Quickly create in-process inspection forms

While First Article Inspection (FAI) is typically driven by the customer, almost all manufacturers in the aerospace, automotive, and medical industries follow their own initiative to focus on detailed in-process inspection. In many cases, the in-process inspection planning is developed independently of the characteristic identification used for the FAI.

By utilizing FAI solutions that increase the efficiency of the inspection process, your business can reap the benefits of increased productivity.

2D Inspection Planning Suite

Increase efficiency with First Article Inspection (FAI) solutions

Should something go wrong with a product or need to be changed in the design or manufacturing process, then every product produced up until the point of error would be useless. To avoid a loss of time, effort, and resources, an FAI report is performed, ensuring that critical products are safe to install on the end product. Using this inspection form protects against the dangers associated with the faulty operation of equipment responsible for human safety.

One element of FAI is the Technical Data Package (TDP), composed of electronic files that detail a product or item. These files, containing documents, 3D models, and product management information (PMI) necessary for the supply chain, are used by downstream teams.

TDPs are used for the development of everything from acquisition to product support objectives. They define the physical and functional characteristics of approved item configuration and its associated assemblies, subassemblies and parts. FAI approval is dependent on 3D models and documents meeting submission criteria, of which an accurate TDP is essential.

Manufacturing engineers and quality engineers separately pore over all of the TDP documents (drawings, models, specifications, etc.) and the part routing to set up the in-process inspections. This is a very laborious and time-consuming effort. In addition, the lack of a linkage to the final part characteristics often leads to quality escapes. To ensure both data and tasks are clearly outlined, documented, and communicated, report findings must be carefully constructed. 

Industry Standard

While specific documents may vary depending on the manufacturer, one commonality of the FAI process is the attention to detail required. Tasking various platforms and resources to ensure the inspection process is a smooth one is a daunting task. Depending on the industry, engineers are faced with regulatory compliance that requires strict adherence to detailed manufacturing guidelines. 

Utilizing the example of the aerospace industry, here are the particular in-process inspection forms that comprise FAI.

AS9100 governs FAI under the auspices of the International Assurance Quality Group (IAQG). One of the common pieces of the quality management system, AS9102, is a guidance document that defines FAI in a way the entire aerospace supply chain recognizes. Since AS9102 details optimal FAI compliance, it is heavily adopted by other companies, who could have come up with their own practices.

AS9102 is an example of how the inspection plan process works. Three forms exist within the document:

  • Part number accountability identifies the part and any associated sub-assemblies.
  • Product accountability assesses if any raw materials or special processes are defined in design.
  • Characteristic accountability verifies compatibility and records measurement of inspection/verification of the FAI part for every design characteristic on the drawing.

These forms are designed to standardize the process that comprises a First Article Inspection Report (FAIR). While detailed and complex, there are solutions that exist specifically designed to make the FAI process easier, regardless of the manufacturing industry your business operates within.

DISCUS Planner for structured manufacturing documentation

The DISCUS family of products is specifically designed to enable you to organize the TDP and capture those part characteristics much more efficiently for in-process inspection. DISCUS has a panel for analyzing and extracting characteristics from the drawing or model, as well as from the specifications. DISCUS generates the list of part-specific characteristics and creates associated ballooned illustrations.

DISCUS Planner manages characteristics by specific operation, including the creation of process illustrations and work instructions. By organizing the documents that comprise the TDP, DISCUS Planner reduces the time and effort needed to create detailed setup verification and operation inspection sheets.

Models, format files, and PMI in the form of 3D annotations organized into combination states all effortlessly integrate into your TDP, thanks to the user-friendly interface.

By creating detailed information for each operation – including illustrations and instructions, not only are your engineers able to interface and upload detailed information, but with DISCUS Planner, they’ll be able to export a complete process plan. With the ability to text markup illustrations by operation, downstream applications will enjoy the annotated notes and customized information for each individual illustration. 

Reduce the time and labor associated with TDP and increase your inter-department communications with a customizable inspection method that pairs seamlessly with existing databases and terminology. By integrating a DISCUS solution, every employee — from supervisors to engineers — will have clear insight into the inspection form process necessary for FAI compliance.

Avoid these inspection planning mistakes with DISCUS

To effectively accomplish FAI, your inspection planning process needs to be comprehensive, thorough, and well-executed. You’ll want to avoid some of the common mistakes, omissions, and issues that hinder the process. Some of these observed – and costly – errors include:

  • Omitting important drawing title block requirements such as general edge breaks, concentricity requirements, and others.
  • Failure to review the marking character-by-character to the marking requirements for syntax errors.
  • Forgetting specifications listed in the drawing notes that will have a dimensional or interpretive impact on the drawing features.
  • Cleaning up or benching surfaces with tooling points that alter the native surfaces produced by the tooling, and can have a dramatic effect on the inspection results.
  • Not accounting for features that apply to multiple places on the part.

DISCUS reduces the opportunity for error by equipping your manufacturing staff with built-in checks designed to account for each and every component of FAI. By automating what is traditionally a meticulous process hindered by the need to jump between multiple platforms, your DISCUS solution saves valuable time, while ensuring that increased productivity does not come at the expense of attention to detail. 

The DISCUS strategy for safety inspection planning enables you to quickly create your inspection forms for each operation. The inspection planning solution can be configured to meet your business situation. For example, you can use in-process drawings as well as in-process characteristics (i.e., those that do not appear on the final outcome) and reconcile all of these characteristics to ensure that all requirements are addressed.

The most common solution for in-process inspections consists of selected DISCUS modules packaged into a bundle:

2D Inspection Planning Suite — DISCUS Desktop with DISCUS OCR and DISCUS Planner add-ons

Learn more about the DISCUS approach for inspection planning by visiting the DISCUS Planner pages. You can view a description of the benefits, screenshots, as well as a video demo.

For specific information on DISCUS modules, stop by our Products page, and be sure to review the pricing for the discounted bundles on the Pricing page.