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When is it appropriate to conditionally accept parts or components containing or produced from suspect or nonconforming rolled plate or forged bar?
The FAR 46.407 process must be followed when a contractor seeks to use or deliver items containing nonconforming or suspect titanium. As a general rule, DCMA does Not accept items manufactured from suspect or nonconforming titanium. DCMA’s internal tasking memorandum does Not authorize conditional acceptance. Authorization comes only in writing from the PCO and after FAR 46.407 analysis.
All items containing rolled plate or forged bar sourced to Western Titanium Inc. (WTI) or Mach 2 Metals Inc. (M2M) shall be subject to PCO authorization and use of the DD250 conditional acceptance note if the FAR 46.407 process results in a decision to accept rather than reject the items. This treatment is a result of WTI and M2M being indicted for substitution of billet for rolled plate and forged bar. If Other Suppliers are suspected or known to Not conform due to substitution of billet for rolled plate or forged bar, the same process shall be followed.
Where reasons other than substitution of billet cause Other Suppliers to be suspected or known to Not conform to rolled plate or forged bar specifications, the FAR 46.407 process shall be used to determine whether to accept or reject the items in question. If the FAR 46.407 process results in a decision to conditionally accept, the DD 250 note shall be used and, if required by FAR 46.407, PCO authorization shall be obtained.
How should a QAS and/or ACO respond to a contractor who seeks to use titanium sourced to Western Titanium, Inc. (WTI) or Mach 2 Metals, Inc. (M2M), or seeks to use other titanium of known or suspect nonconformance?
Each contractor is required to use only conforming metals and must take adequate steps to insure that titanium materials conform to contract specifications at the prime, subcontract and supplier levels. Contractors must take necessary steps to insure that rolled plate and forged bar titanium conforms to contract specifications. The indictment of WTI and M2M demonstrates that mere reliance on certificates of conformance from suppliers is Not sufficient. For example, the indictment reveals that cross section dimensions listed on material certificates and/or heat treatment certificates must be carefully examined and may reveal nonconformance. These dimensions can reveal that the material is billet rather than the required forged bar or rolled plate.
Beyond substitution of billet, contractors must recognize that cut-down forged bar may Not be substituted for rolled plate requirements.
The appropriate use of conditional acceptance is addressed in a separate FAQ. If the Government finds it necessary to accept an item containing rolled plate or forged bar sourced to WTI or M2M, then acceptance shall require PCO written authorization, shall be conditional, and shall contain the required DD250 note from the internal tasking memorandum regardless of the level of confidence or risk associated with acceptance.
Must a contractor determine titanium material requirements and conformance for Government Furnished Material or for items a contractor purchases or requisitions directly from Government entities?
No. The DCMA request for information (RFI) focuses on the prime contractor, its subcontract management and its supplier control. GFM and items purchased from Government entities are outside of the prime contractor's subcontract and supplier management responsibilities. If the prime contractor identifies these items in its report, it would be appropriate to list the Government entity as the “subcontractor” and the titanium supplier as “unknown.” If the Government wants the titanium in GFM or other Government source items traced, the Government will have to trace it directly through the original prime contractor that initially delivered the items to the Government.
How should information be reported?
Information on classified programs should be separately reported to the administrative contracting officer or technical point of contact for the classified program or contract in question.
May parts that have been beta-annealed after manufacturing be excluded from the reports?
No. The microstructure prior to heat treatment will have a significant influence on the post-beta heat treated material. If that microstructure is bad, we are not aware of any data that indicates the beta-annealed microstructures will be good. Additionally, where there is a lack of proper ultrasonic inspection of the substituted billet, there may be large defects in the material that would not be removed by beta heat treatment.
May commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) items be excluded from the information request?
No. If the COTS standard hardware items were acquired subject to one of the listed forged bar or rolled plate specifications, those COTS hardware items must be included in the response.
What is the definition for SOF item?
A safety of flight (SOF) item is one whose failure could cause loss of the aircraft or aircrew, or cause inadvertent store release. A loss could occur either immediately upon failure or subsequently if the failure remained undetected. We believe contractors normally identify SOF items as part of their production and quality process.
What is the definition for CSI?
Critical safety item (CSI) status is based on the actual designation of a particular part by the Engineering Support Activity (ESA) and is defined by Public Law 108-136, Section 802, and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) 209.270 as "a part, an assembly, installation equipment, launch equipment, recovery equipment, or support equipment for an aircraft or aviation weapon system if the part, assembly, or equipment contains a characteristic any failure, malfunction, or absence of which could cause-
Fracture critical and fatigue critical are called out for special emphasis, and are examples of specific characteristics that would cause an item to be considered CSI. We believe contractors normally identify CSI as part of their production and quality process.