1. What is the record retention period as per AS9100 standard? We got information that in some cases we need to retain documents for 40 years.
AS9100 Rev D does not specify a record retention time. The requirement in clause 18.104.22.168 is that the organization needs to address the retention and disposition of documented information. This is because the requirements for different records can vary greatly. For the most part, record retention times for production records will come from customer contracts or legal requirements. If the 40 years time is stated in one of these places, then that is the requirement you need to meet.
2. In case of hard copies of records how should we maintain it?
Many companies keep hard copy records in file storage boxes is protective spaces where they will not be damaged by fire or water. The standard only states in clause 22.214.171.124 that you need to be able to access, retrieve, and preserve these records including legibility. Again, times for retrieval may come from customer contracts. It is also common to have a supplier company keep hard copy paperwork in a secure location.
3. What is the other way for retention?
It is always possible to keep records electronically, and scanning hard copy records would qualify for this. Unless you have customer requirements otherwise, scanning your hard copy records, and adequately maintaining the files in a protected fashion, is an acceptable way to maintain records.
For more information on document and record control in AS9100 Rev D, see the article: