The Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) is a long-standing routine process which evaluates the control panel equipment once it has been assembled, verifying that is has been built and operates according to the design specifications agreed.
Ultimately these tests are there to give customers reassurance that the control panel has been built correctly and will perform the correct actions once it has been shipped to its end destination. They are a critical part of the process as shipping multiple panels back to the manufacturing facility for alterations would be very costly.
Over the past year we have continued where possible to conduct socially distant Covid safe FAT’s with our clients, this has always been our preferred option as we have two dedicated testing bays and our priority is ensuring the client is happy with the panel build.
However, where travel restrictions and lockdowns have posed significant challenges over the past year, we have worked to develop a solution which maintains the critical delivery schedules of our clients, and allows for the FAT’s to still be witnessed.
We explored filming the FAT, however this ended up with a very large video file which was hard to share and had no interaction from the client. This led us to host a live FAT which would allow the client to be present in real time and able to interact and ask the LCA team questions which are then answered immediately as you would with an in-person test.
The photos show our secure testing bay set up with the control panels, lighting to ensure all elements are visible and multiple cameras to show the different angles and sides of the panel.
Whilst we will always favor in person FAT’s so that we get to meet with the client in person, we are encouraged by the virtual FAT as an option for those clients who cannot travel to our facility due to location. Now that we have established a virtual FAT set up, we are able to offer our clients the option of inviting additional resource who would not normally be present – they can join the FAT at virtually no cost to the client and be involved with the discussion in real time.
As a result of the virtual FAT, we have been able to invite the more junior or newer members of our manufacturing team to watch and learn the process; they can either join the live stream from their desks or join in the room out of camera shot. In the past this might not have been possible due to overcrowding in the testing bay, but we are delighted to now be able to include this as part of our development programs.
For us, the most important aspect is that the client is fully integrated into the FAT process irrespective of where they are in the world, and we are pleased to have had positive feedback from our clients at Druck Ltd.
“This is an excellent option for our work. Previously, this work would involve people travelling across the UK ……The remote Video FAT option reduces the costs to the project and in the current climate, keeps people safe.”
Warren Hinkson, Lead Onsite Specialist, Druck Ltd, Bently Nevada Division.