The aerospace industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the world, requiring rigorous quality control measures to ensure the safety and reliability of its products. One such measure is the AS9102B, a standard that provides a comprehensive framework for first article inspection (FAI) in the aerospace sector. This article will delve into the details of AS9102B, discussing its importance, scope, and key components.
AS9102B is a standard developed by the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG), which consists of representatives from various aerospace organizations such as Boeing, Airbus, and Rolls-Royce. It is a revision of the original AS9102, which was first published in 2004. AS9102B specifically outlines the requirements for the FAI process in aerospace manufacturing.
The aerospace industry demands a high level of quality control due to the potential consequences of failure in flight-critical components. AS9102B is a crucial tool in ensuring that products meet the necessary standards before they enter service. By standardizing the FAI process, AS9102B helps to:
The standard applies to any aerospace manufacturing organization that produces parts, components, or assemblies for use in the industry. AS9102B covers the entire FAI process, from planning and documentation to the actual inspection and verification of the first article.
FAI Planning: The first step in the process requires the manufacturer to create an FAI plan, outlining the inspection requirements, methods, and criteria for the first article. This plan should be reviewed and approved by both the manufacturer and the customer.
FAI Documentation: AS9102B mandates the use of three standardized forms for the FAI process:
Form 1 – Part Number Accountability: This form captures the part number, any associated sub-tier part numbers, and the relevant design characteristics and requirements.
Form 2 – Product Accountability: This form details the materials, processes, and functional tests used in the production of the first article, along with their respective specifications and results.
Form 3 – Characteristic Accountability, Verification, and Compatibility Evaluation: This form documents the inspection results for each design characteristic, including dimensions, tolerances, and any non-conformities.
FAI Inspection: The actual inspection of the first article is a critical step in the process. It involves verifying that the manufacturing process has produced a part or assembly that conforms to the design requirements specified in the engineering drawings, specifications, and other relevant documents.
FAI Report: Upon completion of the inspection, the manufacturer must compile a comprehensive FAI report. This report should include all the relevant forms, along with any supporting documentation such as inspection records, test reports, and certificates of conformance.
FAI Approval: The FAI report must be reviewed and approved by both the manufacturer and the customer to ensure that the first article meets all the necessary requirements.
The FAI process is a vital step in aerospace manufacturing, ensuring that components meet the required quality and safety standards. However, there can be challenges and reasons for rejection when completing and submitting an FAI to an aerospace customer. Some of the common challenges and reasons for rejection include:
The use of inspection software, such as InspectionQuest, can play a significant role in overcoming challenges and common reasons for rejection in the FAI process. Here are some ways in which inspection software can help:
The AS9102B standard plays a critical role in maintaining the high levels of quality and safety required in the aerospace industry. By providing a structured and consistent approach to the FAI process, it enables manufacturers to validate their production capabilities and ensure that their products meet specifications.
To mitigate challenges and minimize the risk of FAI rejection, manufacturers should thoroughly familiarize themselves with the AS9102B standard, invest in proper training for inspection personnel, maintain open lines of communication with customers and suppliers, and continually review and update their documentation and processes to ensure accuracy and conformance.
By incorporating inspection software into the FAI process, aerospace manufacturers can streamline their workflows, improve accuracy and traceability, and enhance collaboration and communication. This can ultimately help to reduce the likelihood of rejection, ensuring that components meet the stringent quality and safety standards required in the aerospace industry. If you’re looking for an inspection software solution to help streamline your FAI process and reporting, reach out for a demo of our newest application, InspectionQuest, and take advantage of our no-cost 60-day Proof of Concept (POC) so you can see for yourself what our suite of applications can do for you.
InspectionQuest automates the creation of inspection records and the collection of inspection data so that decisions can be made quickly on the plant floor for process correction or product containment, as well as allowing the collected data to be analyzed to understand process control and capability so that key stakeholders have the data and tools necessary to implement process improvements. With standardized and scheduled inspection instructions, techniques, and sampling plans, you’ll have the data you need to both make quick decisions on the plant floor as well as to plan and execute long-term process improvement.
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