There are numerous advantages to having an FAT, for both parties involved. The seller can ensure that the system is operational and it helps the project stay on track to be delivered on time. The buyer can qualify the equipment against the contractual agreement as per the order specifications.
Here’s the thing with new systems, especially give the level of complexity you’ll find with CPI equipment – it’s not uncommon for there to be minor glitches the first time they are powered up. The benefit of conducting an FAT is that the manufacturer can take care of typical first-run issues, sometimes even prior to the customer arriving.
There are numerous additional benefits, some of which are:
- Customers can “touch and feel” the equipment while it is in operational mode before it ships.
- The manufacturer can provide some initial hands on training to the customer, giving operating personnel more confidence when running the machinery for the first time in real-world settings.
- Key project people from both sides are together, making it an ideal time to review the bill of materials, discuss required and recommended spare parts (for start-up and first year of operation) and review maintenance procedures and equipment limitations.
- The thorough FAT documentation can be used as a template for the Installation Qualification portion of the validated process/installation.
Based on the results of the FAT, both parties can create a punch list of additional items that need to be addressed prior to shipment.