First Article Inspection is a valuable process for manufacturing companies and their customers. MicronPA provides this and other dimensional inspection services from our laboratory based in York, Pennsylvania. With our personalized approach, we can find the right inspection methods for your production needs.
What Is FAI?
First article inspection is a process that compares a product’s design with its production result. It’s an official authentication method encouraged by many industry standards, and it confirms precision in the manufacturing process.
FAI refers to the first article or the first item produced in a mass production process. During FAI, technicians will examine various dimensions of the first article and compare it to the design. These dimensions include all drawing dimensions.
Our First Article Inspection Services
Our highly trained technicians utilize the most appropriate inspection equipment to perform FAI such as:
- Contact Inspection using CMM – For high accuracy and automated inspection services, we would use our Zeiss Contura CMM.
- Non-Contact Inspection using Vision Inspection System – If your parts are delicate and fragile, we would employ our high accuracy Vision System such as OGP Quest
- Non-Contact Inspection using Computed tomography (CT) scanning: We recently acquired a GOM CT Scanner. It is an X-Ray based system, which is ideal for inspection of very complex free-form parts such as ones produced using Additive Manufacturing or 3-D Printing. The scanner takes a series of x-ray images, which in turn are automatically and mathematically processed to create a precise 3-D image of the part. No need to cross-section the parts as we can see and measure external as well as internal features at the click of a button. Profile measurements and complex GD&T become very easy to measure using this tool.
These tools are used to provide the following services:
- Production part approval process (PPAP): Mainly used in the automotive industry, this process examines a group of parts for FAI, Process Capability Study, Gage R&R, Control Plans, etc. Our automated and programable inspection tools are the most cost-effective and accurate tools for this service.
- Capability studies: We use statistical analysis to assess process output as compared with customer requirements.
- Gage repeatability and reproducibility (Gage R&R): With this analysis, we can calculate variations in your measurement setup to determine its accuracy.
The primary benefit of FAI is its ability to confirm your process’s validity, from materials and tools to manufacturing. When your FAI declares high-level accuracy between your design and the result, you can guarantee that your processes work as intended.
FAI can also improve the communication and relationship between the customer and the supplier. With verified design and process parameters, both parties know what to expect from the final product and will feel satisfied with the result.
When Should FAI Be Performed?
First article inspection is meant for the first run of a production process, but it can be useful after any changes that could affect product accuracy. Applicable circumstances could include:
- When you introduce a new part to the product line.
- A part reentering the product line after a hiatus of two years or more.
- Using a new manufacturing location.
- Testing a new supplier.
You may also choose to perform FAI at the customer’s request to guarantee they receive the accuracy they want from their parts.
Turn to MicronPA for Your FAI Needs
MicronPA is an accredited and certified first article inspection company that provides comprehensive inspection services for your production processes. With over 30 years of experience in calibration and inspection, our technicians can deliver in-depth services according to your unique needs.
We’re based in York, Pennsylvania, and we serve operations throughout our home state, Maryland and Virginia. Our fast turnaround times ensure you receive reports of your products’ accuracy in a timely manner, so you can make process changes as required. Contact us today for information or a quote on FAI services.