Factory Acceptance Tests from a Distance
When a company trusts Liquid Packaging Solutions to design and build a solution for rinsing, filling, capping and otherwise preparing that companies products for consumers, LPS wants to ensure that the packager is getting the equipment they expect. Of course, engineering, line drawings, planning and communication are key in discovering what exactly a packager both wants and needs. But once the equipment is built, LPS always encourages packagers to visit the Indiana plant to watch the packagers machinery run, using the packagers bottles and product.
This Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) serves several purposes. First, as alluded to above, performing such a test ensures that the machinery that the packager gets is the machinery that the packager expected. Second, it allows the packager to get some added training with the machinery to understand how it works prior to the equipment arriving on the production floor (where additional training is always available!). In addition, an often-overlooked benefit of the FAT is the ability to quickly resolve any issues, add features or make changes at LPS should they be desired or needed. Performing an FAT at LPS means that all of the tools are available to add or modify the machinery BEFORE it leaves the plant, saving both time and money for the packager and, ultimately, LPS.
That being said, the current state of affairs across the United States and around the world can make Factory Acceptance Tests a bit more of a challenge. Travel is not high on the list of anyone's to-do list at the current time, and gatherings are discouraged or outright illegal in a number of areas. However, LPS still recognizes the importance of the FAT and offer alternatives to an in-house visit. LPS has the capability to record the machinery running, pointing out any potential areas of concern and creating a link to allow a packager to respond. Equipment can be run and videos taken until both LPS and the packager are happy with the performance of the machinery. Facetime, skype and other chat and video features are also available to complete remote acceptance tests.
As we move forward in the current atmosphere, LPS will work with packagers to continue to ensure that equipment built and prepared for specific projects functions as the packager expects before leaving our plant. Though the way LPS does this may change for the foreseeable future, the result of delivering efficient, consistent and reliable machinery will stay the same.