor for any of these items on the USML, ITAR compliance is necessary throughout the supply chain. Any business that manufactures, sells, or transports items on the USML must follow ITAR guidelines. As noted earlier, failure to comply may result in significant financial penalties or even prison time.

The Staub Difference: ITAR Compliance & AS9100 Standards

As an AS9100 machine shop, Staub Precision Machine Inc. is also involved in developing technology according to ITAR as a contract manufacturer for precision parts used by the aerospace and defense industries. Staub seeks to continually improve operational efficiency and production consistency while strengthening relationships with our customers. As a company, we seek not only to make parts that fall within acceptable tolerances and deliver these on schedule but also to exceed our customers’ expectations.

In accordance with AS9100 standards, Staub looks to: 

  • Adopt increasingly automated processes to augment consistency, including inspection processes that seek to improve accuracy.
  • Continually improve upon our processes while also addressing any production shortfalls.
  • Control, document, and isolate parts that vary from required tolerances and features.
  • Ensure traceability of materials throughout the production process.
  • Produce products for customers according to their requirements.

To learn more about Staub’s quality management system and other capabilities for serving the aerospace, defense, and other industries, contact our AS9100 machine shop today.