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First article inspection

First part inspection, also known as "First Article Inspection" (FAI), is a critical step in quality control in the manufacturing of automotive parts. It involves conducting a thorough inspection of the first part produced in a new manufacturing order or process.

The purpose of the first part inspection is to ensure that the characteristics, dimensions, and performance of the part comply with the required specifications before commencing mass production.

Here are the typical steps of a First Piece Inspection:

Specification verification

Review the detailed specifications of the part, including dimensions, tolerances, materials, mechanical properties, etc. Verify that all features are clearly defined and understandable.

Equipment and instrument selection

Identify the necessary measuring instruments and equipment for the inspection. This may include calipers, micrometers, gauges, profile projectors, measuring arms, coordinate measuring machines (CMMs), 3D scanners, dynamometers, etc.

Establishment of acceptance criteria

Set clear acceptance criteria for each measured feature. This may include tolerance limits, target values, functional specifications, etc.

Dimensional inspection

Use appropriate measuring instruments to verify the dimensions of the part. Compare the measurements to the specifications to ensure compliance. This may involve measurements of length, diameter, angle, flatness, surface roughness, etc.

Shape verification

Perform a comprehensive inspection of the part using a 3D scanner to detect any defects that may be invisible to the naked eye, such as undercuts, machining marks, deformations, etc.

Functional verification

If the part has specific functionalities, conduct functional tests to verify that it meets the performance requirements. This may include strength tests, pressure tests, mechanical operation tests, etc.

Inspection report

Document all inspection results, including measurements, observations, and any detected defects. Prepare a detailed inspection report to record all relevant information.

Approval or adjustments

Based on the inspection results, decide whether the first piece is compliant and can be accepted for mass production. If non-conformities are detected, determine the necessary adjustments, such as process corrections, design modifications, etc.
Specification verification
Equipment selection
First article inspection
Zenith report
Approval adjustment on plastic part injection machine

What are the advantages of a 3D scanner for first piece inspection?

What are the advantages of a measuring arm for first piece inspection?

By using a 3D scanner and a measuring arm for the first piece inspection, it is possible to benefit from the speed and accuracy of the 3D scanner in capturing complex geometry, as well as the dimensional accuracy and flexibility of the measuring arm for precise measurements. This combination allows for a comprehensive and accurate evaluation of the first piece and enables quick decision-making to ensure compliance with specifications.

One of our customers bought a measuring arm and use it for first article inspection. Discover how he is using it for first article inspection.

Discover Case studY
Use of the Ace measuring arm on automotive plastic parts
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