Most Engineers are Still Wasting Time on FAI Reports CADimensions SOLIDWORKS

First article Inspection is a method of communicating the measurements from manufacturing to the drawing in order to verify if the manufactured part meets the tolerances.  This process is a collaborative effort between the supplier and purchaser.  FAI can also be called PPAP (Production Part Approval Process) depending on what industry you are in.

When discussing FAI reports, commonly referred to as AS9102 forms, it’s very apparent that time is getting wasted compared to the ideal process.  Let’s discuss the top issues that waste time.

1. Ballooning by Hand

We know that manual ballooning is an art form and using stencils for perfect circles is a common part of it.   There is Inspection specific software that can automatically balloon the entire print for you.  Knowing that, why would you waste the time drawing circles by hand for hours on end?

2. Entering values into Excel

Once you’re done drawing circles by hand, manually entering all of those values into Excel is a time-consuming process that could be better spent doing something else.  It’s very common to fat-finger while typing which can result in issues downstream.  Getting a tool that can automatically generate the report with the correct data in the drawing without any Excel effort is a huge time saving, not to mention all the issues it will eliminate.

3. More Data Input for CMM

When you run your CMM report the only way to correlate the data to the report is to manually enter it in, right?  Fortunately, that’s not true, SOLIDWORKS Inspection, for example, can read CMM reports and automatically correlate the data to the respective characteristic.  This eliminates the need for someone to input the manufactured values into the FAI report.

4. Delta FAI Report

In a perfect world everything would be perfect the first time, unfortunately, that is not the case.  A delta FAI report is the difference between the original report and the revised drawing.  This means that two drawings and reports are required for one part.  Some purchasers will not accept a delta report and you are forced to start over from scratch.  Wouldn’t it be nice to maintain all the characteristics that didn’t change during the revision and just add/delete the new/removed ones?  That is where software can help you and go as far as automatically doing it for you.  Can you imagine not only the time this will save but the headache as well?  Eliminating delta reports as a whole is a huge goal for companies.

5. Requesting a PDF

I understand this is how we have done it for many many years but as manufacturing relies more on software for their work we should be utilizing more content-rich file formats.  DXF and DWG are a great example of this.  A PDF is just an image whereas a DWG contains the information of the characteristics.  This includes the tolerances, GD&T information, notes and even more.  Using a format like this can automate ballooning, report generation and revision control with no chance of human error.  Utilizing certain tools like this feature with DWG files is how you will save time.

If you would like to see how software can change the way you generate FAI reports and save time check out my video below.