B&B Airparts: 50% time savings creating AS9102 First Article Inspection Reports
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B&B Airparts, Inc., USA
> 130 employees
Increasing growth through optimised quality processes
B&B Airparts, Inc., located in Kansas, specialises in the manufacture of precision components for aerospace OEMs. The privately owned machine shop was founded in April 1988. With about 130 employees and annual sales of $23 million, the shop is now one of the world's leading aerospace manufacturing facilities.
Mike Terrell is the Quality Assurance Manager at B&B Airparts, a machine shop that specializes in manufacturing high precision parts for aerospace OEMs. When Mike joined B&B Airparts in 2016 the company was in a period of tremendous growth. Mike and his team were tasked with completing upwards of 350 FAIs per month, and many were new parts.
At the time first articles were done after production. A finished part would come to quality, where Mike and his team would manually bubble the drawing, measure the part, and complete the AS9102 First Article Inspection Report. On some parts, it was only 2-3 hours to complete a FAIR, but on other parts, it could take 1-2 days. This was particularly time-consuming when it came to new parts, where there were more unknowns for both manufacturing and quality teams to work through. This resulted in a backlog in quality, and Mike knew that in order for the company to continue growing, that quality would need to become more efficient in creating AS9102 FAIRs.
How InspectionXpert helped
Since implementing InspectionXpert, B&B Airparts has cut its FAIR time in half. Mike’s team is able to balloon the part drawing and simultaneously capture the tolerances. The software automatically applies upper and lower spec limits. This means once ballooning is done they can quickly export to an Excel FAI sheet that inspectors can fill out with dimensional data.
Mike saw another opportunity for improvement and began doing first articles as a part of their planning review for new part production. Now they balloon the part drawing and use that as a control plan to create the FAI before manufacturing a new part. As a result, the quality team is able to review the FAI and find any issues before production, such as discovering they’ll need to update tooling or measurement resources in order to produce and verify a new part.
Mike and his team have been able to standardize their FAI process as a whole, and streamlined communication across teams. All of these changes in inspection planning and reporting have decreased lead time for the quality team. According to Mike, “Finding and addressing potential issues before production has had a huge impact on turnaround time.”
Moving the ballooning and report creation to the beginning of the process has also helped B&B Airparts reduce non-conformances:
- Clearer Requirements - Since all requirements are stated before production, inspectors have another opportunity to review all requirements and clarify before the part goes to production.
- Key Characteristics Identified Earlier - The ballooned part drawing doubles as a control plan to call out key characteristics for the shop. Machinists are able to check key characteristics on the floor at the point of production.
Since Mike joined B&B Airparts in 2016 the company has tripled in size. Changes in software and process have enabled the quality team at B&B Airparts to maintain 100% inspection and continue to deliver high-quality products on-time to their customers. “We simply would not have been able to keep up with the growth of our company without InspectionXpert and these changes in our process,” said Mike.
- Free access to the FAI software InspectionXpert
- “How to Create an AS9102 FAIR” with free Excel template”
- FAI-Webinar: “How to create an AS9102 FAI with InspectionXpert“