Keighley Laboratories Achieves Nadcap Merit Accreditation

Our Technical Services division here at Keighley Laboratories has achieved world-classKeighley Laboratories microscope room Nadcap accreditation for our Materials Testing Laboratory (MTL), a status recognised by the majority of global aerospace primes as a mark of quality assurance excellence. We also gained coveted Merit status, which rewards superior performance in Nadcap audits and reduces subsequent audit frequency. Accreditation has also prompted affirmation and prolongation of our Airbus approval, the aircraft manufacturer having adopted the Nadcap programme for its global supply chain.

As one of the few Nadcap accredited MTL facilities in the UK, we have been successfully assessed for the evaluation of aerospace welds, tensile, impact and bend testing, metallographic and micro indentation hardness procedures, and specimen preparation and machining. Combined with UKAS accredited testing and certification to many international standards and Civil Aviation Authority approval of in-house weld specimen supervisors, this confirms our company as a centre of excellence for weld testing, at a time when there is a Europe-wide shortage of the necessary expertise.

“Achieving Nadcap accreditation is not easy; it is one of the ways in which the aerospace industry identifies those who excel in superior special processes. Companies such as Keighley Laboratories go above and beyond achieving Nadcap accreditation, to obtain Merit status, and they should be justifiably proud of that,” says Joe Pinto, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Performance Review Institute, which administers the Nadcap programme. “We are determined to support continual improvement in the aerospace industry, by helping companies such as Keighley Labs become even more successful.”

Established in 1990 by key aerospace industry and US government representatives, Nadcap represents a concerted, cooperative effort to improve quality, while reducing costs, throughout the global aircraft and defence sectors. It defines a standardised approach to quality assurance and establishes requirements for accreditation, improving performance throughout the supply chain, employing expert auditors to ensure familiarity with special processes and conducting technically superior in-depth quality audits. With most aerospace prime contractors and secondary tier suppliers now adhering to Nadcap, accreditation is vital for securing subcontracting opportunities in this sector, as well as in quality-minded markets like nuclear, marine, defence and rail, with newly-accredited companies typically reporting an upturn in sales and new business.

“This is an important breakthrough for the company, since it raises our profile and reputation within the aerospace industry and enables us to obtain greater recognition for our expertise in weld and materials testing,” says Keighley Labs’ MD, Debbie Mellor “It helps us to retain existing customers within the Northwest Aerospace Alliance and beyond, establishes our technical credentials for fresh market opportunities in other industries and paves the way for further export business in weld testing and other special processes.”

The application, which was supported by numerous key aerospace customers and Airbus itself, involved Divisional Technical Services Director, Matthew Mellor, Senior Metallurgist, Peter Hanson, and Quality Manager, Tim Clegg, in a thoroughly intensive programme.

Although modern composites are increasingly used in aviation, metal is still the most prevalent aircraft construction material, including but not limited to steel, aluminium, stainless steel, nickel and titanium alloys.Our company’s in-depth weld assessment and inspection expertise, across all metallic materials and current manual and automatic welding methods, ensuring that welded joints will comply with the highest aerospace and equivalent specifications.

We as a company already has quite a number of aviation primes and tier 1, 2 and 3 supply companies amongst our customer base, as well as overseas defence and aerospace suppliers, and we are confident of using Nadcap Merit status to leverage extra domestic and export business.