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First Article Inspection (FAI)

A digital checklist makes it easier to detect deviations during initial sample inspection, thus avoiding costly production delays.

See our ready-made templates:

First Article Inspection Report Template

The first article inspection report template is used to document the manufacturing process of a new product.

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First Article Inspection Checklist Template

Use this first article inspection checklist to ensure that your FAI report is properly documented.

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What is a first article inspection checklist?

A First Article Inspection (FAI) checklist, is used for the examination of a first article. In the sampling process for acceptances of production parts and products, the first article inspection is an elementary quantity. This involves checking whether a product from the first production run meets design requirements.

However, quality managers also perform initial sampling when there is a 2-year production backlog or when there are significant changes to the product, including design, manufacturing source/process, manufacturing location, tooling/materials, or computer program that affect fit, form, or function. Typically, a checklist is used for the initial sample inspection.

In the resulting report, responsibilities for product characteristics are documented. Such checklist testing can reduce costly production delays by ensuring that manufacturing processes produce a result that meets design requirements.

This article addresses the following:

1. Conditions of an initial sample inspection

2. Causes for an initial sample inspection

3. The importance of an initial sample checklist

4. The benefits of a digital FAI checklist

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Conditions of a first article inspection

In order to effectively test a first article sample, the conditions must be exactly the same as those for mass production. Initial samples are important in order to obtain approval of the product for production as a series part and its delivery. For this purpose, the initial sample must originate from a representative production run:

  1. From the final production site
  2. With a production time of one hour to one shift
  3. Include the agreed quantity
  4. Complete under standard conditions

Furthermore, the initial sample inspection means for producer and client that the following items correspond to the final series status:

  1. Employees
  2. Materials
  3. Tools, manufacturing and testing equipment
  4. Processes and process settings (e.g., speed, pressure & temperature, cycle times, etc.)
  5. Environmental conditions

Instances for an initial sample inspection

There are various scenarios under which contractors must conduct an initial sample inspection to meet their obligations to the customer. Basically, they all relate to factors that have an impact on the product (part):

  • For a new product(part) that has never been shipped

  • When troubleshooting a product(-part) that has already been released.

  • In the case of an overhauled product part due to changes in specifications or drawings.

  • When designs or materials other than those approved are used.

  • When new or modified tooling, additional or replacement tooling (except prototype tooling) is used.

  • When tools have been overhauled or repositioned.

  • When tooling repairs are made.

  • When manufacturing processes or methods are changed

  • When tooling or manufacturing equipment is moved to another facility

  • When tooling or manufacturing equipment comes from another plant

  • When services, materials or suppliers change

  • When tools that have been shut down are re-released (over 24 months)

  • On recommissioning of tools shut down due to quality problems

The importance of a first article checklist

There are so many occasions why a first article inspection becomes necessary again and again. All the better if a checklist can be used to document the evaluations more clearly. In addition, the responsible persons are listed exactly what sue have to examine or what they have to pay attention to, as for example:

  • Are there any errors?

  • Can the agreements with the buyers be kept?

  • What is the quality of the product?

With the help of a checklist, no check will be forgotten! In addition,

  • larger tasks can be divided into smaller subtasks

  • in case of illness, easily show colleagues what to do

  • and stressful situations are avoided, because everything that needs to be done is on the checklist.

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Benefits of a digital FAI checklist

With Lumiform's mobile app and desktop software, quality auditors streamline their FAI documentation and reporting. This improves product quality and avoids costly production delays

With Lumiform, problems are reported in an instant and corrective actions are quickly assigned to responsible colleagues. Easy communication with all team members and third-party vendors enables internal processes to be improved and emerging defects to be resolved up to four times faster. In addition, with the powerful inspection app, quality inspectors can:

  • Convert any custom paper list into digital checklists within minutes using the flexible form builder.

  • Get started digitally quickly and securely thanks to a library of pre-made templates.

  • Perform any initial sample inspection on site with the super intuitive mobile application in a team in a foolproof and time-saving way.

  • Automatically generate a report containing all audit results and send it to stakeholders.

  • Discover inefficient areas in production more quickly thanks to extensive analysis and thus continuously improve audit processes.

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