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Precision Machining inspection

What Type of Precision Machining Inspection Do You Need?

Inspection is a crucial step in the precision machining process, and at KAD, we take it extremely seriously. 

We offer four different types of inspection to meet our clients’ needs: 

  1. In-process inspection
  2. Inspection report
  3. First article inspection
  4. Full lot inspection 

It’s important to bring up inspection requirements early in the manufacturing process so we can plan accordingly. We advise clients to ask for precisely what they need and not more than what’s required because more comprehensive inspections do affect costs and lead times. 

Not sure which type of inspection is right for your project? This guide will help you make that determination. 

4 Types of Precision Machining Inspection at KAD 

Here are four types of inspections we offer at KAD, from the most basic to the most comprehensive: 

1. In-process inspection

We perform in-process inspections for every project that comes through our shop. This type of inspection is the most basic but still incredibly valuable. 

An in-process inspection is sufficient for most prototype models. By definition, prototypes aren’t the final products to be sold and distributed, so a more extensive inspection isn’t warranted.  

During in-process inspection, we verify that a part meets requirements each step of the way so that by the time we complete a singular unit, it’s ready to go. While there isn’t any paper documentation, our experts take their job seriously—if a part is out of spec at any point in the process, we’ll keep working until we get it right.

2. Inspection report

The next level of inspection comes with robust documentation: the inspection report. We inspect a single part in the order—but not necessarily the first part made—to generate the report. 

If requested, our team will provide a critical-to-function dimensional inspection report based on the print or our own best practices. We’ll also attach material certificates and post-processing certificates for operations such as heating, anodizing, and plating.

3. First article inspection (FAI)

An FAI provides traceability and ensures that the first part in an order meets all specifications before leaving our shop. 

Unlike an inspection report, which contains information about one part from an order selected and reviewed at random, an FAI is always created using the very first part made. If you request an FAI after the order has been completed, it’s not technically an FAI. 

FAIs aren’t typically used in prototype machining because the prototype model itself is not going to be used in an end-use application. But if you need documented inspection records that specifically follow the FAI process—for an order of any size—we have the option available.

Once the first part is pulled off the machine, we fill out a form to capture material lots, properties, finishes, and measurements of vital critical-to-function features. We attach material certificates and post-processing certificates if applicable. 

To help our team prepare accordingly, we ask that our customers indicate their need for an FAI in the notes section when they request a quote on our website.

4. Full lot inspection

During a full lot (i.e., 100%) inspection, our team checks every part we make in a given order. Full lot inspections require significant time and resources and must be quoted before manufacturing begins. 

Compared to an FAI, which involves a big upfront investment of time inspecting the first part and then less time inspecting each subsequent part, a full lot inspection can take more than 20 minutes per part. 

At KAD, we’re happy to perform any inspection process you need. When you request a quote, please specify your desired inspection process so we can adequately plan our time and deliver your parts efficiently and cost-effectively. 

If you’re unsure of the optimal inspection process for your project, just ask! Our team is happy to help you make that decision.

Are you ready to get started on your next precision machining project? Submit a quote today