A discussion on the importance of ITAR registration


Whether it is distributing M16 rifles for military operatives or manufacturing landing gear components for AC-130J gunships, facilities that deal with USML Defense Articles in the United States must be compliant with and registered under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). 


ITAR regulates the production, sale and transport of munitions categorized under the United States Munitions List (USML).  There are 21 groupings in the USML Defense Articles including:  spacecraft, aircraft, rockets and missiles, weapons, nuclear munitions as well as technology and data.  Precision machined parts for sensitive aerospace and defense programs fall within this list of regulated items.


At AIP, we not only guarantee a quality assurance program, we are ITAR certified and registered in order to assure protection of vital United States technology assets.  Our certifications also include ISO 13485:2016 certified, AS9100D:2016 certified and FDA registered.  For the past 37 years, we have worked with leading aerospace and defense engineers and contractors to machine components for the aerospace and defense sectors.  We understand the value and necessity of being ITAR certified and registered to these customers and our country.


In this issue of our monthly blog, we discuss what it means to be ITAR certified and how it emphasizes our commitment to excellence.


Why should a plastics machining facility be ITAR certified? 


The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is the United States regulation that controls the manufacture, sale, and distribution of defense and space-related articles and services as defined in the United States Munitions List (USML).


Besides rocket launchers, torpedoes, and other military hardware, the list also restricts the plans, diagrams, photos, and other documentation used to build ITAR-controlled military gear. This is referred to by ITAR as “technical data”.  Under ITAR, access to physical materials and technical data related to defense and military technologies is restricted to US citizens.  


Annual Fee and Registration

The ITAR certification incurs an annual registration fee of $2,250.00 along with an application.  All companies required to register must document and keep records of their ITAR related activities and make them available for inspection upon request from DDTC.  Additionally, ITAR registered companies are required to have a formal technology control plan (TCP).


Infractions and Penalties

The basic premise of ITAR is to protect sensitive military and defense material made in the United States from any harmful activity.  Any infraction against the ITAR regulations can result in heavy fines and significant brand and reputation damage.  Additionally, noncompliance can mean the loss of business to a compliant competitor.



  • Civil fines up to $500,000 per violation
  • Criminal fines up to $1 million and/or 10 years imprisonment per violation


Who needs to be ITAR compliant?

Any company that handles, manufactures, designs, sells, or distributes items on the USML must be ITAR compliant. The State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) compiles and manages the list of companies that can deal in USML goods and services. Companies must establish their own regulations to uphold ITAR compliance. Some examples of companies and entities who must be ITAR registered and certified include the following:

  • Wholesalers
  • Contractors
  • Distributors
  • Third-party suppliers
  • Computer software/hardware vendors


An example would be a steel manufacturer who machines triggers for automatic rifles specifically for the United States Military. This manufacturer is required to have ITAR registration and certification to produce this specific part of the weapon. They must also follow the guidelines and establish company regulations to align with ITAR.


As a precision plastics machining company, we work closely with companies and contractors in the aerospace and defense sector. In aerospace and defense, high-performance thermoplastics are sought after for their strength and weight-saving capabilities.


Mechanics working on the inner workings of a plane

Our products machined for these industries include:

  • Aircraft engines, systems and structural components
  • Chemical detection devices
  • Landing gear components
  • Military targeting and defense sensors
  • Space and Satellite devices


Our machined polymers and components for aerospace and defense must pass through rigorous quality management assurance and testing while simultaneously meeting the ITAR regulations. This helps us to ensure not only that we are meeting our own personal standards of unrivaled expertise, but that we are meeting the industry standards to create unparalleled results.


How does ITAR certification help AIP serve the aerospace and defense sectors?


At AIP, we promise “unrivaled expertise and unparalleled results”. These guiding principles have made us seek out the highest levels of certifications and industry standards for these major markets: aerospace, medical, power and energy and specialized industrial.


In order to survive the rigors of the aerospace and defense industry, AIP produces components with the utmost level of precision. These products are lightweight, radar absorbent and made to last in extreme temperatures. Additionally, they follow strict adherence to industry specifications.


We know that product durability, weight and resistance to high temperatures and corrosive materials are essential for our customers. In our commitment to quality custom plastic components for aerospace and defense industry, AIP is a certified and registered ITAR facility. We are capable of satisfying all customer DOD, NASA, and FAA quality requirements flowed down from our OEM customers.


At AIP, quality assurance is a norm not only for our customers but for ourselves. As an ITAR certified and registered facility, we are proud to offer a complex quality assurance process that focuses on product quality, fast delivery and cost-effective options.


What about AIP Precision Machining allows us to achieve ITAR Certification


“Consistency and commitment define our company,” says John MacDonald, president of AIP Precision Machining. “While management pursued and procured the means to establish the ITAR registration and certification, it is our team and their daily attention to their craft and expertise that allows us to uphold the regulations. That’s what makes us better every day at exceeding the needs of our valued customers.”


