When Might You Need A First Article Inspection?

Posted on: 29 April 2022

If you are mass producing products, then you might need to organize first article inspection (FAI) reports. During this process, an independent inspector evaluates one or more pieces from a manufacturing production run at random. They check that every item exactly meets its specifications.

You might need to run FAIs at various times during the product's lifecycle. When should you run these reports?

Before Mass Production Of A New Product

The most common time to run an FAI is when you start to manufacture a product for the first time. Here, you might make an initial product run; however, you won't move on to full mass production just yet.

Your inspector will take one or more pieces from this initial run and compare them all. If they are all exact matches to your formal product specification, then you pass the inspection. You can start mass production safely knowing that your product meets all its necessary specifications.

If your inspector finds an error, then you can work out what is wrong with the product or your manufacturing process so that you can fix it. You'll then go through another FAI process to check that the product meets the right standards after any amendments.

After Changes To A Product Or Process

Even if you manufacture the same product for years, there are times when you might introduce changes to the product or its manufacturing process. These changes might trigger the need for another FAI.

For example, you might change the product's design. You might change your manufacturing process, the machines you use to make the product or even your physical location. In some cases, you commission an additional FAI if you change suppliers on one or more of the product's parts.

Here, the FAI checks that you can still manufacture the product to its specifications despite the changes you have made. This is a useful check. Any change in materials, parts, processes, or equipment can affect the final product.

Following A Customer Request

In some cases, manufacturers run FAIs because a customer asks them to. For example, if you're supplying parts to a customer, then they might want to check that you can supply exactly what they need before you go into full production. Here, a successful FAI gives them proof that you can mass produce their parts to their exact specifications.

If you need help setting up an FAI, please contact a first article inspection consultancy and ask about their services.