What is a First Article Inspection?
“A First Article Inspection Report (FAIR) is a formal method of providing a measurement report for a given manufacturing process. The method consists of measuring the properties and geometry of an initial sample item against given specifications, for example a drawing. Items to be checked in a FAIR are wide and varied and may include distances between edges, positions of holes, diameters and shapes of holes, weight, density, stiffness, color, reflectance or surface finish. Despite the name, the inspected article may not necessarily be the ‘first’ produced. First article inspection is typically called for in a contract between the producer and buyer of some manufactured article, to ensure that the production process reliably produces what is intended.
Depending on the type of product and the governing specification, a first article inspection may be conducted by a dimensional inspection laboratory (DIL) using a variety of tools such as coordinate-measuring machines (CMM), cmm/vision systems and programmable 3-axis measurement systems.
First article inspections are commonplace for military subcontractors. The protocol is, however, being adopted in many non-military manufacturing industries, particularly aerospace, automotive and medical manufacturing.”