Ensure consistent products in manufacturing with innovative portable metrology solutions

Detailed verification of production results versus original product design before ongoing manufacturing begins is critical to ensure all parts and assemblies are built to the correct specifications.

The use of innovative metrology solutions helps quickly identify issues and avoid serious impacts on your manufacturing processes before full production starts.


How established and effective are first article inspection processes at your facilities?

Not only in industries such as Automotive and Aerospace, which are governed by very strict requirements for manufacturing and quality assurance, First Article Inspection (FAI) is an essential part of quality control in manufacturing, ensuring production requirements are met from the start. But not only that: FAI is a critical step to streamlining the entire production cycle and improve production throughput.

FAI analyses the first items manufactured, a prototype or a pre-production sample, to confirm whether or not the part meets all engineering, design and specification requirements, and verifies the correct setup and process configuration so that the part can be correctly, accurately and repeatedly produced.

Documentation and review of product design characteristics versus manufactured parts is an important element of FAI since this helps companies understand their production methods and take into account all parts produced. External suppliers also need to generate and share FAI reports with the companies they are partnering with to properly demonstrate compliance of their products.


But why is important you implement an effective and efficient FAI process?

It is important because it enables detailed verification of part or assembly production results versus original design before full production begins. Any mistakes not captured at this stage can have serious consequences when the entire manufacturing process starts. If defects are not caught prior to a production run, defective parts and assemblies will be produced resulting in costly rework, scrap, or customer dissatisfaction and resulting warranty issues.

Integrating FARO’s portable Coordinate Measuring Machines into FAI processes can help prevent such mistakes and streamline the entire manufacturing process. Other solutions currently used to support FAI, e-g. fixed CMMs and other traditional systems such as Tape Measures, Micrometers and Calipers, present significant shortcomings.

First of all, traditional methods are not effective when inspecting complex 3D parts and assemblies which require a large number of points to be measured for a proper and extensive metrology verification. These solutions often do not support accurate, complete measurements of the parts that have to be inspected. Consider, as an example, a free-form surface.

Additionally, these methods are often slow and inefficient. This is particularly evident when using fixed Coordinate Measuring Machines: whether the part is a one-off reverse engineered replacement part or the prototype for a larger batch to follow, the time saving made by avoiding the lengthy programming procedure of a traditional inspection tool is a huge advantage when using portable CMMs.

If slow inspection methods may lead to delays in production, inaccurate measurements can lead to costly and time-consuming production failures.


Portable CMMs from FARO® offer complete 3D measurement solutions that can quickly and comprehensively capture a first article’s surface form and geometric features which can be compared to nominal data from CAD or used as a digital record to meet and attest company’s first article documentation requirements.

Depending upon the form and the size of the part to be inspected and the accuracy requirements, operators can choose between different technologies and solutions, including portable measuring Arms, ScanArms and Laser Trackers – which can all be used in combination with dedicated FARO metrology software. Individual parts can be easily measured onsite to quickly verify if they were correctly manufactured while operators can easily generate measurement reports that can be shared within their organization or with relevant stakeholders and used to support documentation, analysis and decision-making processes.


Faster, more accurate and comprehensive validation of first-articles is, therefore, a key advantage organizations will benefit from when implementing FARO portable metrology solutions. This enables time and productivity savings allowing the business to move into production with greater confidence and lower risk of costly rework or scrap.

FARO recently introduced new metrology solutions that are perfectly suited for streamlining FAI processes. These include: The 8-Axis Quantum System, a breakthrough innovation that combines the FaroArm or ScanArm with a functionally integrated, rotational axis for real time inspection with unmatched measurement speed and superior ergonomics.

The FARO VantageS6 and VantageE6 Laser Trackers. These large-scale, high-accuracy measurement solutions deliver 6 Degrees of Freedom (6DoF) measurement capabilities via the optional 6Probe, enabling access to hidden areas and small features. Furthermore, the entire FARO Laser Tracker product family feature FARO’s patent-pending ActiveSeekTM technology, which allows the Trackers to find and follow the target, even after the user passes behind obstructions. Both the 6Probe and ActiveSeek have been designed to help manufacturers dramatically reduce their large-scale, 3D metrology inspection and alignment cycle times.

Do you want to learn more about FARO portable metrology solutions and how they help organisations ensure first article parts meet design specifications and tolerances?