Should Your Company Use An FAI Service?

31 August 2022
 Categories: , Blog

First article inspection is a process for determining the quality of produced components and goods. It is frequently a part of how companies send specifications to manufacturers and then verify that the production lines are generating quality results.

Your firm may not have the expertise or resources to handle the process, but you can pay a third-party first article inspection service provider. Should your firm do so, though? Here are 5 reasons why a company may want to embrace FAI.

Purchase Order Requirements

One of the most common reasons for including FAI in your processes comes from purchase order requirements. For example, many government agencies, including branches of the military, require FAI in every contract. They will want evidence that your suppliers are meeting their expectations, and this often goes right down to the level of the bolts and screws. Frequently, these requirements have to meet standards established by organizations like the ISO to ensure consistency and understanding.

Limited Tolerances

Another reason for employing first article inspection methods is creating something with limited tolerances. If you have bearings in tightly pressurized systems, the tolerances may be in micrometers or even less. Even a single component that's out of spec could cause such a system to blow apart under everyday conditions.

Electrical Contact

Many systems rely on electrical contact to handle sensing and operation needs. A system might have a sensor that needs to maintain a certain level of conductivity, for example. Otherwise, there's a risk that the data won't send or will be inconsistent. First article inspection service technicians can test components to verify that they'll provide sufficient levels of contact and conductivity.


Some components also need to be almost ideally smooth to operate well. If you're using pipes that can only tolerate certain levels of turbulence and turbidity, you can't afford machining issues. Even small defects can radically destabilize the flow of fluids or gases in the pipe. This can lead to system-wide instabilities or even failures.

Companies often have such needs in the automotive, aerospace, natural resources, and medical industries. Tiny defects in a medical device, for example, could disrupt the delivery of life-saving fluids to a patient. Likewise, the patient or their surviving family members might have grounds to sue the manufacturer.

Testing Equipment

Finally, there are metrological concerns. If you create or use testing equipment, it may need to be as close to perfect as possible. In the worst scenarios, defects in the testing tools can lead to second- and third-order defects in the components, systems, and services down the line for you or your customers.