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  3. Factory Acceptance Tests (FATs)

What items are typically on an FAT checklist?

It’s hard to outline exactly what a Factory Acceptance Test consists of because each one is unique to the equipment it involves and the specialized requirements of the customer.

While keeping in mind that no two are alike, here is an example to give you a better idea of the inspection points and tests that are used to validate the equipment. This example is for an automated reactor system:


  • Scope - the tests to be performed by the manufacturer to establish acceptability of the equipment and their conformance with the applicable drawings and specifications.
  • Applicable standards and specifications – a list of any relevant safety guidelines published by National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), National Electric Code (NEC), etc.
  • Reference documents - a complete set of all relevant documents to be available during the execution of the FAT and marked up as required. These drawings are usually located in an appendix at the back of the protocol.
  • Testing equipment - a list of the equipment and instrumentation used during this test: (vacuum gauge, tachometer, etc.)

System Skid

  • P&ID (Piping and instrumentation diagram)/ GAD (General Arrangement drawings) walk-down – verify all lines and components are present and installed as per P&ID/GAD. Check that components are new, anchored sufficiently to frame, and are built in accordance with the specifications outlined in the applicable list.
  • System skid and component review – verify equipment is fabricated as per drawings and manufacturing quality meets expectations.

Vessel Nameplate Review

Verify pressure, temperature and material information on the National Board nameplate to be consistent with specifications/P&ID and confirm presence of ASME “U” stamp.

Motor Data Verification

Verify motor manufacturer, model, and serial number. Also confirm motor classification meets specified class and division standards.

Pressure Tests

Verify lines hold pressure when fully assembled, record pressure at start and stop. This test is generally conducted for 60 minutes to ensure the system meets the acceptance criteria.

System Vacuum Tests

Verify lines hold vacuum when fully assembled, record pressure at start and stop. This test is also conducted for 60 minutes to ensure the system meets the acceptance criteria.

Components Functional Tests

(Note: These tests are performed with water in the system; therefore, they cannot be started until all of the vacuum tests have been completed successfully.)

  • Agitator Rotation – verify that agitators rotate as expected (smoothly and with no vibration)
  • Pump Tests – verify pumps operate as expected. Pump should be able to recirculate the water from/to the reactor.

Documentation Review

Verify that system documentation is complete.


Each test should yield an acceptable result with no issues. Corrective steps will be taken if a test fails and any retesting will be performed if required. Some tests may require additional testing or clarification of the testing methods. Under these conditions, additional comments will be documented in the deviation section of the FAT. Deviations are red-lined to be captured in final as-built drawings.

Punch List

A list of remaining follow-up items to note any modifications/adjustments or additional tests that need to be made prior to delivery.


Verify panel component checks, permissives, auto mode controls (agitator), manual mode controls (reactor on-off valves, modulating valves), analog displays, sequences (system purge, pressure/vacuum control, system leak test, charge liquids, reflux/solvent strip, exothermic additions interlocks), reactor light operations

By systematically carrying out all items on the checklist, all FAT participants from both sides can gain the assurance needed feel prepared and ready for start-up.