Standards which apply to first article inspection are produced by the following four standards bodies.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a non-governmental standard-setting organization and the world’s largest designer of voluntary international standards. ISO was formed in 1947 when 25 delegates from countries around the world came together to form an organization “to facilitate the international coordination and unification of industrial standards.”
Headquartered in Switzerland, ISO currently has 165 national members that meet on an annual basis to discuss the organization’s strategic goals. ISO is coordinated by a Central Secretariat, as well as governed by a council comprised of 20 rotating members. ISO’s main focus is to ensure quality, efficiency, and safety by developing world-class standards for products, services, and systems.
ISO has released 19,500 international standards that cover industries such as technology, agriculture, healthcare, etc. ISO has helped create the standards for First Article Inspections to ensure that manufacturing processes world-wide are held to the same specifications.
The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is a non-profit, non-governmental standard-setting organization for all electrical, electronic or electrotechnical technology. IEC was established in 1906 and is today’s leading organization for setting standards for all electrotechnology.
The IEC currently has 82 national committees that form its governing council. In turn, each national committee appoints delegates and experts who participate in developing international electrotechnical standards. IEC is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and cooperates with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to ensure that their international standards supplement each other well.
Over 10,000 experts from government, industry, commerce, and consumer groups work in IEC Standardization work. IEC has helped develop standards for First Article Inspections to ensure that the electrotechnical side of manufacturing processes worldwide is held to the same specifications of quality, efficiency, and safety.
The International Accreditation Forum (IAF) is an international association of Conformity Assessment Accreditation bodies that focus on conformity assessments in fields such as management systems, products, services, personnel, etc. IAF was established with the intent of developing a singular program for conformity assessment internationally.
The IAF is governed by IAF member countries that lay down governing policies for IAF. The Board of Directors and the Secretary of the IAF are responsible for legal actions, as well as creating policy directions for the IAF. The two main functions the IAF performs are to ensure that its accreditation bodies accrediting those who are competent and hold no conflict of interests, and to establish multilateral recognition arrangements (MLAs) that ensure mutual recognition of accredited bodies. These functions ensure that a single conformity assessment system is formed internationally.
IAF has helped form standards for First Article Inspections to ensure that international specifications for conformity assessment are consistent worldwide.
The International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) began as a conference in 1977 with the intent of creating international cooperation for facilitating trade through the promotion of laboratory and inspection accreditation. It wasn’t until 1996 that the ILAC became an official cooperation to establish mutual recognition agreements for accreditation bodies in an effort to form an international network.
Today, ILAC is comprised of 36 members from laboratory accreditation bodies worldwide. The main purpose of accreditation bodies is to ensure that conformity assessment bodies are subject to oversight. With the help of international standards, this function helps reduce technical barriers in international trade because foreign governments and other bodies can trust calibration and test results, inspection reports and certifications.
The ILAC has helped form standards for First Article Inspections in order that foreign governments can trust the products and services we wish to trade with them.