PPF procedure

Production process and product release according to VDA Volume 2 (6th edition | 2020)

Glossary article


Production process and product release, or PPF for short, according to VDA Volume 2 (VDA = German Association of the Automotive Industry), is a procedure from the German automotive industry for sampling series parts before the start of series production. Since quality comes first, the procedure is intended to ensure that the series parts meet the customer's requirements.

Up to date
Our contribution to the PPF process is based on the latest VDA specifications: VDA Volume 2 (6th edition | 2020). Find out what has changed in the 6th edition in our article: What is new in VDA Volume 2: 2020?

Graph: Product creation

PPF procedure according to VDA Volume 2

The automotive industry is undergoing constant change. Increased collaboration along supply chains, shorter development times, increased product diversity and complexity require strong alignment between customer and organisation.

To meet the customer's requirements, the entire process during the PPF procedure is documented in a standardised record keeping system. The record keeping shall ensure that the organisation fulfils the delivery to the customer on time, in the agreed quantity, quality and through a specific production process.

What is PPF

1.1 Production Process and Product Release (PPF) Procedure

The PPF procedure is understood to be the release of the production processes and the products.

PPF samples" are used for the PPF process. These are products that are completely mass-produced under series conditions as part of the PPF process. "Other samples", on the other hand, are not part of the PPF process. These samples do not correspond to production with series-production equipment under series-production conditions. In order to comply with the requirements for the product and production process, the organisation is responsible for carrying out the PPF procedure. The organisation is also responsible for arranging delivery release to its suppliers.

The scope of the PPF documentation shall be agreed between the organisation and the client.
Outsourced processes and externally performed services are approved by the organisation responsible for manufacturing the products. The results of the production process and product release of the supply chain are part of the PPF procedure. For this purpose, the results of the release procedures of other associations (such as AIAG PPAP) can also be used.

PPF procedure-according to VDA tape-2

1.2 Aim of the PPF procedure

The aim of the PPF procedure is to provide evidence that meets the requirements of the product and the production process. In this way, documentation is created for the quality assurance of production processes and products under series conditions. Requirements could refer to laws, authorities, approvals, generally applicable standards, customer requirements, technical specifications or even contractual agreements.

Release means the evaluation of the production process and the product based on the PPF documents, requirements and samples. This ensures that the organisation can guarantee the requirements for the delivery of products that meet the specifications.

The customer gives the delivery release on the basis of his evaluation. Should the customer choose not to record its PPF process, the organisation is still obliged to record evidence that meets the production process and product requirements.

The scope of application of the PPF procedure refers to finished, substitute and raw products, manufacturing materials and software. If external services and outsourced processes are not released independently via a PPF process, the release is carried out in a higher-level PPF process.

Unless otherwise agreed between the organisation and the customer, standardised products are not subject to their own PPF procedure. Thus, the release of these products is done via a PPF procedure for higher-level products. Standardised products with modified specifications shall comply with the PPF procedure.

Capital goods such as production systems and process materials are excluded from the PPF process.

The triggers of the PPF process are new parts, modifications, reuse and customer-dependent requirements.

New componentsInitiatorPossible initiator
ChangesInitiator for renewals that he himself desiresInitiator according to the trigger matrix or customer agreement
ReuseInitiator according to the trigger matrix or customer agreement
Customer-dependent requirementsPossible initiator (agreement so concluded)Possible initiator (agreement so concluded)

An internal PPF procedure is always carried out by the organisation. Annex 8 of VDA Volume 2 or the customer-specific requirements define the initiation towards the customer.

The "Change Assesment Matrix" in "Guideline for Customer Notifications of Product and/ or Process Changes (PCN) of Electronic Components for Automovie Market", on the other hand, regulates the triggering of the PPF procedure for electronic components. This is available on the ZVEI website.

The triggers of the PPF process can be new parts, changes, reuses or customer-dependent requirements. Depending on the trigger, the coordination for the PPF procedure is initiated by the customer or the organisation. Thus, an internal PPF procedure is carried out independently of the PPF procedure for the customer. 

