The aerospace and defense industries must take steps to ensure that products meet stringent quality and safety requirements, but they also have an obligation to protect national security. Several aerospace and defense standards are in place to make sure the bar for quality is set high.
Manufacturers, as well as contract manufacturers, selling in the aerospace and defense (A&D) space, must be aware of how regulations and standards impact them. Violations can erode trust but also can bring stiff penalties. Meeting the regulations means a manufacturer is making a significant investment in the processes and controls needed for compliance. A company that has made this investment is committed to operational and manufacturing excellence and providing value to its customers.
Below we cover the basics of regulations and standards that impact A&D products and parts.
Empowering the Energy Sector: With extensive experience across the industry, Ensinger can help you find the right high-performance plastics in the energy sector to reach your goals.
Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR)
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates all aspects of civil aviation in the United States, including the design, production, and maintenance of aircraft and aircraft parts.
Manufacturers must comply with FAA regulations related to certification, quality control, and safety. For example, Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs), found at 14 CFR 25 and often called FAR 25, specify, among other things, flammability requirements for compartment interiors, which may include plastic seats, cabinets, storage compartments, decorative moldings, and food trays. The plastics chosen for items used in an aircraft must comply with federal aviation regulations.
International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)
ITAR is a set of regulations from the U.S. Department of State (DOS) that govern the export and import of defense-related articles and services that appear on the United States Munitions List. OEM manufacturers and contractors must comply with ITAR regulations to ensure that their products and technologies are not transferred to unauthorized parties. Any company that engages in ITAR-controlled work must go through ITAR registration, which means even companies that are only making a component of an ITAR classified article must register. Annually, the company registers or renews with the DOS Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) by filling out an application, explaining what types of defense activities it will be involved with and what its role will be, and paying a registration fee.
To remain compliant, it is essential that the company protect data, technical specifications, information, and products from foreign nationals. The company is responsible for how it will fulfill the requirements, including protecting electronic data.
Export Administration Regulations (EAR)
EAR is a parallel regulation to ITAR. It is a set of regulations that govern the export and re-export of commercial items, including certain dual-use items appearing on the Commercial Control List that has both civilian and military applications. Manufacturers must comply with EAR regulations to ensure their products are not exported to embargoed countries or used for unauthorized purposes. Items are given an Export Commerce Control Number (ECCN) that describes the item and indicates licensing requirements. All ECCNs are listed on the Commerce Control List (CCL)
Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations (DFAR)
DFAR is a set of regulations that govern the acquisition of goods and services by the Department of Defense (DOD). It is intended to protect from the vulnerability of being overly dependent on foreign sources. Manufacturers that have government or defense-related contracts must comply with DFAR regulations to ensure that their products meet the specific requirements and standards of the Department of Defense. While DFAR regulations do not specifically address plastic resins, projects that fall under DFAR regulations may be required to use specific materials and components that meet certain quality and performance standards, such as durability and temperature resistance.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Standards
NIST provides standards and guidelines related to measuring, testing, and certifying products. It also develops cybersecurity standards, guidelines, best practices, and other resources that many companies and government agencies use. One of the standards, NIST SP 800-53, provides guidelines for information security and is used by federal agencies, including those involved in aerospace and defense, to establish and maintain effective security controls for their systems and applications. Many companies that manage ITAR-regulated materials and data follow this standard to show compliance.
Most companies are familiar with ISO 9001 certification. AS9100 is a quality management standard developed specifically for the aviation, space, and defense (ASD) sector. It is based on ISO 9001 and applies to the design, development, production, installation, and servicing of aerospace products.
In addition to the ISO 9001 requirements, AS9100 rev D (AS9100D) has 105 additional requirements specific to the ASD sector related to production control, planning for product realization, design and development, purchasing non-conforming processes, product safety, human factors, preventative action, counterfeit parts, and risks. By achieving AS9100D certification, a company demonstrates that it has a robust quality management system in place and meets the aerospace industry’s requirements.
Injection Molding Tolerances: Accounting for injection molding tolerances, and what affects them, is vitally important in parts design and manufacturing.
A Trusted Partner For Meeting Aerospace And Defense Standards
When you need to make your A&D precision plastic component a reality, Ensinger will meet all requirements and provide a competitive advantage by being your single source for taking your part from a concept to first-off prototypes to full-volume production.
Our AS9100D certification, ITAR registration, ISO 9001:2015 certification, and NIST 800-53 compliance demonstrates our commitment to quality, safety, and security. This means you can trust us to deliver high-quality, reliable, and secure products that meet your exact specifications — and reach or exceed the aerospace and defense standards in place.