Heat treatment is one of 13 special process and product programs operating within Nadcap. The heat-treatment program has seen significant growth since its launch. In fact, in the last 10 years, the number of audits conducted annually has grown by over 400% from 157 audits in 1996 to 645 audits in 2006. The heat-treatment program accounts for almost 18% of all Nadcap audits conducted in 2006 throughout the world. The first European heat-treatment audit was conducted in November 2002 in the U.K. and the first Asian heat-treatment audit took place in China in August 2004. Heat-treatment audits are now conducted in 35 countries by 31 contract auditors each year.

European auditor Martin Bridge explains: “I was attracted to Nadcap auditing because it allows me to control my working hours. The work is technically interesting and varied, and all the companies that I visit are different. I enjoy the opportunity to travel and improve my foreign language skills, although it’s also nice to be able to carry out audits closer to home.”

During a heat-treatment audit, the Nadcap auditor, who is on-site for an average of four days depending on the scope of the audit, conducts 10 job audits. The auditor will review two completed jobs all the way through, including test results and four in-process jobs that will be witnessed during the audit. A compliance job is a step-by-step review of processing on actual hardware. The auditor will also review all pyrometry records and procedures and, if possible, witness a temperature-uniformity survey or a systems-accuracy test.

Gregory Lobsoky, president of California-based Metallurgical Testing Corporation, states: “The Nadcap auditors who visited my facility are among the most competent I have seen. They were professional and objective.”

To ensure special process quality throughout the aerospace industry, subscribing primes are invited to pursue NUCAP (Nad-cap Users Compliance and Audit Program) approval to demonstrate their compliance. In 2006, Honeywell Aerospace, EADS CASA, Rolls-Royce Corporation and Alenia Aeronautica SpA underwent NUCAP heat-treatment audits. Jon Biddulph of Rolls-Royce plc and NUCAP chairperson explains: “NUCAP enables prime subscribers to demonstrate the same level of special process compliance expected from suppliers and subcontractors.”

Heat-treatment accreditation is currently mandated for suppliers based in the sectors indicated for the following major aerospace companies given in Table 1.

Development Opportunities

To complement the Nadcap program, PRI offers several development opportunities. These training courses take place worldwide in multiple languages, including English, French, Chinese and Japanese (Table 2).

Nadcap Customer Support Initiative - NCSI

NCSI is a free training program to aid suppliers with their pre-audit preparation and post-audit non-conformance resolution.

Data from 2006 shows that heat-treatment suppliers who attend this training incur half the number of nonconformities compared to heat-treatment suppliers that do not participate. Nigel Picken, manager of supplier quality and special processes for Rolls-Royce plc, states: “NCSI is an excellent training tool for new suppliers.”

Fig. 1. Cause analysis and mistake-proofing flowchart

Root Cause Corrective Action - RCCA

The Demming Study on Errors showed that 94% of errors are process-related, while only 6% are people-related. This seminar is based on the flow chart used by Nadcap and provides a method for participants to use to improve root-cause analysis and prevent the same mistakes from occurring again (Fig. 1).


The course is an interactive training that uses nonconformance examples and problem solving for students to develop skills to take back to their company. Participants will learn a systematic approach to effectively identify cause chains, mistake-proof the process and implement effective corrective actions to eliminate the sources of nonconformance (Table 3). The course is recommended for anyone who responds to or accepts corrective actions. Larry O’Dell of The Boeing Company advises: “One hour spent doing pre-audit preparation saves about five hours of work after the audit.”

On average, data has shown that course participants perform 30% better on their audits than those who do not participate. After participating in a RCCA course, suppliers close out their audits on average 25% faster than before they participated in this training.

Introduction to Pyrometry

The objectives of this training course are to ensure that participants gain a thorough understanding of how to implement the requirements of AMS2750D within their facilities. Topics include: temperature sensors, instrumentation, classification of furnaces, system accuracy tests and temperature uniformity tests.

Internal Auditing

Internal auditing is a new training class for 2007 that was created in response to feedback from other course participants. Attendees receive an overview of the audit process, learn how to select qualified internal auditors, practice interviewing techniques and develop an audit plan and checklist for their company. They also learn about internal-auditing requirements and how the results can improve their business.

Quality 101

Quality training for the non-quality engineer is an overview of quality terms for those new to the field. These include: What is an audit vs. a job audit?; What are nonconformances?; What are root causes?; and much more. This course aims to provide participants with a good understanding of why quality is important, the concepts of Total Quality Management (TQM) and process improvement, and the ability to understand and use quality tools. This course has been designed for new employees or any manufacturing personnel that requires a common competency or awareness of basic quality concepts. IH

For more information:
Regarding the Heat-Treatment Program, contact Laura Fisher, staff engineer, at fisher@sae.org. For details on any of the training sessions listed above, please contact Jennifer Gallagher, associate program developer, at jgall@sae.org. To find out more about Nadcap auditing, go to www.eAuditStaff.com or contact Wendy Grubbs, auditor staffing and training manager, at wendyg@sae.org

Additional related information may be found by searching for these (and other) key words/terms via BNP Media SEARCH at www.industrialheating.com: pyrometry, Nadcap, heat treatment audit temperature uniformity survey