NADCAP is an acronym for the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program.  This accreditation is focused on setting quality standards for special processes like plating, heat treating and coatings.  This accreditation is intended for organizations doing business in the aerospace industry, where there is an extreme focus on product quality, reliability and safety.  NADCAP provides international, unbiased, independent manufacturing process and product assessments and certification services for the purpose of adding value, reducing total cost and facilitating relationships between primes and suppliers.”


The NADCAP program is overseen by the Performance Review Institute (PRI) of SAE International (Society of Automotive Engineers).  An organization that is applying for NADCAP Accreditation must first have a QMS (Quality Management System) in place.  An auditor from the PRI will review the organization’s processes to ensure compliance with the NADCAP standards.  Any non-conformances would need to be resolved before accreditation is approved.

Before the NADCAP program came into existence, aerospace OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) audited each supplier on their own.  This NADCAP program was created to reduce this duplication of effort (and costs).  The program came into existence in 1990.  Industry Prime Contractors, and suppliers are members of NADCAP Management Council and manage the program with the PRI.  Within the Management Council, there are Task Groups for each type of critical process or system audited by NADCAP.  They review audit requirements, develop documents and training, accept corrective actions, and make final decisions on accreditation.

Processes that can obtain NADCAP accreditation:

  1. Chemical Processing: plating, anodizing, conversion/phosphate coatings, paint, dry film lubricants, etching
  2. Coatings Thermal spray, vapor deposition, cementation, stripping, plating of coated parts
  3. Heat Treating: stress relieving, annealing, carburizing, nitriding, carbonitriding, ferritic nitrocarburizing, ion nitriding, vacuum heat treating, vacuum oil quenching, hardening, induction hardening, furnace brazing, dip brazing, induction brazing, vacuum furnace brazing, flame hardening, cryogenic treatments, hot forming/hot sizing, die quenching, hipping
  4. Forging
  5. Materials Testing
  6. Measurement and Inspection
  7. Conventional Machining (manual machining)
  8. Composites
  9. Welding

Products that can obtain NADAP accreditation:

  1. Aero Structure Assembly
  2. Elastomer Seals
  3. Electronics
  4. Fluid Distribution Systems

Difference between NADCAP accreditation and AS9100 certification:

AS9100 covers all companies serving the aerospace industry, but NADCAP only applies to companies that perform the specific processes, or make the specific products listed above.

How NADCAP applies to precision machine shops like Pioneer Service:

Pioneer Service is AS9100D certified which provides us with the accreditation we need to produce parts for companies in the aerospace industry. However, some projects will specify that we use NADCAP certified vendors for any finishing services used on the project.  When that requirement arises, we will work with a set of approved vendors in our database for heat treating, plating, coatings, some test and measurement requirements and some specific chemical processing requirements.

If your company is looking for a precision turning company to produce your components that require NADCAP certified finishing services, please contact Pioneer Service today.  Our engineering team will review your prints, provide a quotation with lead times, and answer any questions you have about our capabilities and company.

To learn more about the types of Finishing Services that Pioneer Service can provide, please see our Finishing Services information.