First article inspection, commonly referred to as FAI, is a leading means of inspecting and testing products in early stages of production to save time and money later on in development—as well as to assure that products are manufactured to specifications and quality standards and pose no safety risks.

Final article inspection is routinely practiced in industries such as aerospace, automotive and medical, which require such inspections before production can begin. These industries must follow stringent regulations to assure quality and safety.

Before mass production of a new product begins, a “first article,” or first model of the product, is manufactured. A first article inspection is then conducted comparing the dimensions of the newly made product with the dimensions specified in the product’s design.  The FAI identifies problems in the manufacturing process so they can be corrected before manufacturing begins.

For complicated products first article inspection can be an exhaustive process involving the checking of numerous dimensions. FAI software by DISCUS Software streamlines the process, minimizing the time it takes to check measurements of the first article against the technical data package (TDP), such as written specifications, 3D models and drawings.

DISCUS software helps organize the TDP to help the FAI process progress more efficiently and effectively. In addition it facilitates AS9102, PPAP and Part 820 compliance.  After the first article is manufactured, mass production of the new product is put on hold until the first article inspection process is complete and any discrepancies between the design and the manufactured product–and any other problems–are corrected. The first article inspection helps quality and manufacturing engineers find and correct any design, manufacturing and safety issues before mass production begins.

The final article inspection of one product can often require 24 hours of labor by engineers and other technical professionals. But by organizing the many aspects of a first article inspection, DISCUS software can reduce the cost and time involved–and prevent errors along the way–helping companies bring their products to market sooner. DISCUS software can, in many cases, cut the length of the FAI process by 50 percent.