The external process is about the implementation and documentation of the PPF procedure. According to the agreement on the PPF procedure, all PPF samples and documentation are handed over to the customer. After the handover, the customer makes a decision that depends on the factors product, production process, general evidence and software. This decision is then communicated with the organisation. If there is a delivery release, the process is considered completed. 

If there is no delivery release, action must be taken and the PPF procedure must be adapted or carried out again.

The organisation and the customer must agree on the scope, content and procedure of the PPF procedure. Annex 2 "Agreement on the PPF procedure" of the VDA volume should serve as a recommendation for the content of the agreement:

  • Input requirements such as approved specifications, specification sheet, drawings, standards, packaging instructions, revision status, colour sample table
  • Date and schedule
  • Number of sample and delivery products
  • Customer approval area
  • Place of delivery of the PPF samples
  • Scope of the product
  • Evidence for the software
  • Use of risers
  • Measurement / test method, measurement adjustment
  • Characteristics of the products and processes for capability studies
  • Implementation of the PPA procedure, if necessary, jointly at the production site
  • Definition of the process performance test / validation (including batch size) - chapter 6.1.2.
  • Documentation requirements
  • Behaviour in the event of deviations
  • Requalification exams
  • Analysis process for defective parts
  • Processing of complaints.

The result of the vote must also be documented. In addition, Annex 2 can be used as a sample form for voting on the PPF procedure.

With regard to the scope of PPF, if agreed on a customer-specific basis, the application of the VDA volume "Schadteilanalyse Feld" should be shown in a suitable form. The details must be specifically defined by the customer, for example as part of the agreement on the PPF procedure. If the same product is manufactured at different production sites, different production facilities and / or different manufacturing processes, the PPF procedure must be carried out separately. The corresponding information must be specified in the PPF document.

Upon completion of an agreement, the organisation may grant customers access to all necessary product-specific test facilities for cross-checking. For new parts, agreement on the PPF procedure must be implemented in accordance with the VDA Volume "Maturity assurance for new parts". The basic prerequisite for the successful implementation of the PPF procedure is proof of the performance of the production process under a number of conditions.

The Static Process Capability Review shall be performed against agreed product and process characteristics. If the PPF process is repeated by renewals, reuse or additions to the product family, reference may be made to the previous PPF documents whose content has not been changed.

In addition to the PPF procedure for the customer, an internal PPF procedure is carried out and documented by the organisation. For this purpose, the table from Appendix 1 of the VDA volume "Notes on PPF verification" is used to provide the evidence in accordance with the requirements. As proof to the customer that the requirements have been met, the agreed documents are to be submitted in accordance with the agreement of the PPF procedure.

The organisation uses production samples to demonstrate that the requirements of the specifications have been met. To ensure the correct classification of the measured values, the sample parts shall be clearly marked. The cavity shall be indicated for equipment, fixtures and multiple moulds. The organisation and the customer coordinate the schedule and participate in the planned production process acceptance.

6.1 Production process release

The organisation must demonstrate process quality and process performance in order to approve the production process. The following requirements should be met (see also VDA volume: "Robust Production Process (RPP)"):

  • Agreement and approval of the product specifications
  • Availability of the delivery release in the supply chain (PPF status "customer ready", see chapter 6.4)
  • Production according to the PPF process area takes place under a number of conditions. This includes:
    • Production site & facilities
    • Use of the series tools
    • Compliance with logistics processes
    • Qualified staff
    • Required output
    • Planned process flow.

An agreement regarding evidence of duration and content of process quality and process performance/performance testing shall be agreed between the client and the organisation. The production process acceptance by the organisation is carried out taking into account the agreed content. On the part of the customer it is determined whether he accompanies the acceptance of the production process and evaluates it together with the organisation. If this is the case, it is recommended that the organisation carries out an internal acceptance before carrying out the production process acceptance with the customer.

The customer is qualified to combine the acceptance of the production process with the execution of the PPF procedure on site. In the case of a change or transfer to a product or production process, the impact on the production process and performance is assessed by the organisation. In addition, a production process acceptance is carried out.

