First Article Acceptance FAI Letter and related Letters of Approval

M

Mgoul

#1
I am interested in hearing different viewpoints regarding first article inspections (FAI)and related letters of approval.

Recently, we have had a few suppliers send us a 5 or 10 piece sample along with an FAI form requesting that we inspect and approve their material before they proceed with a manufacturing run. There is often verbiage that seems to indicate an acceptance of liability on our part if we sign the form.

I still consider myself new to the incoming inspection process but I didn't run into this issue at all for the first 3.5 years or so. Now it feels as if some of our suppliers expect us to do their quality assurance work for them.

I am dealing with engineers in our supply line management group and supervision in the quality group that don't seem to see the problem here. So I hope that the fine people here at Elsmar Cove can provide some insight. Either to show me the error of my ways or to assist me in communicating more effectively with personnel here who disagree.
 
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Coury Ferguson

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#2
Re: First Article Acceptance Letter

I am interested in hearing different viewpoints regarding first article inspections (FAI)and related letters of approval.

Recently, we have had a few suppliers send us a 5 or 10 piece sample along with an FAI form requesting that we inspect and approve their material before they proceed with a manufacturing run. There is often verbiage that seems to indicate an acceptance of liability on our part if we sign the form.

I still consider myself new to the incoming inspection process but I didn't run into this issue at all for the first 3.5 years or so. Now it feels as if some of our suppliers expect us to do their quality assurance work for them.

I am dealing with engineers in our supply line management group and supervision in the quality group that don't seem to see the problem here. So I hope that the fine people here at Elsmar Cove can provide some insight. Either to show me the error of my ways or to assist me in communicating more effectively with personnel here who disagree.

The fact here is that the Supplier is responsible for the product/service they provide, not the Customer.

For example: We receive castings from a Supplier, and a First Article is Performed (FAI). The castings meet the blueprint to a tee, therefore the FAI is accepted. However, further down the manufacturing process, it is found that there is porosity or hard spots in the casting. Even though the casting meets the print at the time of approval of the casting, it still becomes non-conforming later down the processes.

My point here is that no matter if the FAI is approved, the supplier is still responsible for their product/service that has been procured.

If, it would make you get that warm fuzzy feeling, put in the Letter of Acceptance: that the parts meet the blueprint specifications, however in the event that during the manufacturing process, there is a non-conformity found, the FAI and all sub parts will be rejected and you (supplier) are still responsible.

Just my thoughts.
 
U

Umang Vidyarthi

#3
I am interested in hearing different viewpoints regarding first article inspections (FAI)and related letters of approval.

Recently, we have had a few suppliers send us a 5 or 10 piece sample along with an FAI form requesting that we inspect and approve their material before they proceed with a manufacturing run. There is often verbiage that seems to indicate an acceptance of liability on our part if we sign the form.
I still consider myself new to the incoming inspection process but I didn't run into this issue at all for the first 3.5 years or so. Now it feels as if some of our suppliers expect us to do their quality assurance work for them.

I am dealing with engineers in our supply line management group and supervision in the quality group that don't seem to see the problem here. So I hope that the fine people here at Elsmar Cove can provide some insight. Either to show me the error of my ways or to assist me in communicating more effectively with personnel here who disagree.
First & foremost you have to have a clarity in your mind about the difference between First Article Inspection and routine Incoming inspection. The FAI has to be thorough inclusive of tests upto the end use. Once given the approval on the basis of FAI, the customer looses his right for inclusion of anything resulting from poste-mortem analysis, if any. For that he will have to issue a revision.

On the other end, the supplier is bound to ensure the quality he has supplied at the time of FAI. He is fully responsible for any deviation, and can not seek shelter under the FAI umbrella.

The fact here is that the Supplier is responsible for the product/service they provide, not the Customer.

For example: We receive castings from a Supplier, and a First Article is Performed (FAI). The castings meet the blueprint to a tee, therefore the FAI is accepted. However, further down the manufacturing process, it is found that there is porosity or hard spots in the casting. Even though the casting meets the print at the time of approval of the casting, it still becomes non-conforming later down the processes.
Please allow me to disagree with you on this. If the porosity & hard spots are not objected to in your FAI acceptance, and they did exist in the samples sent for FAI, then legally they are acceptable to you. You looe your right to make a case of it with your supplier.

My point here is that no matter if the FAI is approved, the supplier is still responsible for their product/service that has been procured.
Only upto the point of whatever was sample supply for FAI.

