Quality Q&A : What are the differences between first article, in-process and pre-shipment inspections?
Cesar H. Mariscal, Assistant Operations Manager, Pro QC International
First Article Inspection (FAI) –
This is one of the primary methods for inspection and testing of a product or parts/components. The pre-production inspection and testing is considered essential in the process of approving the parts/components/products, and it determines if the part/component/product meets manufacturing requirements and quality control requirements.
The purpose of the FAI is to give objective evidence that all engineering, designs and specification requirements are clearly understood, accounted for, verified and recorded. A complete, independent and documented physical and functional inspection process to verify that prescribed production methods have produced acceptable items as specified by engineering drawings, purchase order, engineering specifications, and /or other applicable design documents.
In-Process Inspection (IPI) –
This is normally performed after the FAI. It is performed to monitor that the established production methodology and technique are being followed, to verify manufacturing process can flow smoothly towards meeting the product’s engineering specifications requirements and reliability.
On this stage of inspection, each process is verified and recorded for early detection of errors and deficiency in the process that might lead to a product’s nonconformity, allowing for corrections enabling the product to continue its flow through the manufacturing process. An IPI will be conducted between 20% - 40% of the products being produced in the production line.
Pre-Shipment Inspection (PSI) –
This is a reliable quality control method for checking the good’s quality throughout the relationship with the supplier. The PSI happens when the products are 100% completed from the production line and 80% of the products, parts and components are packaged.
This inspection is to be carried out under the industry sampling standard, the ANSI / ASQ Z1.4-2008 TABLE I for Single Normal Sampling Plan, Doubling Sampling Plan, Tightened Sampling Plan and Reduced Sampling Plan methods or any Sampling Plan methodology to be given by the client. The sample size will be determined from these Sampling Plan based on the shipping lot and it will be randomly selected from the submitted shipping lot.