First Article Inspection Forms & FAI Reports

Easily identify non-conformances and prevent costly production delays with a powerful inspection app for automated FAI reports

first article inspection

Published 3 Aug 2021

What is a First Article Inspection?

First Article Inspection (FAI) is the process of verifying the design requirements of a product from the first production run. First article inspections can reduce costly production delays by ensuring the manufacturing process produces output that meets design requirements. An FAI is required by the 9102 standard developed by the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG) and published through the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

This article will briefly discuss:

What is a 9102 FAI?

A 9102 FAI is the first article inspection that adheres to the AS9102B, or the Aerospace First Article Inspection Requirement. SAE offers a practical guide that sets the baseline requirements for performing and documenting FAI. Essentially, a 9102 FAI focuses on providing objective evidence the manufacturer’s processes can produce compliant products and that they have also incorporated statutory and regulatory requirements.

What is a Delta FAI?

A delta FAI, also referred to as a partial FAI, is one of the two most common types of first article inspections—the other one is called a full FAI, or a complete re-accomplishment of the first article inspection. Usually, a partial FAI is conducted only under certain circumstances such as changes in the design of a product, where the delta FAI report shows the difference between the original first article inspection report (FAIR) and the revised drawing.

First Article Inspection Frequency

Quality inspectors perform FAIs when there is a 2-year lapse in production or when there are significant changes in the product, including design, manufacturing source/process, location of manufacture, tooling/materials, or computer-generated program that can affect its fit, form, or function.

First Article Inspection Process

First article inspections provide assurance of product conformance at the start of series production and after design changes. Generally, here are the steps taken by quality inspectors when performing first article inspections:

  1. Prepare the engineering design and specification requirements
    Quality managers should regularly coordinate with design engineers and fabrication managers to ascertain that the as-built technical drawings (electrical, mechanical, pneumatic, and process schemes) are followed. Before the first article inspection, prepare the instruments calibration certificates and refer to the equipment and materials data sheets to deliver high-quality machines with performance that clients can trust.

  2. Determine the part or assembly to inspect
    The “first article” to be inspected is neither the prototype model nor the first product from a production run. Quality inspectors should randomly select a representative item from the first production run and document part number accountability which includes the part number, part name, and manufacturing process reference.

  3. Conduct raw materials, special processes, and functional testing
    Quality inspectors measure and verify design characteristics through product-specific tests with required design tooling. For product accountability, each material and process used to manufacture the product is listed and certificates of conformance for special processes are added. Functional test procedures should also be cited with corresponding acceptance reports as supporting documents.

  4. Evaluate characteristics accountability and compatibility
    Inspection results can ascertain the necessity of a delta FAI or a full re-accomplishment of the first article inspection. In the case of non-conforming characteristics, design revisions should be implemented. Quality inspectors should review the manufacturing process and non-conformance documentation to improve the performance of a delta FAI.

  5. Report the first article inspection with proper documentation
    Upon the completion of the first article inspection, quality inspectors validate the FAI report with their signatures, indicating that all characteristics are accounted for; meet drawing requirements; or are properly documented for disposition. FAI reports should include photos of the product’s make and packaging to provide objective evidence.

What is an FAI Report?

An FAI report, or FAIR, is a document completed by quality inspectors which usually includes part number accountability, product accountability, and characteristic accountability. Generally, electronic signatures are acceptable in an FAI, as long as their usage and control are clearly defined in the organization’s quality management system (QMS).

A Better Way to Create an FAI Report

A first article inspection app is a digital tool designed to assist quality inspectors as they verify if the first batch of manufactured products complies with quality standards and customer specifications. It enables quality teams to streamline FAI activities, improving both efficiency and productivity.

With the iAuditor first article inspection app, quality personnel can quickly document information through a mobile phone or tablet, take pictures of notable findings such as non-compliance and defects, and automatically generate an FAI report that can be shared with clients and co-workers in real-time.

This is what your future could look like with the iAuditor as a first article inspection app:

  1. Your inspection process will always be streamlined
    With iAuditor, you can easily convert an existing first article inspection template to digital format or create a new one to roll out to quality teams across sites. This ensures that the same best practices are being followed across all branches of your operation so FAI standards are maintained.

  2. Generating and sharing first article inspection reports become automatic
    After completing your first article inspection report template and conducting an inspection, you can immediately generate a report without having to manually compile inspection data. Set automatic sharing on so generated reports are regularly sent to quality supervisors, managers, and other stakeholders.

  3. You will always be updated on assigned corrective actions
    The iAuditor first article inspection app allows quality teams to assign corrective actions, including the level of urgency and deadlines, to appropriate personnel. Through the web dashboard, managers can check which actions have been assigned, are in progress, or have been completed.

  4. Your workflow becomes automated
    You can integrate iAuditor with business intelligence tools such as Tableau, Power BI, Excel Online, and Google Sheets. This allows you to use your inspection data to create drag and drop visualizations, as well as automatically updated online spreadsheets with inspection data each time a first article inspection is completed.

  5. You can quickly make sense of your data with powerful analytics
    With all of your inspection data flowing back to iAuditor’s powerful analytics tool, you can immediately gain actionable insights from the web app. Have the ability to filter data by inspection, date and time, department, personnel, and site so you can pinpoint the root of the issue instead of trying to fix the symptoms.

safetyculture content specialist shine colcol

SafetyCulture Content Specialist

Shine Colcol

Shine Colcol is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2019, mostly covering topics about health and safety, environmental, and operations management. She is passionate in empowering teams to build a culture of continuous improvement through well-researched and engaging content. Her experience in cross-industry digital publishing helps enrich the quality of information in her articles.

Shine Colcol is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2019, mostly covering topics about health and safety, environmental, and operations management. She is passionate in empowering teams to build a culture of continuous improvement through well-researched and engaging content. Her experience in cross-industry digital publishing helps enrich the quality of information in her articles.