In response to the needs of clients who are unable to go on a trip or wish to cut down on travel expenses, Volpak has in fact introduced the latest machine testing tool, known as the ‘live remote FAT (factory acceptance testing)’ or LFAT.
While “face-to-face” meetings have been the standard approach to performing a FAT, an increase in global legal travel restrictions as a result of the global COVID-19 crisis has made this important step in the buying process more difficult.
Aside from global travel restrictions, many companies need and prefer to cut down on expenditures such as personnel travel and related costs. As packaging companies’ inclination to travel becomes more complicated and less immediate, Volpak said, there is an increasingly greater call for advanced technological solutions that can assure the same integrity as an in-person FAT.
In response to these needs, Volpak has introduced the latest machine testing tool, known as LFAT, which works the same as the FAT, except it offers an opportunity for customers anywhere in the world to witness the process directly from their location.
The LFAT works by setting up cameras around the machine that is being tested in the manufacturing area of the Volpak factory in Santa Perpetua, Barcelona. The live stream is managed by Volpak’s technical specialists through the control desk. It also provides access to a live chat, which allows the manufacturer’s engineers to interact with the customer team in real time.
Depending on the machine, the live recording system includes four to seven cameras working simultaneously, as well as other remote tools monitoring electronic devices such as HMI, to allow the client to witness each and every step of the LFAT in real-time.
The steps focus on checking machine characteristics such as dimensions, finishes, wiring and connections, security and alarms, machine performance with the product, packaging material, pouch style and size, and checking pouch quality, resistance, tightness, finishes, etc.
Other checks of flexible packaging machines include physical check of items purchased under contract, machine measurements, operational tests, multiple formats check and run and E-stop and guards check.
In addition to assessing the full functionality of a machine, all of the technical documents are also verified, and a final inspection is carried out of all of the equipment. Interaction is made possible through a handheld camera in addition to the live chat.
The LFAT does not require the customer to purchase any additional technology, and is viewable in real-time through any videoconferencing software, such as Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco Webex, etc.
Volpak added unlike the traditional FAT, where normally only two or three people travel to validate the machine, all customer employees including all engineers and machine operators can participate in the new LFAT.