What is First Article Inspection
First article inspection (FAI) is a process that involves the thorough inspection of the initial PCBs produced from the mass production line. The purpose of this inspection is twofold: to ensure that the manufactured PCBs meet the customer’s specified requirements and to verify the accuracy and capability of the manufacturing process.
The first article inspection can be conducted by the customer, either by visiting the manufacturing facility or by having the PCBs delivered to them for inspection. Alternatively, it can be performed by the manufacturer at their own facility. In some cases, the inspection can also be carried out online, where photographic samples and testing results are shared with the customer.
The main objective of the first article inspection is to assess the PCB assembly process’s ability to produce high-quality yields on a mass scale. It identifies and resolves any defects or issues that may arise during the manufacturing process. Even if pre-production samples or prototypes have been previously tested, the FAI is still necessary. This is because prototypes are manufactured using a different process and are not representative of the PCBs produced on the mass production line.
By conducting the FAI, both the customer and the manufacturer can ensure that the PCBs meet the required specifications and quality standards before proceeding with full-scale production. Any identified issues can be addressed and resolved, ensuring a smooth and efficient assembly process.