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PCBA first article inspection: what is it? why we need it?

PCBA first article inspection

The first thing that might have come to your mind at the mention of the first article inspection could be an assessment of a chapter of an article or the use of vocabulary in writing. Well, you are not totally wrong as the First article inspection deals with the inspection of products being manufactured, for example, PCBA first article inspection. The aim is to make sure the product meets every requirement of the consumer.

However, there are important elements of PCBA first article inspection. They include the benefits of first article inspection, when an FAI is carried out, and Who the performers of the PCBA first article inspection are. These elements are discussed below.

What is a First Article Inspection?

A First Article Inspection (FAI) is a thorough examination of the engineering files and production of one to five products chosen from the first mass production. Randomly selected pieces serve as a sample for the remainder of the production run. The process is handled by the manufacturers, who check to see if the products exactly fit the specifications provided by the client. FAIs are quite detailed.What is a First Article Inspection?
Manufacturers will assess several elements, including sizes and dimensions, tools, designs, and materials, and compare them to the demands of the consumer. The following situations necessitate carrying out the inspections: This information is on the purchase order, which serves as the inspection’s primary point of reference.

When the parts under inspection are good, it will be expected that all remaining parts will be good if the inspected parts were manufactured to the exact specifications of the customer. For both the consumer and the supplier (manufacturer) of a part, a First Article is significant.

What are the benefits of a PCBA first article inspection?

benefits of a PCBA first article inspection
It is important to note that manufacturing any product requires precision and accuracy. When producing a product, one needs to make sure that every description and requirement of the consumer is thoroughly met in the product. For example, if an automobile company asks you to manufacture a part of a truck. If any part of the product does not meet up with the standards of your customer or the measurement or sizes are wrong. Imagine you discover this after you have produced all the products. You will have to remanufacture the products again. This will undoubtedly slow production and waste resources.

Now, this sort of expensive error can be avoided by first article inspection. FAI allows you to detect manufacturing errors thereby preventing the production of low standards or incorrect products. Making a precise FAI report can also reassure clients that their items will be produced effectively and precisely according to their standards. Then, you can have faith in your method for mass production.

What is the purpose of a first article inspection?

The main reason for FAI is to make sure the manufacturer meets the design intents and product standards of a buyer. The objective of the first article inspection is to make sure that design, engineering, and specification requirements of a customer are thoroughly followed. FAI ensures that products are manufactured to the stipulated intentions of the supplier. However, first-article inspections are conducted more than once for the following reasons.
purpose of a first article inspection●A change in the location of the manufacturing of the product.
●If The manufacturing, testing, or designing process is changed.
●A factor that could be natural or man-made that adversely affects the production of the item.
●A major change in manufacturing the products.
●A change in the important human resources like process engineer, buyer, or quality assurance engineer during producing the items.
●Changes in vendors of supplied items could have an age or revision factor.
●A break occurs during the manufacturing of the items.
●Manufacturing assembly, test processes, or inspection have changed.

What does the first article inspection include in the PCB assembly process?

PCBA first article inspection ideally should involve different stages. Each stage is important in making suppliers know that their requirements have been met on the first production. The PCBA first article inspection process involves thorough documentation. A manufacturer should be looking at 4 stages when carrying out the first-time inspection.

Inspection plan: this is the first stage of the first article inspection. It starts with the manufacturer adding a balloon which includes unique numbers to the drawing of a part. This drawing can be added through software to make the work easier. An inspection plan should also have a table of requirements. This table is an important part of FAIR (First Article Inspection Report).
Measurable attribute: this includes the verification of measurable values like dimensions, voltages, and resistance.
Documentation Clarity: the source of confusion after the circuit board manufacturing is caused mostly because of documentation requirements
Errors in manufacturing: Any issues that develop throughout the assembly process must be analyzed for revisions and fixes. Component insertion troubles and soldering concerns fall under this category.
Supplier validation: Installed components and materials should be checked to see if they fit the supplier’s specifications. These consist of cables, wiring harnesses, sheet metal, and subassemblies.

Who performs first article inspection?

First-time inspection is important but it is not carried out by just anybody. So who are the people that conduct the first article inspection? The Suppliers are in charge of carrying out the first article inspection while the purchaser views the reports.

When should first article inspection be done?

If the manufacturing procedure required to make the part changes, an PCBA first article inspection ought to be carried out as well. For efficiency’s sake, the production process could alter even though the part’s specs stay the same. To make sure that all standards are still met despite modifications to the production process, a PCBA First Article Inspection must be performed. Not only should an FAI be finished if a part changes, but also if the production process that was used to manufacture the part changes. For instance, the part’s requirements might stay the same, but an efficient production process might be changed.

To guarantee that all standards are still met, production process adjustments must be confirmed. By doing this, the chance that the customer may reject the part due to nonconformity is reduced. Article Individual components and complete assemblies are subject to inspections. An PCBA first article inspection should be performed if a sub-component inside an assembly is modified to ensure that it operates as needed. All the design attributes listed on the assembly design documentation would have to be verified for an assembly FAI.

What are the reference standards for the first-time article inspection?

The First Article Inspection (FAI) documentation is standardized by the 9102 standards for use in the aerospace, defense, and space industries. The standard covers production methods for everything from minor electrical components to substantial structural systems.


The PCBA first inspection is an essential mechanism in the production and processing process of PCBA contracted work and materials. It is usually carried out before the mass production of PCBA processing and before the production of different products in each shift. Comprehensive testing is carried out on the first or first few products of production and processing. The first piece detection can effectively reduce the production defects in PCBA processing and improve the product pass-through rate.

IBE electronic company is a one-stop PCBA manufacturer, providing PCB manufacturing, PCB design,PCB prototype, PCB assembly and PCBA testing, PCBA first article inspection, and so on.Feel free to contact IBE if need.



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