First Article Inspection

First article inspection or FAI is a method for reporting the properties and measurements for a certain manufacturing process. It mainly comprises of design history and a design verification file.

Need for a First Article Inspection System for PCB

It is a standard procedure for ensuring that the design parameters which were sent to the PCB manufacturer are met by the PCB product when it is delivered. So, FAI allows for detecting changes in the PCB design parameters such as,

  • Any change in the manufacturing location of the PCB
  • Possible changes in the form, functioning, and fitting of the PCB
  • Prospective changes in the manufacturing process of the PCB
  • Any change in the production setup and manufacturing machines of the PCB
  • Possible changes in the operative skills and expertise
  • Any interruptions in the manufacturing process for long time intervals
  • Possible alterations in the expected yield
  • Possible changes in the revision factor and the age factor
Do You Still Need a PCB First Article Inspection Procedure If You Have an Approved Sample?

The first article for a PCB assembly plays a similar role to an approved sample of the PCB. Hence, the first article is a PCB sample as well. So, both the approved sample and the first article give you an idea about what you will yield through the mass production of PCB.
Having an approved sample before the initiation of production is very important. This is because it allows you to express your expectations to the manufacturer and analyze their understanding of the specifications. So, you can use approved samples for internal reference for quality control and quality assurance.
Approved samples are generally produced by the design team of your company. However, the first articles are obtained from the production lines of the manufacturer’s factory.

First Article Inspection Process

1. Preparations
In this stage, you should identify your needs and requirements. So that you may use them for specifications in the later stages. You should document these as well.
2. Inspection Plan
In this stage, you will devise a detailed plan for inspection in correspondence with the manufacturer. So, you will prepare standard documents such as a balloon part drawing. However, you will also fill AS9102 Forms 1 & 2.
3. Manufacturing
The manufacturer will work on making the PCB as per your specifications.
4. Data Collection
You will inspect the manufactured part according to your inspection plan. However, you will also keep track of the tools.
5. Generate FAI Report
We then prepare the first article inspection report. So, you will use Form 3 for this purpose.

Information to Include in Your FAI Checklist

You should include the following things in your first article testing checklist,
1. Quality
2. Quantity
3. Manufacturing Procedure
4. Equipment
5. Stencils
6. Solder Joints
7. Polarity
8. Packages
9. Electric Connections

Do You Need to Hire a Third-party for Performing FAI on Your Behalf?

No, you won’t have to. MOKO Technology is a company which believes in superior quality. So, if you place an order with us then we will perform the first article inspection process flow for you as well.

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