The Importance of Quality Factory Acceptance Testing


When a business is purchasing and installing switchboard equipment integral to the success of the organisation, the purchaser needs reassurance that it will perform as it should. Quality Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) allows clients to achieve this.

Switchboards aren’t pulled from a box and plugged in. They are fully customised to the requirements of the purchasing business so they are built to meet agreed specifications.

FAT is one of the last customer-to-supplier feedback methods to help ensure that the customer’s expectations are met prior to shipping, installation and startup. The dialogue that occurs during FAT can be valuable in uncovering potential issues that may not have been discussed or considered earlier in the design process. Any minor adjustments can be made before shipping, so the purchaser receives equipment that is perfect for their requirements.

FAT has quickly become a standard final step to make sure installations and startups go off without a hitch. The advantages of thorough FAT include:

Getting What you Paid For

With FAT, purchasers have the opportunity to confirm that the requirements document matches what has been delivered by the supplier as promised. If a feature is missing or not working as the purchaser expected, the supplier can amend before the equipment leaves the supplier’s premises.

Familiarisation with New Equipment

During FAT, the purchaser can spend time getting to understand their new equipment and how it works. They have face-to-face access to the people who designed and built the equipment so if they have any questions, they can gain answers quickly and easily. FAT also makes for easier installs and a shortened learning curve when on site.

Save on Time and Freight Costs

It is common for new switchboards to be installed hundreds or even thousands of kilometres from where they are manufactured. It is too costly and time-consuming to return equipment to its place of manufacture or for replacement parts or staff to arrive on-site. A switchboard needs to work perfectly from the day it arrives.

Testing in Varying Conditions

FAT is an opportunity to test equipment in an environment similar to its new home. In Western Australia, switchboards are purchased by mining companies working in some of the harshest environments in the world. During thorough FAT, the equipment should be stress tested in hot or cold conditions by varying the heating or air conditioning of the FAT facility.   

Peace of Mind for Everyone

By completing FAT before new equipment leaves the supplier’s factory means staff from the purchaser can be reassured it will work when it gets to its new location. The supplier will often complete a full FAT before the client arrives to test and iron out any issues so both sides can be confident the equipment is working to specification before it ships.  

Quality Testing Facilities

Not all Factory Acceptance Testing is conducted the same.    

Switchboard purchasers should demand dedicated FAT facilities to be able to perform the thorough testing that is needed. At Western Controls, our FAT facilities are at our office but are separate to where our staff are working.  Testing should be conducted away from distractions.

Western Controls offers all clients use of our state-of-the-art staging facility. At over 190 square metres our clients have room to spread out and test effectively. The staging facility also has access to:

  • Earth leakage protected feeder circuits for powering the cabinets being tested
  • Test racks for the simulation of up to 6500 I/O
  • Reverse cycle air-conditioning to enable heat rise testing and comfort of staff conducting testing

The office space of the facility includes 49 square metres and contains all the facilities clients may require including telephone, fax, photocopier, computer terminals, internet access as well as ergonomic desks and chairs.

FAT is an important part of the whole switchboard purchasing process so before signing a contract, purchasers should enquire about the time and space made available for testing.

Prospective clients are welcome to view our FAT facilities. If you would like a tour, contact Western Controls on (08) 6254 4000 or email


Our Affiliates

Contact Us

Qulaity ISO 9001 P: (08) 6254 4000
F: (08) 6254 4001
A: 16A Ballantyne Rd
Kewdale, Perth
Western Australia 6105