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How First Piece Inspection Procedure Enhances Production Quality

Certain documentations are crucial in a production process. The first piece inspection details a procedure for evaluating, dispositioning, and delivering first piece samples. In this article, we will shed more light on the first article inspection.

What is First Article Inspection?

First article inspection (FIA) involves planning, manufacturing, and confirming a production process. Also this process determines if the production process for a part can consistently supply parts that conform to specifications. Also, a first article reviews the entire manufacturing process. It looks at how raw materials go through the production process. This includes functional testing for a part.

A first article inspection (FIA) is crucial for both producers and buyers of a part. It helps the manufacturer to evaluate the manufacturability of a part and identify design errors. Also, FAI helps buyers to verify that the manufacturer understands the design requirement.

The buyer will be able to assess the manufacturing process and external special procession steps.

When do you need a First Article Inspection?

FAI is critical during a new product manufacturing process. Also, it helps to ensure if the manufacturing process can deliver products that comply with specifications. A first article inspection requirement need to assess one part with the unwritten assumption every part will follow the same production process.

Any alteration in the design or manufacturing process of the part violates this assumption. Therefore, there is a need for a first article inspection. Below is the list of conditions that needs a new first article:

  • A factory move
  • Manufacturing process change
  • New product introduction
  • Design change

You will need a new FAI for some changes. For instance, you will need a new FAI for any change from laser cutting to stamping. Also, a change to how parts are packages may not need a new first article inspection.  FAI is an inspection equipment that helps to achieve a quality management system.

What is First Article Inspection Report?

 A first article inspection report (FAIR) is a document that approves that every sample was manufactured and inspected based on the specifications of a customer.  Also, the first article inspection report is widely used in the aerospace industry. This report is in three different forms which are form 1, form 2, and form 3. Also, the three forms offer a full record of the production process.

Form 1 (Part number accountability)

Form 1 refers to the Part Number Accountability. Also, this form achieves three main objectives which are:

  • Ensuring traceability to the production process
  • Confirming traceability to the engineering change order
  • Linking the parent FAI to the report for every sub-component utilized

Form 2 (Product accountability)

There are two subsections in form 2. Also, these include raw materials and special processing section and a functional testing section. For instance, raw materials may comprise a block of AI6061 T6, a copper tube and a conductive epoxy.

Form 3 (Characteristics Accountability)

This is the characteristic accountability form. Also, you may define a part by hundreds of material and functional parameters. Form 3 lists and accounts for every parameter. Also, you will need to provide the balloon number or characteristics for every parameter. Note, you must provide the drawing sheet and a characteristic designator for every parameter.

How to Create a First Article Inspection Report

There are steps involved in creating a first article inspection report (FAIR).

Pre-plan your FAI

Before starting, you need to get the documentation required for your First Article Inspection (FAI). This includes:

  • Specifications
  • Supplier/source data
  • Raw materials list
  • Engineering drawings
  • Digital product definition data sets
  • Manufacturing plans

Design an inspection plan

You will need to balloon your part drawing. This involves identifying the requirement you need to inspect with a balloon number. Also, get the AS9102 forms ready for the inspection.  You will need to fill the AS9102 form 1 and Form 2 with the details from the Specifications List and Bill of Materials. Also, you will need to fill out the AS9102 Form 3 with inspection tools, dimensions, and tolerances notes. You will need the serial number and type of tool.

Produce the part

Create the product and document the processing and inspection results for the requirements during the production process.

Collect data

You will need to inspect the part. Also, keep track of approved inspection tools. This will help you trace them back to the person approved to utilize the tool to inspect or manufacture accurately.

Create the report

Fill the measurement result data in the AS9102 form 3. Also, these include Certificate of Conformance and Functional Test Report.

PPAP and FAI: What is the Difference?

FAI is a part of the production part approval process (PPAP). Therefore, there are some crucial differences:

First article inspection (FAI) only demands for the inspection of one part. PPAP demands for the production of many parts for run-at-rate and process capability. Also, a PPAP needs formal documentation for each step of the new product introduction process. On the other hand, first article inspections mainly concentrate on the subset of the documentation like raw materials, processing, and functional testing.

Companies that choose the First Article process often believe that there are some Quality Control Plans already in place. Also, the production part approval process and FAI are both important in manufacturing.

What is First Article Manufacturing?

First article manufacturing involves manufacturing the first unit o a product. This sample unit provides customers the assurance of seeing their case in a format. Also, first article manufacturing is beneficial when it comes to product evaluation.

Before a huge production run, this process offers customers the chance to verify if their custom case matches with the dimension and designs.The custom case must match with the designs and dimensions outlined in certain specifications. Also, first article helps customers to verify if the cases perform as expected. Furthermore, they can verify the durability and quality of the solution.

A large volume production run can take place after this. Also, the first production run can commence after verification has occurred.  

Conclusion

The first article inspections play a crucial role during a production process. Also, the FAI process comprises several steps. Most companies integrate this document to enhance their quality system and production tools. Also, the first article report is very important.