An inspection is, most generally, an organized examination or formal evaluation exercise. In engineering activities inspection involves the measurements, tests, and gauges applied to certain characteristics in regard to an object or activity. The results are usually compared to specified requirements and standards for determining whether the item or activity is in line with these targets. Inspections are usually non-destructive.
In international trade several destination countries require Pre-shipment inspection. The importer instructs the shipper which inspection company should be used. The inspector makes pictures and a report to certify that the goods that are being shipped and produced are in accordance with the accompanying documents.
The Food Safety Inspection Service is charged with ensuring that all meat and egg products in the United States are safe to consume and accurately labeled. The Meat Inspection Act of 1906 authorized the Secretary of Agriculture to order meat inspections and condemn any found unfit for human consumption. The United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission is a regulatory body that inspects for weapons of mass destruction. The Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care regulates and inspects care services in Scotland.
Quality related inspection is an essential part of quality control.
A mechanical inspection is usually undertaken to ensure the safety or reliability of structures or machinery.
In Europe bodies involved in engineering inspection may be assessed by acreditation bodies according to ISO 17020 "General criteria for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection". This standard defines inspection as Examination of a product design, product, service, process or plant, and determination of their conformity with specific requirements or, on the basis of professional judgement, general requirements.
Some common methods are visual, microscopy, Liquid or dye penetrant inspection, magnetic-particle inspection, X-ray or radiographic testing, ultrasonic testing, eddy-current testing, acoustic emission testing, and thermographic inspection. In addition, many non-destructive inspections can be performed by a precision scale, or when in motion, a checkweigher. Stereo microscopes are often used for examining small products like circuit boards for product defects.
A medical inspection is the thorough and unhurried visualization of a patient, this requires the use of the naked eye.
An examination vessel is a craft used to inspect ships entering or leaving a port.
A property inspection is the examination for purposes of evaluating a property's condition. In purchasing property, a "whole house inspection" tries to detect defects in the property. The railroad's inspection locomotive were special types of steam locomotive designed to carry railroad officials on inspection tours of the railroad property.
Software inspection, in software engineering, refers to peer review of any work product by trained individuals who look for defects using a well defined process.