Factory Acceptance Test Checklist

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Published December 8th, 2020

What is a Factory Acceptance Test?

A Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) is used to verify that newly produced equipment works according to its construction code and purchase order specifications. It is performed by quality managers, design engineers, operators, and maintenance personnel in the manufacturing facility before delivery and installation at the clients’ site.

This article features:

Why use a Factory Acceptance Test Checklist?

Using a factory acceptance test checklist can reduce costly project delays by ensuring the completion of FAT protocol, such as standard work procedures, certificates of compliance and welding processes qualifications and implementing the proper factory acceptance test procedure.

4 Common FAT Issues and Effective Countermeasures

Overlooked equipment discrepancies can lead to installation problems onsite which can wreak havoc on a project schedule. Prior to shipment, quality managers should resolve nonconformity at the factory so that the clients’ new processing lines are up and ready to go on time. Here are 4 common issues discovered from factory acceptance tests and what countermeasures quality teams can apply to ensure equipment reliability.

  1. Poor Machine Quality or Craftsmanship

    Quality managers should regularly coordinate with design engineers and fabrication managers to ascertain that the as-built technical drawings (electrical, mechanical, pneumatic and process schemes) are followed. Before the factory acceptance test, prepare the instruments calibration certificates and refer to the equipment and materials data sheets to deliver high-quality machines with performance that clients can trust.

  2. Nonconformity to Regulatory or Sanitary Specifications

    Clients often specify a level of standard in manufacturing the equipment they ordered. Bioprocessing equipment, boilers and pressure vessels can receive American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) certifications through conformity assessments. For electric and electronic products, systems and services, manufacturers generally adhere to International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards. Quality managers can also consider collaborating with industrial hygienists or health and safety officers to comply with design specifications.

  3. Lack of Appropriate Machine Guarding and Labels

    Conduct pre and post-operation checks of machine guards before and during FAT with clients. It is the responsibility of the quality manager to provide installation, maintenance and users’ manuals, recommended spare parts lists, and easy-to-use training materials for operators and maintenance personnel. The Lock Out Tag Out (LOTO) labels and procedures should also be clearly stipulated to comply with Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) standards.

  4. Lower than Expected Throughput

    Quality managers should present a step-by-step FAT procedure, including all records of the agreed FAT protocol, to the client for review and approval. On the actual factory acceptance test, the desired functionality of the equipment should be proven through a series of validation tests based on a consensus acceptance criteria and punch list (compilation of nonconformities for modification).

Factory Acceptance Test Standard Procedure

The FAT procedure depends on the design specifications and intended function of the machine that should undergo the testing. Even when each step of the factory acceptance testing varies per equipment, project engineers can adhere to the following standard FAT procedure:

  1. Communicate with the client

    Upon the client’s arrival at the factory floor, the manufacturer or supplier should discuss the details that have yet to be addressed before the acceptance testing. Clarifying project adjustments such as change orders shows an understanding of the client’s production process and the ability to deliver on their expectations.

  2. Review the detailed test plan

    A test plan is a tool used to clearly illustrate the timing and sequence of tests or inspections based on the equipment’s purchase order specifications and functional requirements. When walking through the test plan with the client, specify the reference documents, or the basis for the acceptance criteria, such as construction codes and verifying documents, or the proof of test or inspection results, such as certificates.

  3. Perform safety risk assessments

    Project managers should identify and eliminate hazards in the test area before commencing the acceptance testing. Complete the safety inspection with a mobile device and ensure that machinery nameplates are visible, emergency stop buttons are accessible, and safety switches are installed. Use a mobile-ready factory acceptance test checklist to verify if pre-tests were conducted, corrective actions were implemented, and all FAT personnel are equipped with the appropriate PPE.

  4. Demonstrate equipment performance

    Confirm the FAT protocol and proceed with the functional and regulatory tests—from the startup process to the maintenance procedure. As the quality team proves the performance of the custom-built machine, the client will ask questions to gauge how it will perform when installed in their facility. Ad hoc tests may be required when nonconformity is revealed.

  5. Apply additional customization

    When the punch list has been resolved and additional customization has been applied to the equipment, an official statement of acceptance should be signed by the manufacturer or supplier’s quality manager, head design engineer, and fabrication manager and the client’s representative, head operator, and maintenance coordinator.

The client will eventually perform a site acceptance test (SAT) upon proper installation at the permanent operation position. The SAT further verifies equipment performance in relation with other systems at the site.

What is iAuditor and how can it help me prove equipment reliability?

Use iAuditor by SafetyCulture, the world’s most powerful digital checklist app, to streamline your factory acceptance tests, complete the FAT protocol with proper documentation and ensure equipment reliability before delivery and installation at your clients’ site. With iAuditor, you can:

  • Use comprehensive FAT checklists offline or online
  • Capture photo evidence of nonconformity
  • Assign actions for punch list items
  • Gather digital signatures of FAT personnel
  • Automatically generate and deliver FAT reports. Preview sample report.
  • Use for free with small teams. Gain real-time data and actionable insights for premium accounts.


Shine Colcol

SafetyCulture Staff Writer

Shine has been professionally writing about virtually anything since her internship for a digital publisher of niche blogazines. She is passionate about building a culture of continuous improvement in the environmental, health, safety, and quality space through well-researched, engaging, and impactful content.