An important quality and safety control concept in manufacturing, shipping, warehouse, aviation, aerospace, military, or any similar environment is known as FOD. It has the potential to cause injury to employees, production delays, safety violations, and damage to manufacturing. FOD stands for “Foreign object debris”, or “Foreign object damage.”

Foreign Object Debris

Any object, substance, debris, or particle that is not where it is supposed to be is known as foreign object debris. In a manufacturing or similar environment, it could potentially contaminate certain products or injure personnel. In aviation or other similar environments, it could cause hazards to aircraft, cargo, personnel, or other equipment of value.

Foreign object debris examples consist of:

  • Building materials
  • Food wrappers, beverage containers, and trash
  • Loose hardware and parts, and tools
  • Pieces of broken pavement
  • Paper clips, paper, badges, coins, and pens
  • Gloves, rags, and hats
  • Wildlife, stray animals, and birds
  • Loose vegetation, sand, and rocks
  • Humans
  • Volcanic ash
  • Pieces of luggage and baggage tags

It is possible for even humans to become debris if they are at the wrong place at the wrong time. There are have instances of humans being sucked into aircraft engines.

Foreign Object Damage

Damage that is caused by foreign object debris can compromise the economic value, functionality, or quality of an item that is manufactured. For example, a foreign object that is in the wrong place at the wrong time can cause damage to components that are delicate if they become trapped inside of an equipment housing. It can also blow out tires, and shred fan blades if they get sucked into a turbojet. They can also freeze control mechanisms if they become lodged next to handles and levers.

Foreign object damage estimates cost between $4 billion and $13 billion each year for equipment that is damaged. These costs also go towards reduced efficiency, litigation, and flight delays. It can injure passengers, employees, factory workers, and many others. Military environments can also become affected by this system in national security. It can decrease its air defense.

Equipment Used to Combat Foreign Object Debris

  • Disposal bags and cans-OSHA compliant containers for temporarily storing debris that is found.
  • Airfield sweepers-from time to time they clean taxiways, runways, ramps, parking areas, and aprons of small debris.
  • Parts kitting and tools-technicians are allowed to keep track of any objects that are small during repair jobs and installation.
  • Aircraft and wheel covers-these are great to keep equipment protected from dust, rain, wind, and other hazards.
  • Detection systems-these systems are usually camera or radar-based and scan runways automatically for the presence of wildlife or debris.