FAI (First Article Inspection) Responsibility - QC or Engineering?

gjkoenig

Starting to get Involved
#1
Hello,

I am a new QA Manager to an ISO 9001:2008 company that builds aviation test equipment. For electronic and mechanical components, the current FAI procedure requires the vendor to supply the FAI data, which is then reviewed by the QC Inspector and then forwarded to Engineering. I do not see and issue for FAI testing of the vendor supplied electrical sub-assemblies since our Electrical Engineering has adequate capability and equipment.

For mechanical parts, however, the QC Inspector, nor does Mechanical Engineering, have the equipment to perform a complete FAI inspection. We must rely on the FAI Report from the vendor to state if the parts mechanically pass or fail.

Currently, the QC Inspector will initially verify if the FAI report and CoC is present with the shipment, and then measure what dimensions that they are able to. The parts are then forwarded to the ME who will do much of the same before approving the FAI. There are no instructions as to what dimension(s) should be measured, its a best effort depending upon the type of feature.

My first question is if it is acceptable to rely on the vendor to perform the FAI measurements and not verify this in-house? If not, do we have to invest in the metrology equipment and should the FAI inspection be the responsibility of QC or Engineering?

As always, your inputs are greatly appreciated.

gjkoenig
 
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Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#2
I suppose the real answer is that it depends. Probably one of those risk based things popular these days.

But in regards to who should be responsible, QC or Eng. Something we have experienced way too much. Even though they drew it, Engineering usually has no clue how to measure it. They usually punt to quality. And they don't know either. It's never brought up in design. Only after we ask, so we know what to do.
 

DRAMMAN

Quite Involved in Discussions
#3
Every company handles this differently. It depends on your level of risk acceptance, skills, experience with the supplier, consequences from recalls, etc. This is a hot topic with my current employer. I have also been involved in this process at large and small companies in the automotive and telcom industries.

My current employer for years had their mechanical engineering team handle supplier qualification. As can be expected, their inspection knowledge was poor. Plus, their level of expectations was far short of a best-in-class supplier quality function. No CpK analysis, only checked 3 samples, did not retain the data, if supplier did not submit data they never followed-up, etc. Most decisions revolved around ensuring the project schedules were hit. As you can expect, there has been lots of supplier defects and reworking in production. I am slowly moving the company in the direction of adopting PPAP.

Many companies no longer employee a full inspection capability and therefore must rely on the supplier to do the inspection. If you are in this situation I would recommend employing at least 1 QE who has the experience and knowledge to review a supplier FAI report so you can challenge the supplier's results. Ask the supplier who they performed each inspection. As an example, if they say they measured as ground feature with a .0001" tolerance with a caliper then you need to challenge that. As the supplier for a control plan and/or process flow document.

When I worked at an automotive and Telcom OEM final FAI approval was given by the SQE. We did not repeat the supplier's inspections. Engineering would have already tested their samples months prior. Engineering is more concerned with does the design work. The SQE need sot be concerned with if the supplier has a capable process and can continually provide a quality product.

In all you cases, you should be come as familiar with your supplier through audits and process reviews as you possibly can.

Personally, I feel final supplier approval from a quality perspective should be given from a well trained and experienced Supplier Quality function utilizing a well defined and documented process.
 

dsanabria

Quite Involved in Discussions
#4
Hello,

I am a new QA Manager to an ISO 9001:2008 company that builds aviation test equipment. For electronic and mechanical components, the current FAI procedure requires the vendor to supply the FAI data, which is then reviewed by the QC Inspector and then forwarded to Engineering. I do not see and issue for FAI testing of the vendor supplied electrical sub-assemblies since our Electrical Engineering has adequate capability and equipment.

For mechanical parts, however, the QC Inspector, nor does Mechanical Engineering, have the equipment to perform a complete FAI inspection. We must rely on the FAI Report from the vendor to state if the parts mechanically pass or fail.

Currently, the QC Inspector will initially verify if the FAI report and CoC is present with the shipment, and then measure what dimensions that they are able to. The parts are then forwarded to the ME who will do much of the same before approving the FAI. There are no instructions as to what dimension(s) should be measured, its a best effort depending upon the type of feature.

My first question is if it is acceptable to rely on the vendor to perform the FAI measurements and not verify this in-house? If not, do we have to invest in the metrology equipment and should the FAI inspection be the responsibility of QC or Engineering?

As always, your inputs are greatly appreciated.

gjkoenig
first - the FAI is to approve a process (internally or externally)

Second - all dimensions must be inspected to the requirements of the customer or B/P

Third - If you are not comfortable that your supplier is competent, then find a third party to do the inspection or visit the supplier.

At the end of the day - it is a team that verifies the process effectiveness.
 
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