The first article inspection is important to avoid or reduce quality issues in manufacturing. However, why, when, and how to do the first article inspection?
What is First Article Inspection?
First Article Inspection (FAI) is a quality assurance process where a sample product from a production run is thoroughly examined and measured to verify that it meets specified design requirements and engineering drawings. The purpose of FAI is to identify any deviations from the design, ensure that production processes are capable of producing conforming parts, and establish a baseline for ongoing production quality control.
Why Do First Article Inspection?
The purpose of First Article Inspection (FAI) is to:
- Verify product compliance with design specifications and engineering drawings.
- Ensure production processes are capable of producing conforming parts.
- Identify and resolve any deviations from the design before mass production.
- Establish a baseline for ongoing quality control.
- Demonstrate product quality to customers and regulatory bodies.
- Improve the overall product quality and production efficiency.
- Minimize the risk of defects or non-conformance in mass production.
- Provide evidence of due diligence in quality control.
By performing FAI, manufacturers can ensure that their products meet the required quality standards, reduce the risk of defects, and improve production efficiency.
When to Do First Article Inspection?
First Article Inspection (FAI) is typically performed:
1) Before production begins – confirm that the design and engineering drawings are correct and the production processes are capable of producing conforming parts.
2) After a significant change in the production process – ensure that the change does not affect the product quality.
3) After a change in suppliers or raw materials – confirm that the new materials meet the required specifications.
4) Upon customer request – to demonstrate the quality of the product and the production process.
The timing of FAI may vary depending on the industry and the requirements of the customer or regulatory bodies.
How to Do First Article Inspection?
The steps to perform a First Article Inspection (FAI) are:
- Obtain design specifications and engineering drawings: Review the design specifications, drawings, and customer requirements to ensure a complete understanding of what is required.
- Prepare inspection tools and measuring devices: Ensure that the necessary inspection tools and measuring devices are available, calibrated, and in good working condition.
- Inspect and measure the sample product: Perform a thorough examination of the sample product, including visual, dimensional, and functional inspections.
- Document inspection results: Record the inspection results, including any deviations from the design specifications, in a detailed and structured format.
- Evaluate the results: Analyze the inspection results to determine if any corrective actions are required.
- Provide feedback to the production team: Communicate the inspection results to the production team and provide feedback on any necessary corrective actions.
- Update production processes: Make changes to the production processes as required to ensure that the product meets the design specifications.
- Confirm readiness for production: Verify that the production processes are capable of producing conforming parts before proceeding with mass production.
- Use inspection results as a baseline: Use the results of the FAI as a baseline for ongoing quality control and regularly monitor the production process to ensure continued compliance with design specifications.
The specific details of an FAI may vary depending on the product, the industry, and the requirements of the customer or regulatory bodies.