First Article Inspection Service (FAI)

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What is First Article Inspection (FAI)?

The First Article Inspection is an official authentication method for a manufacturing process in production, it attests that all engineering, design and specification requirements are rightly understood, accounted for, verified, and recorded.

The FAI inspection takes place at the factory floor right after the manufacturer starts producing the first mass production samples. A complete, independent, and documented physical and functional inspection process is conducted.

(Different inspection services, please check HERE.)

What is Included in a First Article Inspection (FAI) Report?

A First Article Inspection (FAI) is a vital quality control procedure that ensures that the initial manufactured product meets the customer’s exact requirements.

Typically, the FAI will be conducted based on:

  1. 2D Drawings or 3D files from Design documentation
  2. Material and process specifications
  3. Technical Notes
  4. Additional checklist as required by designer or customer.

Our quality control experts verify the measurements of the product’s characteristics and check the part drawing to ensure it meets all requirements and specifications during the FAI. the inspection report will includes:

  1. Part drawing checking Report

  2. Verified measurements of characteristics.

  3. Regular test report remarks.

The FAI report is a critical tool for identifying potential quality issues at the beginning of the production process, reducing the risk of significant quality problems later on.

During the Inspection, we meticulously scrutinise the first production samples according to your approved samples also called “Golden samples” or specifications, assess the factory’s cooperation and understanding of your demands, review the production schedule and production processes control, and perform in-house quality control checks.

With the FAI Inspection, our clients can be assured that their products meet their exact requirements and specifications, giving them a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

When to Conduct the First Article Inspection (FAI)?

What is first article inspection procedure

The FAI inspection is typically called for a purchase order contract between buyer and supplier, and it’s defined as a production process verification, so all specifications and measurements should be verified during an inspection. and the first article inspection is generally associated with specific precision-critical industries, such as machinery, aerospace and defense, automotive, electrical and electronics, and medical device industries.

These are industries where precision is paramount and the dimensions of production parts are critical.

In general, when relying on the manufacturer for an FAI, it is important that you have confidence in their overall quality management system (QMS). For this reason, it is important to conduct a factory audit prior to working with any new supplier.

Once the design released, production processes have been determined. An FAI can be performed on the First Production Run (Trial Run). It is important to note that the FAI inspection should be repeated whenever there are any design changes, new tooling, or Engineering Change Requests affecting the form.

So, according to SAE standard, here are the times that FAI inspection is required.

  • First production run of a new part or an assembled product.
  • Engineering Design Change which affects to function or material change
  • Materials changes
  • New sources from a new supplier
  • The parts already produced over two years.
  • New Tools
  • The manufacturing process or location changed.

So when the FAI inspection finished, the factory could arrange the first mass production run and proceed PPAP Process to verify everything are ready for mass production. (Learn more about What is PPAP Process Audit?)

Here is one question:

Conducting First Article Inspection on Parts or Assembly?

It is recommended to conduct the FAI inspection on both parts and assembly. The part FAI should be completed before the assembly FAI. During the part FAI, we ensure that no parts will affect the function of the assembly or any fitting, testing. After the part FAI is almost finished, the assembly FAI can be conducted.

By conducting the FAI on both parts and assembly, we can identify any potential quality issues early on in the production process and ensure that the final assembly meets the customer’s exact specifications.

What is the Process for Conducting an FAI Inspection on Parts and Assembly?

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The process for conducting a FAI inspection on parts and assembly typically involves the following steps:

Review the customer’s specifications and requirements:

Our quality control experts will carefully review the customer’s specifications and requirements to ensure that we understand their exact needs and expectations.

Obtain the necessary documentation:

We will gather all the necessary documentation, such as 2D drawings or 3D files, material and process specifications, and technical notes.

Conduct the part FAI:

We will verify the measurements of the product’s characteristics and check the part drawing to ensure that it meets all requirements and specifications. We will also check that no parts will affect the function of the assembly or any fitting, testing.

Conduct the assembly FAI:

Once the part FAI is almost finished, we will conduct the assembly FAI to ensure that the final assembly meets the customer’s exact specifications. During this process, we will check for any potential quality issues and ensure that all parts are properly assembled.

Generate an inspection report:

After the FAI inspections are completed, we will generate an inspection report that includes all the necessary information about the inspections, such as the part drawing checking report, verified measurements of characteristics, and regular test report remarks.

Provide feedback to the customer:

We will provide feedback to the customer about any potential quality issues that were identified during the FAI inspections and work with them to address these issues.

By following this process, we can ensure that our clients receive products of the highest quality that meet their exact specifications and requirements.

Highlights of First Article Inspection Service

  • FAI is not ideally suited to all products and industries.
  • When you request the factory to run the FAI process, please verify their quality management system either, in that way you can have more confidence in the results, or hire third party inspection company like AQI Service to monitor their process.
  • Detect production discrepancies early to avoid unnecessary costs and delays.
  • Implement the necessary corrective actions as soon as possible.
  • Avoid misunderstandings, usage of wrong materials, wrong colors, etc.