SAE Standards Development

AS6500 Compliance Increasing

David Karr SAE International standard AS6500–Manufacturing Management Program is gaining momentum in the aerospace industry, as a number of aerospace suppliers are reviewing their manufacturing processes to be compliant with the standard.

Published in 2014 by the G-23 Manufacturing Management Committee, AS6500 was created to implement manufacturing practices aimed at promoting the timely development, production, modification, fielding, and sustainment of affordable and capable products by addressing manufacturing issues throughout the program life cycle.

The recent increase in implementation of AS6500 has been driven by U.S. Air Force requirements that mandate that contractors on ACAT I programs implement manufacturing management systems that comply with AS6500. The standard is also highly recommended on other Air Force programs that have manufacturing content.

David M. Karr (shown), Technical Advisor for Manufacturing and Quality, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, who is Chair of the SAE G-23 Manufacturing Management Committee, said that the use of AS6500 has increased exponentially in 2017. The Air Force requirements have spurred companies—such as Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Pratt & Whitney, GE Engines, and L3—to comply with the standard.

"It's been a snowball effect," Karr said. "Companies are mapping it to their existing processes to show that they are compliant with AS6500, and where there are gaps, they are filling those gaps. These companies are saying that AS6500 improves their existing processes to ensure they are following the latest best practices, and that it helps manufacturing engineering get a seat at the design table."

The standard also provides common definitions for 36 manufacturing-related terms. These definitions represent consensus agreements between government and industry, and ensure consistency among programs, services, and companies.