VIRTUAL FAT: new frontiers for the Factory Acceptance Test in the age of social distancing

While it is true that necessity is the mother of invention, it is equally true that it is the mother of innovation.

In times of social distancing, it becomes increasingly important for companies to produce safely without loosening their ties with customers.

EMS and all its historical brands today have always guaranteed the quality of their service through close attention to their customers’ needs throughout production, control, installation and testing.
EMS believes in continuous support, to provide an excellent service as well as building long-lasting relationships, based on integrity and respect for commitments and deadlines. For this reason, during this period of distancing while it is difficult for EMS to be on the field, it has organised a virtual FAT service that immediately proved to be a valid, fast and effective tool.

The FAT (Factory Acceptance Test) is a very delicate moment in the production cycle, because that is when a machine or part of it is subjected to performance tests before shipment. Usually in this phase the customer is present, to check that what was requested has been implemented according to the quality parameters established in the order.

As a “physical” presence is not possible at the moment, with its VIRTUAL FAT EMS is in any case able to guarantee participation during this important moment of testing. By virtualising the experience, customers can count on a level of control and interaction equal to what they would have on site.

During a VIRTUAL FAT, the project manager, the responsible sales person or several people together, are in constant audio-video connection with the customer, illustrating the components and the operation of the system, receiving and responding to questions or requests in real time, while the technicians on board the machine take care of starting the machine and perform tests on all the required formats.

With the support of the documentation division, ample space is dedicated to illustrating usage and format change procedures, sharing screens and operations from the Human Machine Interface (HMI).

All this has been done to ensure continued dialogue between the two parties, although remotely but in any case still quickly and efficiently, ensuring a fully satisfactory result for the customer. Every moment of the test is filmed, from different angles, by cameras positioned at strategic points on the machine, so that images and data can be shared, analysed and commented on.

The VIRTUAL FAT also has some other advantages. For the customer, it eliminates the staff travel expenses, also allowing more people to access the tests than would have been able to attend the tests, in total safety. People who can now be involved even only for their relevant parts, intervening in case of doubts and constantly dialoguing with the EMS technicians present at the test. The recording of the test is part of the final report and delivered to the client who can review it at any time, thus increasing the level of control over what has been purchased. All this is in compliance with the new health rules.

“2020 has been a very challenging year. Living in a virtual platform makes it difficult to do traditional FAT’s on new equipment acquisitions. However, the EMS team made this process run effortlessly. They were very responsive to our requests and questions during the qualification. EMS has been great partner and will play a critical role to support our growth here at Bogle Family Vineyards.“ Vimal Narayan – Operations Manager

The VIRTUAL FAT is part of a path of innovation towards the virtual world that EMS has been pursuing for some time. EMS has always directly managed all phases of the order: production, testing, installation, after-sales services and assistance for its customers around the world. And, precisely after-sales services are now also possible remotely by means of the smartglass system, devices equipped with cameras, microphones and miniaturised display, through which our operators can guide the customer’s staff, seeing what they see, hearing what they hear, dialoguing and sending documentation in real time while they have their hands free to operate the system.

One day the health emergency will end, but the new operating methods and the new skills acquired will not be lost and EMS will continue on the path of full technological innovation: design, production, testing, assistance, maintaining the commitment to increasingly cancel geographical distances with its customers, both through its widespread network of agents and using new ways of virtualising the experience.