Supporting Materials

AIP’s Aerospace and Defense Capabilities

Certifications and Regulatory Resources


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An Informational Brief on Polymer Machining


Polyphenylene Oxide (PPO), also known by its trade name NORYL™, is an amorphous engineering thermoplastic.  It is generally used commercially for electrical components, automotive parts and in medical grade sterilizable medical instruments that require high heat resistance, dimensional stability and accuracy.  Some of its benefits include being low cost, light-weight with very low moisture absorption.


AIP has over 37 years of experience machining complex components from thermoplastics like polyphenylene oxide.  In this insightful technical brief, we will discuss what goes into machining PPO and how it differs from other manufacturing options such as metal machining, injection molding, and 3D printing.


PPO Product Image


Properties of PPO


Keeping information about the properties of a thermoplastic beforehand is always beneficial. This helps in selecting the right thermoplastic for a project.  Furthermore, it assists in evaluating if the end use requirement would be fulfilled or not.  Here are some of the key properties of polyphenylene oxide:  


PPO (Polyphenylene Oxide) is characterized by an extremely low moisture absorption rate and low thermal expansion.  As a dimensionally stable thermoplastic, PPO also has high dielectric strength and a flammability rating of UL94 V-1 at .058” thickness.  For machined parts, it is available in black, natural or a 30% glass filled gray version.  


Although it has many attractive properties, PPO is susceptible to thermal oxidation in relation to its high glass transition temperature, which poses a problem for melt processing.  To offset this, commercial resins are often blended with high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) or polyamide (PA).


Resistance to WeatheringGood
Tensile Strength at Break9200psiASTM D638
Elongation at Break25.0%ASTM D638
Thermal Expansion3.3 x 10-5in/in/oFASTM D696
Impact Strength, Notched @ -40 oF2.5ft-lb/inASTM D256
Impact Strength, Notched @ 73 oF3.5ft-lb/inASTM D256
Dielectric Strength500V/milD149
Heat Deflection Temperature, @264psi254FD648
Flammability, @ .058”V-1UL94
Flammability, @ .236”V-0UL94


Key features of polyphenylene oxide:

  • Flame Resistance
  • Flexural Strength
  • High Dielectric Strength
  • Insulated
  • Low Moisture Absorption Rate
  • Low Thermal Expansion


Applications of PPO


Polyphenylene Oxide blends are used for structural parts, electronics, household and automotive items that depend on high heat resistance, dimensional stability and accuracy. They are also used in medicine for sterilizable instruments made of plastic.  Common applications include the following:


  • Manifolds
  • Pump, valve and fitting applications
  • Scientific and analytical instrument components
  • Housings
  • Covers
  • Electrical components


Grades of PPO


At AIP, we machine various grades and brand name polyphenylene oxide.  Branded names include the following:  NORYL™, NORYL™ EN 265, NORYL™ PPO, NORYL™ RESIN, NORYL™ SE-1 GFN3, NORYLUX™, SUSTAPPO™, TECANYL™.


Our close ties with the industry’s leading plastics manufacturers give us even further insight and access to technical help in material selection, sizing and manufacturing procedures.  Whatever your application, our machinists can help you in material selection, sizing and manufacturing techniques from concept to completion


Machining PPO


Annealing PPO

If machined with coolants, lubricants and untrained procedures, this material is subject to cracking and crazing.  Therefore, annealing is necessary for a quality, precision machined part out of the stock shape.  The annealing process at AIP greatly reduces the chances of these stresses occurring from the heat generated during machining PPO and other polymers.  Our machinists use computer controlled annealing ovens for the highest quality precision machining.  


Machining PPO

We recommend non-aromatic, water-soluble coolants because they are most suitable for ideal surface finishes and close tolerances. These include pressurized air and spray mists. Coolants have the additional benefit of extending tool life as well.


This plastic is processed by injection molding or extrusion; depending on the material, the processing temperature is 260-300 °C. The surface can be printed, hot-stamped, painted or metallized.


Some companies machine both metals and plastics, which has detrimental outcomes for machined polymer products. Many past experiences have shown parts going to customer without cracks, only to develop surface cracks and warping over time due to exposure to metal machine shop fluids. Be sure to use a facility like AIP that only machines polymers.


Preventing Contamination

Contamination is a serious concern when machining polymer components for technically demanding industries such as aerospace and medical sciences. To ensure the highest level of sanitation down to the sub-molecular level, AIP Precision Machining designs, heat-treats, and machines only plastics with any sub-manufactured metalwork processed outside our facility.  This allows us to de-risk the process from metallic cross contamination


Polyphenylene Oxide Machining Guide: Supportive Information


General Engineering Materials

Quality Assurance Certifications



We machine critical components from PPO, ULTEM, PEEK and more to endure harsh environments in power and energy applications.



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