If, it would make you get that warm fuzzy feeling, put in the Letter of Acceptance: that the parts meet the blueprint specifications, however in the event that during the manufacturing process, there is a non-conformity found, the FAI and all sub parts will be rejected and you (supplier) are still responsible.

Just my thoughts.
Doese not apply in the light of foregoing. The supplier is responsible to match the quality with the samples submitted for FAI, nothing more nothing less.

Umang :2cents:
 
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Coury Ferguson

Moderator here to help
Trusted Information Resource
#4
Please allow me to disagree with you on this. If the porosity & hard spots are not objected to in your FAI acceptance, and they did exist in the samples sent for FAI, then legally they are acceptable to you. You looe your right to make a case of it with your supplier.

Umang :2cents:
It is ok to disagree here. However, the hard spots and porosity didn't show up until the parts were machined (taking a few thousands [.00x] or hundreds [.0x] off). Could also be considered "Cold Shut" and Porosity.

These nonconformities would not be known until the machining process, therefore the Supplier is still responsible for their product.
 
#5
Which standard is involved here? I'm guessing that it is AS9100B. AS9100B has the two famous "anti wank" clauses that would keep a supplier from side-stepping his responsibilities.

Further, no matter what the standard, why would you want to give your supplier a loop-hole? I see no value to you in signing off some of your rights.
 
U

Umang Vidyarthi

#6
It is ok to disagree here. However, the hard spots and porosity didn't show up until the parts were machined (taking a few thousands [.00x] or hundreds [.0x] off). Could also be considered "Cold Shut" and Porosity.

These nonconformities would not be known until the machining process, therefore the Supplier is still responsible for their product.
Coury, you are right on the dot, and this exactly is the point I tried to communicate. The FAI has got to be thorough, and in the incident quoted by you, these defects should have surfaced in the FAI, period. If they went undetected then the onus of responsibility (IMO) lies squarely with the customer.

Umang :cool:
 
#7
Coury, you are right on the dot, and this exactly is the point I tried to communicate. The FAI has got to be thorough, and in the incident quoted by you, these defects should have surfaced in the FAI, period. If they went undetected then the onus of responsibility (IMO) lies squarely with the customer.

Umang :cool:
NO! The responsibility is still with the SUPPLIER. The responsibility is only transferred if the customer permits it to be transferred, a foolish act.
 
M

Mgoul

#8
Thank you for all the responses. This thread has demonstrated the issue I am trying to avoid with my suppliers.

Now I need help explaining this scenario to the engineers and supervision here at my company.

To further complicate the issue. We are not able to effectively inspect 100% of the features called out in our drawings. We deal with a wide variety of materials ranging from castings, molds and machined parts to electronic circuit board assemblies.

Our inspection staff is small and our equipment is not adequate for performing true FAIs on the majority of our parts. Our inspection model has always been to inspect a portion of the features we are capable of checking simply to ensure supplier vigilance.

With my limited resources, focusing on supplier development is more effective then trying to screen for defects in the incoming inspection area.
 

Coury Ferguson

Moderator here to help
Trusted Information Resource
#9
Thank you for all the responses. This thread has demonstrated the issue I am trying to avoid with my suppliers.

Now I need help explaining this scenario to the engineers and supervision here at my company.

To further complicate the issue. We are not able to effectively inspect 100% of the features called out in our drawings. We deal with a wide variety of materials ranging from castings, molds and machined parts to electronic circuit board assemblies.

Our inspection staff is small and our equipment is not adequate for performing true FAIs on the majority of our parts. Our inspection model has always been to inspect a portion of the features we are capable of checking simply to ensure supplier vigilance.

With my limited resources, focusing on supplier development is more effective then trying to screen for defects in the incoming inspection area.
Some people outsource their FAI, when the resources and equipment is thin. This might be an alternative while you are developing your Suppliers.
 

Coury Ferguson

Moderator here to help
Trusted Information Resource
#10
Coury, you are right on the dot, and this exactly is the point I tried to communicate. The FAI has got to be thorough, and in the incident quoted by you, these defects should have surfaced in the FAI, period. If they went undetected then the onus of responsibility (IMO) lies squarely with the customer.

Umang :cool:
I don't believe I ever stated that it was the Customer's responsibility.

There is no way these defects would have surfaced during the FAI, they were accepted to the Casting drawing, based upon the dimensional and specification requirements.

It still does not relieve the Supplier the responsibility to provide acceptable products.
 
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