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The Common Denominator of Avalex Success: Our Quality Department

Collage of Avalex Technologies Quality Department team members at work

There is a reason that Avalex Technologies is set to receive the latest AS9100 certification for the seventh year in a row. This certification, a marker of a company’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards for products and services in the aviation, aerospace, and defense industries, is a commitment not easily achieved without rigorous effort. Avalex has not only been successfully achieving those standards, the company is working to raise the quality bar even higher, thanks to the diligent work of the Avalex Quality Department, now headed by long-time quality assurance expert and department manager, Robert Salinas.

Robert, a father of two adult daughters, joined the Avalex family in 2020, moving from Tennessee to Florida with his wife, bringing with him a few favorite things like the tools that fuel his personal passion for the culinary art of meat-smoking. (Yes, he made friends with the neighbors quickly!) He also brought with him an essential expertise. Formerly a semi-conductor engineer, responsible for failure analysis, his additional inspections and auditing work adds up to over 26 years of experience in the automotive, aerospace, and defense industries. From this experience, Robert learned to embrace a philosophy that now guides and improves the Avalex Quality Department, and ultimately the whole company. “Everybody works for Quality,” he says, when describing the group effort needed to achieve Quality goals, especially those in an industry where high-dollar technology projects are on the line, and more importantly, where lives are at stake.
Robert Salina, Avalex Quality Department Manager is standing in front of an Avalex Technologies sign.
Robert Salinas, Avalex Technologies Quality Department Manager
It’s a tall order due to the scope of Avalex’s offerings. The company designs and manufactures seven distinct avionic and electronic product lines that serve to enable communication, facilitate exploration, and protect platform operators who are themselves protecting others. Avalex designs, builds, and delivers these products individually and as specialized integrated mission systems, for both commercial and defense customers, on a global scale. To manage quality in this context, Robert and his team enlist the help of all personnel in all departments daily, which is long before specific certification auditing begins. It is the accumulated effort that matters, he says. “When everybody focuses on quality first, our goals will be easier to obtain. Skipped or incomplete steps result in preventable flaws that impact the final build of a product… Quality does not build it, but we ensure that it gets built correctly.”
 
The organizing of this larger, extremely important group effort is expertly handled by an experienced team, whose members skillfully multi-task to manage the standards of processes and practices across all disciplines, performing incoming and receiving, shipping in-process, and file inspections. In addition, this team hosts third-party auditors when on-site, like those reviewing for the AS9100 certification, a certification that is extremely important to Avalex. It evaluates companies based on a standard published by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) entitled Quality Systems Aerospace-Model for Quality Assurance in Design, Development, Production, Installation and Servicing, a standard which includes ASQ 9001:2000 requirements, with additional requirements specific to the aerospace industry.
 
Continuing to achieve AS9100 certification is necessary for Avalex to continue successfully serving its many commercial and defense customers without disruption, which has been a case of so far, so good, for Avalex. With the most recent certification, 3rd party auditors verified the following:
 
  • Appropriate compliance with applicable requirements of the AS9100 standard, consistent with identified scope
  • Effectiveness of the Avalex quality management system (QMS) and capability of this QMS to meet applicable requirements and expected outcomes
  • Effectiveness of Avalex’s approach to continual improvement with verifiable continual improvement (CI) activities
  • Effectiveness of internal audit and management review activities
  • Processes are in place to ensure conformity of a product and satisfaction of customer requirements
  • Compliance with requirements of the AS9100:2016 standard supports Avalex’s transition to Revision D and compliance with ISO9001:2015
 
With verification of these crucial criteria, Avalex’s standing as trusted experts in the aerospace industry remains intact. Keeping it that way is top on the Quality Department’s to-do list.
 
So, what’s next for Robert Salinas and his Quality team in 2021? “New and improved vendor audits, an internal audit training program, and a Process Failure Mode and Effects Analysis,” Robert says. It’s a New Year goal for which, in typical fashion, the Quality Department is well-prepared. These efforts to raise the Avalex quality bar even higher are either already successfully completed, or well underway.

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