First Article Inspections and Why It’s Essential

First Article Inspections and Why It’s Essential

You may have hired a specific injection molding production company in a particular state. It would be best if you had them produce a precision plastic part for automotive.

Some of the factors like the dimensions, sizes, and quality are very critical. You hire a third-party company to do a random inspection.

The orders have been 100% completed. However, there’s a defect that has been discovered by that third-party company that you hired. It required almost 40% of the pieces to be remade and scrapped. In addition to this, the timing is critical, and you don’t want to disappoint some of the customers because of this efficiency.

What you may have needed from the beginning was to conduct a during production or DUPRO that is a kind of inspection that could have prevented these problems. These are shown in about 20% of the materials during their production process to ensure that quality is made.

However, know that there are other types of checking in specific companies with a set of production processes. They are there to catch the issues earlier than the DUPRO, known as the first article inspections or FAI. Learn more below where FAI is used and why it’s essential in many importers.

What is FAI in the First Place?

The FAI is a process where one to three pieces are checked at the start of the production. This is not limited to a single part as what the name is implying. Instead, the pieces don’t specifically have to be the first batches. They can be a random selection from the initial manufacturing process, and they are thoroughly tested for control.

It’s important to note that the pieces should come from the mass production stages. FAI is way more different from the process of getting approval samples.

Known as the golden samples, the approval parts are perfect units, and they were made before the mass production run. This is important because they are the prototypes made by the Research and Development department while utilizing various techniques, equipment, and people before the mass production starts.

In FAI, the pieces that came from the mass production were thoroughly inspected. You can learn more about the process on this page here. This is to ensure that the measurements and properties adhere to the standards and product specifications that were released to the buyers. These are usually provided in the initial purchase orders.

Once the verification process ends, the entire manufacturing process can continue. The rest of the orders are produced, and this is common in many industries across the world.

Why and When these Article Inspections are Conducted?

The process of FAI is generally tied to many industries. Some of them are mainly for electrical, medical, defense, automotive, and electronic devices. These are the enterprises where accuracy and precision are essential. A product’s dimensions are parts critical to the safety of people who will use them.

Aside from these industries, there are specific procedures that should be followed to the letter. An example of this is the AS9102 that is common in aerospace industries. Browse through reports about AS9102 in this link: https://www.telephonics.com/uploads/standard/TCX-9102.pdf.

In-depth FAIs are ensuring that each of the equipment produced by the company is the right one. The materials and settings are accurate, and they should pass all the quality control checklists before they proceed to the finishing lines. They are a determinant of whether the rest of the products will proceed so that the company will prevent expensive reworks, decrease waste, and save time.

Generally, they are conducted by technicians or personnel located at a factory. Some may hire quality control personnel that are used to these kinds of work to help out the staff. This is where help is usually needed as the right people offer these.

The confidence that the management has in the quality system is very important. This is why others are conducting factory audits before entrusting a supplier to making the parts, so they will not waste time and resources in the process.

Know that this is not something many industries should do. It may only apply to certain parts and products, especially those that were newly developed. When you are in a low-cost consumer product industry, you can just get the DUPRO or pre-shipment inspection that can be more than adequate to check everything.

Conclusion

FAI

The process of FAI is critical when it comes to big enterprises. The parts that are going into the medical, aerospace, or defense industries should be high-quality, accurate, and precise. However, these may not be ideal for products that are available to the masses. For low-cost consumer products, the application of FAI can be limited.

Keep in mind that FAI is slightly different from the approval samples. They are conducted based on the materials from the mass production, so they are not checking the prototypes. You can get in touch with an inspector or specialist to know more about this service.

Ganesh Kolekar is a graduate and geek. He is the man behind keeping the quality of the posts and manages the content part on the website.