Testing, Startup, & Validation
Proving control system performance, running equipment, and meeting regulatory requirements cost effectively.
The Testing, Startup, & Validation phases of project implementation are not uniform among our clients. We work very hard to perform these activities in a manner each of our clients require.
Depending on project size, risk, industry, and client preference; the following steps can be performed to improve quality, reduce startup time, and reduce cost associated with rework.
At a minimum, our test plans define when each area of Control System functionality shall be verified. The following list identifies critical points in time where testing occurs:
- During Programming and Configuration Activities (Work In Progress Testing)
- Immediately After Programming is Complete (Factory Acceptance Testing)
- After Installation at Client Site (Site Acceptance Testing)
- After Client Change Control is Initiated (IOQ Validation)
Work In Progress Testing (WIPT) of software modules is completed as programming is performed. This is particularly important when developing software for very large projects and may be unnesesary for small projects.
Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) is performed at our test lab before shipment of control panels and/or Control System software. We encourage our clients to witness and participate in this test phase as much as possible because it improves results and provides client training.
This is an excellent opportunity to get any final client requests included before installation.
Site Acceptance Testing (SAT) is performed at the client site after installation is complete. We encourage our clients to witness and participate in this test phase as much as possible because it improves results and provides client training.
This is an excellent opportunity to get any final client requests included before final installation. A thorough SAT is essential because modifications are considerably more difficult after installation is complete.
Startup occurs after SAT is completed and Control System functionality is proven. During startup, Fourstep programmers and Control System Engineers work with the client to run the equipment for the first time.
Control System loop tuning, recipe development, and client training are all objectives of startup. Fourstep programmers and Control System Engineers are uniquely qualified to hand manufacturing systems over to Client production. This is because we understand how mechanical, electrical, instrumentation and software work together with your process to manufacture your product.
Validation is a legal requirement for our Life Science customers. It is also a requirement for Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS).
Our goal for this phase of project implementation is to streamline the Validation process by executing the SAT as a “dry-run” of Validation Installation Qualification (IQ) and Operational Qualification (OQ).
To achieve this goal, we work to get client Validation and Engineering approval of our Test Plan, FAT, and SAT documentation. This way our FAT and SAT test forms can evolve into IOQ test forms needed for Validation.