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Innovative Leaders: Virtual FAT Testing

Nationwide Boiler is known as being an innovative leader in the rental boiler industry. Over fifty years ago we pioneered the mounting of a 24,000 lb/hr package watertube boiler to a highway-legal trailer, and followed with many other firsts including the world’s largest trailer-mounted saturated and superheated steam boilers (125,000 lb/hr and 110,000 lb/hr, respectively).

In this age of digital technology and pandemic isolation requirements, Nationwide Boiler’s control division, Pacific Combustion Engineering, realized the need for virtual factory acceptance testing (FAT). An FAT is an essential element of the testing and acceptance of new critical control systems. The main goal of this test is to prove and certify performance built for a specific application and ensure all design requirements are attained.

Pacific Combustion’s new test gear consists of a 19” HMI that replaces toggle switches, indicating lights, potentiometers, and analog gauges. A PLC drives relays and consists of contacts that can be configured for the voltage that is required for input simulation. Outputs are displayed via selectable 120vac and 24vdc terminals. Analog 4-20ma inputs are selectable as either loop or self-powered.

During the virtual FAT, a web portal is accessible by the client through an audio/video link to the testing, and the client can actually operate the test rig HMI screen from their location. Links are also furnished to the burner management / combustion control system PLC and HMI.

This is a truly unique innovation at a time where travel can be difficult, providing an alternative to the traditional FAT and allowing business to continue even in heightened times like a global pandemic.

For more details on our virtual FATs, be sure to check out our upcoming feature in Process Heating Magazine. We will post the direct link as soon as it's available. And be sure to give Pacific Combustion Engineering a call to assist with your next control system upgrade. 360-335-1443

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