Of the various metrology solutions available from API Services, First Article Inspection (FAI) is one of the most important. FAI is the act of taking the first machined part from a new machine, design, or manufacturing process and verifying its accuracy to the 3D design model and the prototype. Ensuring the manufacturing process for parts or assembly before mass production is vital to eliminating costly wasted materials and man hours when errors are discovered later in the process.
“We encounter this a lot in the aerospace industry, but it’s applicable across manufacturing,” says Ron Hicks, API’s Vice President of North American Sales and Services. “We had a panel for an airplane wing that was designed aftermarket as part of a Maintenance Reliability Organization. We had to do a FAI because they wanted to ensure that this first part off the line met with their design intent, that it was within tolerance. We go through a pretty detailed process to make sure the part is dimensionally correct, compare it to their drawing in a very specific way.”
API Services’ FAI process can verify manufacturing equipment and machining for stamping, molding, fabricating, 3D printing, and additive manufacturing processes. Using the state-of-the-art Radian Laser Tracker Series, combined with the API Arm and other scanning and probing accessories, API Services’ experienced team of engineers can conduct FAI at their Newport News facility, onsite, or even at a third-party location to calculate tooling “buy-off” of parts and equipment sourced from a vendor.