What Is Factory Acceptance Testing? – Purpose of FAT
May 19, 2020 Welcome
The process of starting up industrial equipment for the very first time can be incredibly challenging. More frustrating is the possibility that some vital components may fail and affect your overall project completion schedule. Additionally, the failure of proper training for equipment operators and commissioning personnel can significantly contribute to improper equipment installation or set up, leading to potential premature equipment failure as well as safety hazards.
An effective way to eliminate inefficiencies in installing industrial equipment is the key practice of performing factory acceptance testing (FAT). By simulating operating and failure modes, each component of a system is checked before leaving the factory. This gives operators the opportunity to ensure that the equipment is operating as intended and gives them the assurance that their top-quality equipment will operate properly from the get-go. Factory acceptance testing will also provide guides to proper installation, enabling operators to optimize installation time.
What Is a Factory Acceptance Test?
A factory acceptance test (sometimes called factory approval testing, or simply FAT) is a series of functionality checks done on industrial equipment by a manufacturer before shipping to the end-user. This test is usually conducted in the presence of an independent inspector and a representative of the customer and/or end-user.
Purpose of a Factory Acceptance Test
There are several reasons why a factory acceptance test is carried out. To begin with, FATs reassure customers that they are purchasing equipment of the highest possible quality. It lets them pre-inspect the components to ensure they are built to desired specifications. As a result, any errors or discrepancies can be pointed out to the manufacturers for correction before any equipment is shipped.
Further, performing a factory approval test is crucial to ensuring that once installed, the equipment will operate safely and optimally. As a rule in all industrial settings, the safety of machinery operators must remain a priority and the use of FAT equipment will provide the required safety standards.
Finally, the use of factory acceptance test protocols will predict and correct issues that might have developed with field use. This will help operators save costs on avoidable machinery downtime.
Common FAT Equipment
Among the equipment routinely used to conduct a review operation as part of FAT delivery terms. These types of equipment include:
- Air Compressors
- Calibrated Pressure Gauges and Chart recorders
- Hand tools
- Voltmeter, Ohmmeter, megger
Who Needs to Witness FAT?
While there is no fixed rule on the type of representatives that should witness a FAT, they must have adequate prior knowledge about the equipment they will be inspecting. In typical settings, factory approval testing requires the following persons to be present:
- Project supervisors
- Machinery operators
- Site engineers
- Maintenance workers
- Independent third-party inspectors
Factory Acceptance Test vs. Site Acceptance Test
A factory acceptance test and a site acceptance test are not the same things.
While a factory acceptance test is conducted by the equipment manufacturer before delivery, it is impossible to completely simulate how the produced components will function under real operational conditions. As a result, a different test called a site acceptance test is conducted to ensure the installed machinery can function optimally in standard operational conditions.
What Is Included in a Factory Acceptance Test Checklist?
A factory acceptance test (FAT) inspection checklist must contain some vital components to help quality assurance managers maintain equipment production within specifications. These items include:
- General items
- Modular process skids
- Stamp, nameplate, and documentation reviews
- System vacuum and pressure tests
- Motor spec review
- Deviation comments
- System and control checks
The full extent of general items to be considered on a FAT checklist should include the full tests of equipment acceptability to customer standards. Also, a conformance list that details relevant safety guidelines, reference documents, and a list of required testing equipment is required.
Modular Process Skids
Process skids must be physically inspected to ensure they have been factory-made to specifications and unique application requirements.
Stamp, Nameplate and Documentation Review
Confirmation must be done on vessel nameplates that pressures, temperatures, and component material meet required piping, instrumentation, and control equipment specifications. Also, a complete document check is required.
System Vacuum and Pressure Tests
A series of tests must be performed to ensure that all the assembled lines can hold a vacuum and that the coupled systems do not suffer pressure leaks.
Motor Spec Reviews
FAT checklists must make provisions for verifying that motor models, serial numbers, and manufacturers meet standard specifications.
When properly done, a factory acceptance testing session should yield optimal results. If any errors are detected, witnesses to the test should make notes on these deviations to allow for correction and retesting. Equipment performance should be corrected to meet minimum documented standards.
System and Control Checks
Comprehensive system and control checks should include the following:
- Panel component testing
- Manual override mode checks
- Analog system checks
- Purge, pressure, vacuum, and temperature regulation system checks
IFS Has High Quality, FAT- approved Modular Process Skids
Integrated Flow Solutions is committed to providing clients with the most efficient and complete solutions for Air Quality, Power Generation, and O&G. We provide best-in-class modular process skids that are FAT-approved to give you a competitive edge in your industrial applications.
Contact us online today to learn more about the industrial solutions we provide.