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What Is First Article Inspection, Why Should You Do It & How?

Imagine you are in the automotive industry and you hire a contractor to produce certain parts for you. After finding the right company to do the work, you wait until it is finished, only to then run an inspection and find out that there are defects that need to be handled. This probably means that the work will have to be completely redone, which takes both time and money and, of course, produces unnecessary waste.

What Is First Article Inspection, Why Should You Do It & How

Is there a way to avoid this scenario, though? Or, do you really have to wait for the contractor to invest the time into producing a part that will turn out to be defective? Luckily, there is definitely a way to avoid the scenario and it consists of doing a first article inspection that will help you catch any problems in early stages, which will certainly save you a lot of time and nerves. Let’s see what it is.

What Is FAI?

First article inspection is, as the name says it, the inspection of some of the first pieces at the beginning of the production. Don’t be fooled by the name, though. It doesn’t refer to the very first piece. In fact, you can do an inspection of up to three pieces and the truth is that those don’t have to be the very first pieces produced. The point is to go through this process in the early manufacturing stages, so that quality is ensured right from the start.

Keep in mind, though, that the pieces you are inspecting must come from the mass production stage. The FAI is especially important for certain specific industries such as the automotive, aerospace, electrical and medical device industries. This is because precision is paramount in those industries, meaning that there is no room for mistakes and that any issues should be prevented and dealt with right at the beginning.

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This technique is usually used in those industries that require a high level of precision and its application is limited when it comes to low-cost consumer goods. First article inspection is a rather important step in the process of manufacturing of certain parts and pieces that are relevant in those high-precision industries. You should click this if you need more info about the whole process.

What Is FAI

Why Do You Need It?

If you are in one of those industries that might find this inspection useful, you are probably wondering if it is actually necessary. Isn’t checking out the end product enough? After all, you are going to find any defects during the process of checking the final product, so why bother with doing a first article inspection anyway?

Well, the truth is that “bothering” with a FAI is definitely beneficial and also pretty necessary. Isn’t catching a problem right at the very beginning much better than waiting until all the work has been done in order to find out that certain things should have been done differently right from the start? This will save you a lot of time and money, but also a lot of nerves, since you won’t get frustrated after figuring out that the product you were excited about is faulty and needs to be completely redone.

In addition to saving you time, money and nerves, there is another reason why you should consider doing a first article inspection instead of waiting until the production is over. I’m talking about reducing waste. Sure, waste reduction might not be the most important thing for you and your particular company, but the truth is that this is extremely significant both for you and the whole environment.

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Find more info about what the FAI report should look like: https://safetyculture.com/checklists/first-article-inspection/

How To Do It?

When you decide that FAI is necessary, and you probably will decide that, it’s time to make another important decision and choose how to actually conduct the whole process. You will have two options to choose from. The first option is to rely on the manufacturer to do it and you should be really confident in their quality control and management system if you decide to do it this way. The second option is to hire a third-party, i.e. a company that specializes in doing this type of work and let them provide you with the necessary report.

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