First article inspection (FAI) is a process to validate your manufacturing process can produce an item that meets the requirements as designed. In the aerospace and defense industries in the U.S. most companies are conducting AS9102 first article inspections. Other industries also use inspections to validate their manufacturing processes, but they vary from company to company with the format and when in the production process they are completed.
AS9102 is the SAE requirement (written by the International Aerospace Quality Group, IAQG) that governs first articles in the Americas. The AS9102 standard defines first article inspection as, “A planned, complete, independent, and documented inspection and verification process to ensure that prescribed production processes have produced an item conforming to engineering drawings, DPD, planning, purchase order, engineering specifications, and/or other applicable design documents. (Ref 9102 Rev B, Sec 3.10.) The first article inspection report, “The forms and package of documentation for a part number, sub-assembly, or assembly, including associated FAI results, as defined by this standard.” (Ref 9102 Rev B, Sec 3.11.)