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First Article Inspection

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First Article Inspection (FAI)

The first article inspection process is critical in your PCBA manufacturing process. When your PCBA assembly sets up your design to manufacture units to your defined specifications, professionals typically consider the first print circuit board as “first article” production.

1. What Is First Article Inspection?

The First Article Inspection mechanism refers to an error prevention mechanism to prevent batch accidents. That can reduce the risk of wrong parts, reduce errors, and effectively improve the whole production quality. This way is the first article inspection mechanism (FAI – First Article Inspection)

A “first article” is not a sample or a pre-production prototype of PCBA, as they typically use a different fabricating process or equipment. First, PCBAs are also not necessarily the first devices to come off the PCB assembly line. They may involve the inspection of a random sample of the first assembly production. Assessment at this early stage indicates whether the production engineer or technician understands and considers your requirements and incorporates them into the standard manufacturing process.

2. What Is The Requirement Of The First Piece Inspection?

The first inspection adopts three systems: self-inspection, mutual inspection, and special inspection.

The products sent for inspection must be firstly inspected by the operator for “self-inspection,” and then by the team leader or colleagues for “mutual inspection,” and finally, a “special inspection” is performed by an inspector to make sure it passes before continuing to process subsequent products.

After the first inspection is qualified, the full-time inspector should approve the last assessment. The inspector who inspected the first qualified product should be marked with the required mark and maintained until the class or a batch of products is processed. All the first products must be left as samples of the follow-up product comparison to see if the process has changed and marked with a marker “√ ” to show that through the first inspection piece.

The first inspection failed, the need to identify the causes, measures to eliminate the fault after processing again, three checks until qualified before technicians set the first piece.

3. Why First Article Inspection?

The vital purpose of the first inspection:

1) The first inspection in the production process mainly prevents the product from appearing in batches of super poor, rework, and scrap. It is a means of pre-emptive control of product production, a primary production process, and a quality control method. It is a proven and effective way to ensure product quality and improve economic efficiency.

2) The first inspection is to determine the factors affecting product quality in the production process as early as possible to prevent the batch of bad or scrap.

3) The first inspection before entering formal production is mainly to prevent the occurrence of unqualified batch products.

4) Long-term practical experience has proved that the first inspection system detects problems early to prevent the product batch scrap from effective measures. You can find severe wear and tear of fixtures or installation and positioning errors through the first inspection. Measuring instrument accuracy deterioration, wrong drawings, feeding or formulation errors, and other systemic reasons to take corrective or improvement measures to prevent the occurrence of batch rejects.

4. Conclusion

Once we complete the First Article Inspection, we will provide the appropriate inspection report for the first board. Our engineers will make recommendations on handling errors to ensure that your PCB design features will fully match the performance of your product and project.

In this way, you can ensure that we produce each board according to the same process and functionally consistent.


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