What is a Factory Acceptance Test (FAT)?
The purpose of a Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) is to verify that equipment/software for a new project is working properly prior to installation. While FATs are not required, they are certainly a very important step in ensuring a successful project. Forgoing a FAT and jumping straight to installation could lead to potential engineering issues that can be more costly to repair once the installation is complete.
In the continuous emissions monitoring (CEM) world, there are different types of FATs that vary depending on the project. Two types of common CEMS FATs you may see are a Software/Data Acquisition System (DAS) FAT and a Hardware/Full FAT.
What is involved in a Data Acquisition System (DAS) FAT?
In a DAS FAT, only the DAS software (the server) and DAS hardware (data controller or PLC) are tested. Some of the typical components covered in a DAS factory acceptance test are the following:
- I/O details (analog ranges, trigger states for digitals, base digital logic)
- Calculations (conversions done in the DAS, base calculations)
- Complex digital logic
- Validation methodology
- Calibration logic
- Alarm methodology
- Compliance calculations
What is involved in a Hardware/Full FAT?
A Hardware or Full FAT is performed on projects where full CEMS systems and DAS software are being provided. This includes testing equipment such as analyzers, DCS connection points, sample systems, and all other CEMS rack equipment on top of testing the DAS and data controller/PLC. Some of the items tested during a full CEMS FAT would include:
- Analyzer readings vs. known values
- Analyzer faults triggering correct alarms in the analyzer
- Analyzer to PLC/data controller readings match (no scaling or unit of measure issues) and alarms match
- Sample system valving all follows the correct logic, the sample pump (if applicable) de-energized on specified faults, and a calibrations pass
ESC Spectrum’s Thorough Approach
At ESC Spectrum, we pride ourselves on providing a thorough implementation process and factory acceptance test for each project:
Prior to the customer’s arrival, our integrators carry out their own internal FAT to verify the functionality of the system and make any necessary changes.
Not only do we test the DAS for functional specifications, we also use the FAT as an opportunity to demo the DAS to ensure the customer is satisfied with the overall system.
We have a detailed FAT checklist to ensure we cover everything to the customer’s satisfaction during the FAT.
For a successful project, factory acceptance tests are a critical step. FATs are the best way for the engineer to review the system with the customer to ensure they are in agreement with how the system should operate — so don’t skip the FAT!
ESC Spectrum provides innovative air emissions compliance solutions, from building CEMS shelters and performing maintenance on them, to developing Data Acquisition Systems and other compliance software, to testing, repairs, spare parts…and all the DAS and CEMS services to support those activities. Contact us to learn more about our solutions.