SAPA Falsifying Certs to NASA
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    Default SAPA Falsifying Certs to NASA

    I hafta think that this has been posted somewhere else before, but a search didn't produce anything.


    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/nasa-says-metals-fraud-caused-dollar700-million-satellite-failure/ar-AAAKT1w?li=BBnb7Kz


    Not noted in the artical - this would have been Alcoa at the time.


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    Shocking. Both because it actually happened, and also because it went on for so long.

    But I did have to laugh at this :-

    A spokesman for Norsk Hydro said the case has been settled. Last week, it said it has invested “significant time and resources to completely overhaul our quality and compliance organizations.”

    Perhaps they amended their QMS adding "falsification of records is not allowed"...

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    It seems like I had heard about this a while back (1 or 2 years?) but in that case it would have been an issue with aircraft?

    This may be the same thing, just the NASA part getting reported now?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    I hafta think that this has been posted somewhere else before, but a search didn't produce anything.
    I made a thread a year or more back on this issue. I got caught up in that- had to go through several years of certs on some helo parts I made. Some of the material went to the Utah plant and got the MTR's from there, so it wasn't limited to extruded products from Portland.

    They are still struggling to get their computers back up from the ransomware attack, and they are backlogged on everything. I machine a lot of extrusion from them, and I picked up one job that they would normally machine in house but they can't make the due date.

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    a 45 million fine and they still get to remain open for business

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    Not noted in the artical - this would have been Alcoa at the time. ?

    Do you mean that SAPA used to belong to Alcoa, and they sold it on to Norsk Hydro, possibly when this fraud came to someones notice? or is that just my suspicious mind?

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    Quote Originally Posted by solidworkscadman View Post
    a 45 million fine and they still get to remain open for business
    Not sure too many folks would want to work government contracts if it meant they could simply close your doors for screwing up. Yea this is more of a scandal rather than a mistake, but a repeating mistake in the testing process could have easily ended in the same result.

    That and how do they pay for the fine if they’re out of business? It’s a big pill to swallow and I doubt they’ll have any business from anyone after losing face. Still, if they can get through this, they’re probably doing something right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hermetic View Post
    Not noted in the artical - this would have been Alcoa at the time. ?

    Do you mean that SAPA used to belong to Alcoa, and they sold it on to Norsk Hydro, possibly when this fraud came to someones notice? or is that just my suspicious mind?
    Alcoa sold off all of their 6000 series (?) mills to SAPA about 10 years ago?

    I'm guessing the recent sale is doo to this issue?
    In this case - Norsk wasn't involved, just bought a company during litigation?


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    Quote Originally Posted by thunderskunk View Post
    Not sure too many folks would want to work government contracts if it meant they could simply close your doors for screwing up. Yea this is more of a scandal rather than a mistake, but a repeating mistake in the testing process could have easily ended in the same result.
    Supply bad parts to the "Big 3" and see if they can't get a federal judge to shut your operation down....

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    Criminal fraud. Norsk Hydro: $45 million. Taxpayers: $655 million.

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    Kobe steel was caught too a year or 2 ago, mostly material going to car manufacturers.

    I'm not one bit surprised that numbers get fudged. When they screw up a batch by a little bit you can pretty well bet someone somewhere buys it. I just can't picture them going " oh yeah we just rolled 40 tons of al or Steel out of spec, lets just remelt it and lose even more $$$$$. "
    If the primary buyer finds the problem and rejects it, it just goes to the next sucker down the line.

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    I find it relatively hard to believe that such a large company would do such a thing...

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    Quote Originally Posted by SND View Post
    Kobe steel was caught too a year or 2 ago, mostly material going to car manufacturers.

    I'm not one bit surprised that numbers get fudged. When they screw up a batch by a little bit you can pretty well bet someone somewhere buys it. I just can't picture them going " oh yeah we just rolled 40 tons of al or Steel out of spec, lets just remelt it and lose even more $$$$$. "
    If the primary buyer finds the problem and rejects it, it just goes to the next sucker down the line.
    There is a "seconds" market out there.


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    Quote Originally Posted by plastikdreams View Post
    I find it relatively hard to believe that such a large company would do such a thing...
    Apparently they did.

    There's a long history of large companies doing fraud. VW diesel, Trump U are other recent news.

    What makes it hard to believe for you?

    Not a rhetorical question, BTW, I'm curious.

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    All these companies need to watch it on their aluminum. I do not know if they have adopted it yet but there is technically not a grain size call out at least on 6061 Aluminum. This means many different grades can have large grains of concentrated silica. Yet they can say it is proven 6061 Tx. There was a huge rash of this for many years here from all the major suppliers (Earl Jorgenson..ect) over the last 15 years. In fact I remember hearing stories that the aluminum was eating carbide for breakfast. So when they say falsifying what did they falsify? Aluminum typically has quite a bit of imagination room even with paperwork

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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedie View Post
    ...So when they say falsifying what did they falsify? Aluminum typically has quite a bit of imagination room even with paperwork
    There were 2 issues, IIRC. Both were limited to the Portland plant.

    First was some material just didn't get tested at all. Some of this material was shipped to Utah. Certs were just made and attached to the material when it was sold.

    The second was material that was tested, but did not meet the tensile and yield specs. This was passed as being within spec.

    This dated back all the way to 2005, so there was a lot of affected material.

    As far as the article and NASA, I am curious how they attributed the failure to SAPA, since it happened in space- it's not like they had the failed part in their hands...

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    Quote Originally Posted by jancollc View Post
    As far as the article and NASA, I am curious how they attributed the failure to SAPA, since it happened in space- it's not like they had the failed part in their hands...
    In the small-scale satellite work I did, we'd frequently make "flight spares", parts identical to those which were used in construction of the sat but where kept for ground testing or just spares in case an assembly on the sat was damaged prior to flight. If that's the case, these can also be used for post-mortems if there was a problem during launch or afterwards.

    What concerns me is that NASA used to have the capacity for doing lab tests on incoming materials prior to acceptance and subsequent machining. It's a bit shocking that wasn't done, even if an independent lab had to be contracted for the work.

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    It could simply be a matter of "We know that there is an issue here. No need to look any further."

    ???


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    This is shocking that a outfit would not provide the correct material for NASA. It is not so easy to even get work from NASA and most who I know that did business with NASA were proud to make parts for them. So they jumped through all the hoops.

    It is a situation where a supplier seeks to defraud with a switch of the best and designated material. I suppose they also expended a bit of effort to not only have fraudulent stress testing (Blaming it on the employees) but also to provide phony certs.

    I thought that NASA has always been consistently involved and in such firm participation in this kind of thing that they would have monitored and inspected the shops processes and procedures just like a semi conductor company does with their manufacturing partners.

    I am a little surprised and yet so jaded the surprise does not last long.

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    I wonder if that was some of the aluminum I got. Fortunately I was making low stressed parts so strength was not an issue but the machinability was. This was round bar stock ranging from 1 1/2 to 4 3/4 diameter. There was a section on the piece that ran lengthwise about 1/5th of the area that gave a rougher finish and made a swishing sound as it passed the bit. Cutoff was difficult but not seriously so. There was some marking on the bars but not really legible. Some of the other pieces that were clearly marked Kaiser machined and cut off very cleanly.

    Bill


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