What is Initial samples?

Initial samples are products that have been manufactured completely using series production equipment and under series conditions or in large quantities over a longer period of time (more than 3 months) and with a stable production process. These correspond in terms of dimensions to the subsequent series production, materials, material properties and characteristics.

The first essential feature of initial sampling is the initial production of the goods to be sampled under realistic serial production conditions.

The second important feature of the initial sample inspection is the subsequent testing of the first sample thus produced with regard to the technical and non-technical properties of the product required and agreed by the customer.

There are definitions that assume that the initial sample inspection is only performed on the basis of a quality assurance contract. This may not always be the case, as the obligation to perform the initial sample inspection may also be part of another contractual agreement (e.g., sales) agreement, supply agreement, master supply agreement, or confidentiality agreement.

IATF 16949 defines the requirements for initial sampling according to the Production Part Approval Process (PPAP), as outlined in the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) Reference Manual.

Therefore, initial samples (approvals) are carried out according to PPAP or the production process and product release (PPF) according to VDA Volume 2. However, in the foreword to Volume 2, there is a note from the automotive industry (VDA) that the requirements of PPAP have been taken into account. The PPAP Reference Manual contains the requirements, while VDA Volume 2 defines the PPF guidelines according to certain principles that describe how to handle the new parts.

In general, it must be proven that the supplier has understood the requirements and performed quality planning and is also capable of meeting customer expectations under standard conditions.

The application of the PPAP / PPF process is relatively complex, as the submission stages must be defined, recorded and recorded in specific PPAP / PPF documents in accordance with customer requirements when receiving parts for production.

At the end of the 1990s, special interpretations and interpretations of the International Automotive Sector Group (IASG) were created for the PPAP process, as well as for QS 9000. The reason for this was the reporting that is part of the PPAP/PPF process, the verification and the possible stumbling blocks associated with it.

Approval procedures according to VDA 2 (PPF) or AIAG (PPAP) include both product and process approval.

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