How To Have A Successful Factory Acceptance Test (FAT)
When you purchase new equipment, it is critical to ensure it will perform as expected after it arrives at your facility. A factory acceptance test (FAT) is a way of verifying that newly manufactured factory equipment adheres to your purchase order specifications and other requirements before it is shipped to your site. This article will discuss the benefits of FAT testing and how to ensure your test is a success.
Benefits of Factory Acceptance Testing
FAT ensures all factory equipment will perform correctly and safely by identifying any potential problems before the equipment is put into operation. Performing FAT delivers many benefits, including:
- Ensure standards compliance: FAT can check that your equipment complies with ISO, CE, and any other relevant industry standards.
- Verify safety systems: Testing procedures review the equipment’s safety systems to verify they function properly and meet requirements.
- Decreased downtime and delays in production: By identifying any potential problems before your new equipment goes to your facility, you can avoid the production delays and costly downtime that would occur if a problem is discovered after installation.
- Test communication tools: FAT enables the testing of all communication protocols to ensure your equipment can properly communicate with your facility’s existing equipment.
- Ensure equipment meets performance requirements: FAT offers a way to make sure the equipment adheres to all performance specifications prior to installation at your facility.
- Identify and correct issues before delivery: FAT allows you to prevent costly delays and rework by providing a way to identify and correct issues prior to delivery.
- Improve communication: FAT processes help to enhance communication between the client and supplier.
FAT allows you to feel confident that your equipment will perform as expected and prevents any problems from being discovered post-delivery.
How to Ensure Factory Acceptance (FAT) Success
A successful factory acceptance test is one that is efficient and verifies that all equipment requirements are met. Developing FAT testing protocols requires careful planning and documentation. During the planning stage of a FAT, manufacturers must outline the scope of the test, including all of the customer’s specifications and the standards their equipment must adhere to. The next step is to gather any documentation, including drawings, calibrations, datasheets, etc., that can be used to confirm that the equipment meets all design requirements prior to the FAT.
To ensure a FAT protocol is as effective as possible, the tips below can help you put an effective plan in place.
- Define all performance criteria including cycle time, scrap rates, uptime, and efficiency. ATC defines this clearly in our proposals so that customers can easily review it before the project begins.
- Include an allocation for sample parts in your project for the equipment builder to use for debug and runoff. ATC provides this information very early in the project and includes the needed dates so that customers can plan their production schedules easily.
- Include a pre-FAT status check to ensure the FAT will not have to be performed twice. ATC executes a pre-FAT verification run and sends this data to our customers. This ensures schedules do not slip and the customer does not experience excessive travel and sample part expenses to cover multiple FAT efforts.
- Include everyone on your team that has a stake in the project. This should include engineering, production, production support, and purchasing. ATC can host an FAT protocol meeting at our facility early in the project to ensure all parties are in agreement.
- If your automation system produces multiple product variants, it is important to define which variants will be included in the FAT. ATC’s proposals include a clear runoff duration and define which variants will be produced. We often work with customers who through concurrent engineering design their product and purchase automation systems at the same time. We have developed creative approaches to be able to complete the FAT when production parts are not available.
- Define the proper safety standards for the automation supplier to follow and test the safety systems at FAT. ATC understands all the current safety standards and performs a risk assessment during the design phase of the project to identify potential machine safety issues. This approach ensures that operator safety is a priority and not an after thought.
Work With ATC Automation Today
Factory acceptance test protocols ensure your equipment is designed according to your specifications and will perform as expected. When you partner with ATC Automation, our experienced Design and Build team can perform FATs to ensure your equipment meets your particular needs. At ATC, we create highly engineered automation systems for a number of demanding industries. Whether you need a solution for assembly, material handling, or dispensing, we can create an effective solution.
To learn more about our capabilities or FAT testing protocol, contact our team today.