Note: For changes that need to be approved according to the trigger matrix (Appendix 8 in VDA Volume 2), the organisation and the customer decide whether a new approval is required for the joint production process.

6.1.1 Process quality

On the occasion of the release procedure, the quality capability of the entire production process must be proven under series conditions. Examples of assurance can be poke yoke, 100% testing, process capability or first-last-part release.

In the PPF procedure, the evidence for the special and other agreed characteristics shall be documented. Test methods and capability indices for characteristics where evidence of process capability is agreed between organisation and customer shall also be agreed. If nothing is agreed between customer and organisation, the requirements of ISO 22514 and its successor standards shall apply.

Note: The long-term capability verifications are not part of the PPF procedure to the customer, but are to be carried out by the organisation.

6.1.2 Process performance/ performance test

The proof is to be produced for the customer with means used, the agreed quantity, on time and according to specification as a result of the performance test.

When defining the framework conditions for process validation, the following aspects, among others, must be taken into account:

  • Duration and/or quantity of production
  • Variants (if available or relevant)
  • Production concept (shift method, break times, shift changes)
  • Set-up and maintenance times/shifts
  • Mould concept (e.g. single/multiple moulds)
  • Number of production lines
  • Scrap rate
  • Emergency concept

6.2 Product release

The organisation is responsible for demonstrating that the product requirements defined in the technical specifications are met. The release of the product depends on the release of the PPF samples and the proof of product development and product verification (Annex 1 of the VDA volume). PPF samples are obtained from the production process under series conditions.

6.3 PPF documentation and procedure in case of deviations

A completed PPF documentation shall be completed by the organisation in accordance with the approved technical specifications, which shall include evidence of all specific characteristics. The measurements and tests carried out on the product shall be visible.

According to the PPF procedure, all contents specified by the customer shall be submitted to the customer. The documents specified in Annex 1 of the VDA volume serve as a minimum scope. The test results are documented according to the requirements of the customer similar to the forms in Annex 4 or like the customer requirements. The type of transmissions shall be communicated by the organisation and the customer.

In case of deviations, the organisation is obliged to make an appropriate written agreement with the customer in advance and to package the document with the PPF document. If it has been agreed to eliminate deviations, an action plan must be attached.
Should no agreement on the procedure be reached at the time of the deviation, the products may not be delivered.

6.4 Customer decision on the PPF procedure

The organisation sends the customer the PPF documents and, if applicable, PPF samples agreed in accordance with the PPF procedure agreement. The customer evaluates the transmitted or presented documents and, if necessary, carries out cross-checks on the PPF samples. The results are documented by the customer and evaluated for delivery approval as follows. If no decision is received from the customer, the PPF process is not completed. The organisation shall not deliver any products.

Based on the joint agreement on the PPF procedure, the customer receives the agreed PPF documents from the organisation and, if regulated in the agreement, the PPF samples. The customer then evaluates the submitted documents and reviews them if necessary. The customer evaluates the submitted or presented documents and checks the PPF samples if required. The customer records the results and evaluates the delivery approval. The PPF process is considered not completed if the customer does not make a decision. Furthermore, the delivery of products is not approved on the part of the organisation.


Serial delivery of the products by the organisation is approved if:

  • All requirements of the customer are met
  • deviations are approved by the client after a risk analysis. A further deviation approval is not necessary.
    ⇨ Thus, the PPF procedure to the client is considered completed.
  • The customer's requirements are not met. Deviations are approved by the customer for a certain period and scope after a risk analysis. A further deviation approval is only necessary if not otherwise agreed.
    The changes are documented and the renewed PPF documentation is submitted.

Serial delivery of the products by the organisation is not approved if:

  • Does not meet the legal requirements
  • Cannot meet customer requirements
  • No approval of the granting of a deviation permit
    ⇨ The PPF procedure must be carried out again.

The degree of fulfilment of the verifications in Table 1 from Appendix 1 of the VDA Volume depends on whether the requirements are fulfilled or not.

The consolidation of the individual ratings is done via the categories product/ production process/ general/ software. The final result is influenced by the worst individual assessment. If the requirements are met, the evidence of the category provided is documented as completed. In case of non-compliance, a risk assessment and corrective actions are planned and initiated.

