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Quality Certifications for Manufacturing: AS9100 vs. ISO 9001

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    What do you need to know when you are trusting a business to do something for you? Among a few other things, one of the most important factors is quality. And how do you know whether a business delivers high-quality products or services? Quality certifications.

    There aren’t certifications for every industry, of course. When you’re talking about manufacturing, though, there isn’t just one certification to look for — there are several. AS9100 and ISO 9001 are two of the most important quality certifications to look for in a good manufacturing partner.

    In this post, we discuss what these certifications mean and how they’re different, as well as how they guide every aspect of the manufacturing work Modus Advanced does for its partnership accounts, and all customers that work with us. Read on to learn more.

    At Modus Advanced, we’re proud to be both AS9100 and ISO 9001 certified, and we take great care to maintain the quality standards those certifications prove we have. Looking for high-quality manufacturing you can count on? Contact us.

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    Understanding Quality Certifications for Manufacturing

    AS9100 and ISO 9001 are two of the most important certifications to look for as you consider any manufacturing partner. The best manufacturing companies take these certifications seriously, and if they have worked hard enough to get them, they will work hard enough for you to keep them.

    Here’s what you need to know about these two certifications:

    ISO 9001

    Any business in any industry can — and probably should — seek ISO 9001 certification. Why? Because the entire standard, defined by the International Standards Organization (ISO), is about ensuring consistently high levels of quality for products and services. 

    In manufacturing, ISO 9001 sets the standard for a quality management system (QMS). The QMS is focused on satisfying customers, optimizing processes for efficiency and precision and motivating and engaging employees at all levels. The end result is a focus on both quality assurance and quality control systems.

    To become ISO 9001 certified, a manufacturer has to pass an in-depth audit. And it has to do so every three years to remain certified. 


    AS9100 takes all of the requirements of ISO 9001 and adds to them to make them more applicable to the unique requirements of the aerospace and defense industries. While not as widely applicable across industries as ISO 9001, AS9100 is the gold standard of quality manufacturing certifications in the aerospace industry.

    Like ISO 9001, AS9100 sets up the standards for a QMS and requires a rigorous and long-term auditing process for this quality certification. This certification must be renewed every three years via the audit process.

    Key Differences Between ISO 9001 and AS9100 Manufacturing Certifications 

    Apart from AS9100’s focus on the aerospace industry, the requirements and focus areas of AS9100 and ISO 9001 are largely similar. However, there are a few key differences to pay attention to. 

    Risk Reduction

    Because quality management systems can become a literal life and death concern in aerospace manufacturing, one of the most important components of AS9100 is reducing the ability of manufacturers to introduce risk as they produce parts for the aerospace and defense industries. 

    The basic risk identification procedures called for in ISO 9001 remain the same, but AS9100 adds to them. For example, AS9100 calls for the responsibilities associated with risk management during manufacturing to be assigned to a specific employee or department.

    Information Verification and Counterfeit Parts

    Another primary addition of AS9100 is required inspection and testing to account for risk factors inherent to the aerospace industry, such as counterfeit parts. While ISO 9001 calls for test reports and similar quality information from external providers of components, AS9100 requires manufacturers to actually verify that information through their own testing, inspection and audits.

    Quality of Production Equipment

    Where ISO 9001 remains more general about the storage and inspection of equipment used to manufacture various parts, AS9100 gets extremely specific. Under AS9100, everything used in the production process, from automated machinery on the production floor to the software that controls these devices, has to have defined storage protocols, as well as a hard schedule for maintenance and inspection.


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    Why ISO 9001 Alone Isn’t Enough

    If ISO 9001 sets the basic QMS standards and AS9100 adds to them to make them specific to aerospace and defense, why should a manufacturer have both?

    The answer is simple. Any manufacturer that produces parts for aircraft, satellites or similar items MUST have AS9100. Without it, they’re like a doctor with no medical license or a trucker with no commercial driver’s license. They might know the basics of how to do the job, but they clearly don’t have the skills and dedication necessary to satisfy the high standards of the industry they are in.

    That’s why Modus Advanced has worked hard to maintain both certifications. Our goal is to deliver the highest quality in manufacturing, from aerospace and defense, and provide peace of mind to companies in every other industry that we maintain the highest of quality standards.

    Modus Advanced: Certified Quality in Manufacturing

    At Modus Advanced, our manufacturing services are certifiably high-quality. We worked hard to earn the most important quality manufacturing certification, and we apply the principles of these certifications to everything we do.

    That’s how you know working with us is the right choice. Partner with Modus to make your design real without hassles, mistakes or delays. To get started, contact us online or give us a call at 925-960-8700.


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