To validate that a newly built solution for large scale additive manufacturing works as expected from the factory, CEAD uses an Acceptance Test. During this test we make sure that the final system matches our quality standards, as well as the wishes of the client. The Acceptance Test is the final step of the production process. This article elaborates on such tests which are conducted both in the factory and on-site.
What is an Acceptance Test?
We distinguish between Factory Acceptance Tests (FAT) and Site Acceptance Test (SAT). The difference being only the location where the test is conducted. Factory Acceptance Tests are conducted in our production facility. Site Acceptance Tests are performed at the client’s site, hence the name difference. The content and measures of the tests are exactly the same to mitigate any problems during installation of the system. Sometimes a SAT is combined with the large scale 3D printing training on-site to be able to provide trainees more hands-on experience.
During the test, two of CEAD’s operators conduct various tests, either at our production facility or at the client’s site. CEAD provides clients with the possibility to physically/virtually attend the test. By doing so, the client is included on all of the aspects of the test.
What is the duration of an Acceptance Test?
The duration of a Factory/Site Acceptance Test differs per situation and is based on the client’s application of the machine. Acceptance tests where solely the printing possibilities are tested take approximately one day. Tests where both printing and milling are tested require two to three days to complete depending on complexity. There is no difference between the duration of FATs and SATs.
What is the goal of an Acceptance Test?
The goal of an Acceptance Test is twofold. On one hand, it is important that the client becomes familiar with the possibilities and is certain that the system matches our quality standards. Clients are able to watch along during FATs by video calls and receive video footage afterward. This ensures a head-start for the printing system.
On the other hand, Acceptance Tests provide CEAD with the guarantee that the system that was delivered functions well and matches the system that was ordered by the client. The Acceptance Test thus is a great way to end CEAD’s production process and start the client’s production process.
An Acceptance Test is therefore obligatory and a compulsory part of the purchasing process.
Which large scale 3D printing solutions require an Acceptance Test?
CEAD offers a wide range of large scale 3D printing solutions, such as printing heads, robot based solutions and gantry based solutions. An Acceptance Test is required for all of these 3D printing systems, but the content of the test varies per printing solution. However, CEAD has developed a default test for each printing solution.
The Acceptance Test for print heads, for example, focuses solely on the extruding of a specific material. During the test, the output is measured, showing that the extruder matches the wishes of the client.
The remaining printing systems, AM Flexbot, BEAD, and CFAM Prime, all require a Factory/Site Acceptance Test.
What are the criteria for an Acceptance Test?
The content of an Acceptance Test does not vary per application. The criteria for a successful Acceptance Test are found in a checklist used by our operators. These criteria focus on, among others, making sure that everything is prepared for the particular setup, if everything is filmed, if the printing and milling process is working properly and if dimensions are correct. During the test, all of the criteria are checked.
What are the steps of an Acceptance Test?
There are various default processes concerning Acceptance Tests, depending on the application and the client’s preferences. Generally speaking, an Acceptance Test consists of the following steps:
- Proposal: CEAD writes a proposal including all of the aspects that will be tested.
- Discussion with the client: during a (virtual) meeting, the proposal is discussed with the client. If necessary, the proposal can be altered during this stage.
- Preparation: the machine, materials, and environment are prepared for the Acceptance Test, whether at the factory or on-site.
- Implementation: during the actual Factory/Site Acceptance Test, the prepared printing (and if necessary milling) is conducted.
- Validation: during this step, the client receives the sign-off checklist, a small report, CAD models of the FAT parts, the finished part itself and video footage of the performed tests.
- Final sign-off: after the final sign-off the machine is officially delivered and the client is ready to start large scale 3D printing!
More information on Factory/Site Acceptance Test
As always, the content of the Acceptance Test is based on the final application of the printing system. CEAD gladly thinks along with you to inform you further on the possibilities of large scale additive manufacturing. Please do not hesitate to contact our specialists or view our large scale 3D printing solutions directly.