Everything You Should Know About First Article Inspection

FAI is vital to the manufacturing process to ensure products meet specifications. Find out how to avoid costly mistakes or delays.

Victoria Russman
Victoria Russman

What is the definition of the first article?

In the manufacturing industry, a first article is the very first item/unit from the first cycle of production/manufacturing, which is typically used as a reference for the following units to measure the quality of the finished product.

It is usually manufactured by a subcontractor manufacturer for a client, who places the order for the product’s mass production.

What is the first article inspection?

Often abbreviated as FAI, first article inspection is carried out to determine whether the contracted manufacturer can meet the set design and quality requirements efficiently or not.

Whenever a new or improved product or part is manufactured, the client checks the first article from the first few manufactured items to see if the given specifications are met and if the item’s quality is up to mark or not. The complete process of inspecting the part/product is called the first article inspection.

How is the first article inspection performed?

The FAI process involves multiple phases, during which the item is inspected multiple times for different purposes, including quality, strength, flexibility, agility, durability, etc., depending on the type of item.

When the set requirements are met with 100% compliance, the subcontractor manufacturer is given a green signal to proceed with mass production. However, if some conditions are not met, the manufacturer is advised to take corrective measures and rerun the first article manufacturing cycle. Sometimes, clients would look for another subcontractor if the FAI does not bring the desired results.

What is the importance of the first article inspection?

The first article inspection is essential because manufacturers can save time and money, and their clients can prevent delays in product launches or the supply of an improved product line.

FAI helps detect potential product design and quality issues during the initial manufacturing phase so that they can be fixed well before mass production begins.

From the client’s point of view, FAI helps them rest assured that the first article’s specifications meet the set requirements, making it easier for them to work with a manufacturer of their choice.

FAI reporting - explained

Once the FAI process is completed, the inspection professional generates a report and submits it to the client for further action. The FAI report consists of multiple forms and technical drawings summarizing the results obtained from the inspection.

Why choose Nel PreTech for the first article inspection?

FAI procedure requires specialized tools and equipment to collect and analyze the data related to the design and quality of the first article. At Nel PreTech (NPC), we are equipped with the latest and most advanced technology. Our result-oriented FAI processes and tools are capable of carrying out an accurate inspection of your first article. Accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 by A2LA establishes, publishes, and monitors our measurement uncertainty. This is vital when incorporating outside services for your FAI needs.

Our precision-focused, high-quality, reliable first article inspection services help our clients ensure their products align with the set standards, ensuring complete quality control for their product lines. If you are looking for FAI services, please feel free to contact us at 708-429-4887 or request a quote today!

Let's get started solving your 3D & CT Scanning Challenges

Download icon
Download a Brochure to See What's Possible

You'll find all the detailed service information you need in one brochure.

Download Brochure
Get a quote icon
Get a FREE No-Obligation Project Quote

Get a quote within 24-hours and keep your project on schedule.

Get a Quote
Ask a question icon
Discuss Your Project With an Expert Engineer

Our Nel PreTech engineers are ready to get started on your product challenges.

Ask an Engineer