The proposal on the part of the organisation for the overall result depending on the category and risk assessment carried out: If suitable for customers and series production, the PPF procedure shall be completed to the customer. In addition, the customer receives the current version of the PPF document. If it is unsuitable for the customer and series production, a new PPF procedure is implemented for the customer.

Organisation and client

It is the duty of the organisation to present the evidence according to the agreement and to coordinate deviations and improvements with the client. The risk assessment and definition of measures are carried out jointly by the organisation.

Acceptance of deviations: If there is no adjustment of the specifications in the preceding customer documents (e.g. specifications, drawing), deviations and new limit values can also be validated by the customer in the PPF documentation. The customer's approval is necessary if there are customer-relevant deviations in the PPF process within the organisation and the supplier that are relevant to the interface.


The client makes his choice depending on the risk assessment and communicates with the organisation.

  • The PPF procedure to the client is finished
  • The latest status is available to the customer
  • Implementation of a new PPF procedure.

7.1 Staged PPF procedure

The PPF process can also be carried out in stages. For example, the material approvals (including all weather resistance tests) and the dimensional inspection approval are carried out separately. Details will be agreed when the PPF procedure is agreed.

If the production process conditions and product attributes have not changed, reference can be made to the results of the previous stage.

7.2 PPF procedure for the release of variants

If there are several product variants, these may be released in a PPF procedure. Details shall be agreed upon during the coordination of the PPF procedure. These include:

  • Bumpers, trim strips, centre consoles in different colour versions or surfaces
  • Cable sets in different lengths and with different connections
  • Seats, door trims in different trim versions
  • Assembly with different material options
  • Variants of software.

Variants can be used to prove that the characteristic requirements, which are independent of the variant, have been fulfilled. All variants are affected by this proof.
If the product or production process has no common basis, the release of variants does not apply.
The variant release can also be carried out in stages.

7.3 Small series

A characteristic of small batches is that the production and safeguarding process agreed with the customer is tailored to a reduced production volume and no statistical evaluation can be carried out. If, due to the agreed number of pieces, the process capability of the agreed characteristics cannot be proven, the production process is safeguarded by 100% -ing the agreed characteristics.

The customer and the organisation agree on the requirements for the PPF process for small series. There is the possibility of deviation from the standard specifications. The scope of the release should be considered qualitatively, quantitatively and risk-oriented.

Note: It is not only the production quantity that gives rejects on the definition of the term small series.

Information on the retention period of documents and reference samples can be found in VDA Volume 1 "Document Information and Storage" and IATF 16949, unless otherwise agreed with the customer. In principle, the retention period applies at least to legal requirements.

Product components will be noted in the material data sheet. Collection and transmission of material data will take place along the supply chain. An electronic documentation and reporting function for the ingredients is provided by the International Material Data System (IMDS).

The mandatory and detailed requirements are defined in the currently valid IMDS recommendations and can be used by IMDS users. The IMDS data of the release criteria are set to correspond to the standard at the time of the last customer release in the PPF procedure, unless the composition is no longer permissible under applicable law. If necessary, formal deviations shall be agreed between the organisation and the customer.

As proof of the material data declaration by IMDS, the PPF procedure needs the IMBS ID No. need. For each PPF procedure where part numbers are changed, a new material data sheet must be sent (see VDA 231-200).

An alternative procedure must be agreed between the organisation and the customer if an IMDS data set cannot be created due to certain exceptional circumstances. If there are other country-specific rules and requirements for ingredient information, these must be followed.

Note: Prohibited and declarable pure substances with corresponding declaration limits can be called up in the "Global Automotive Declarable Substance List (GADSL)".

The organisation must demonstrate that all requirements on the PPF are met before production starts.

To ensure that these requirements are met during series production, constant repeat tests are necessary. In this context, it is permissible to form product families. In addition, the frequency, type and scope must be communicated between the customer and the organisation and documented in the agreement on the PPF procedure.

If deviations are noticed during the requalification, this will be indicated to the customer.

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