WHATS AN FPC SYSTEM
CE Marking requires the manufacturer to operate a factory production control (FPC) system certificated by an NB. An FPC system is a management control system that focuses mainly on the manufacturing operations although procedures for controlling design operations can be included.
It aims to ensure that the quality of the product (be it a steel section, a bolt, a purlin or fabricated steelwork) is consistently maintained to the required specification.
An FPC system is very similar to a EN ISO 9001 system and can be regarded as a subset of EN ISO 9001.
A typical FPC system consists of regular maintenance and calibration of equipment, frequent checking to ensure product conformity and the management of non-conforming products. FPC is all about producing products with the same declared characteristics time and time again.
For CE Marking of fabricated structural steelwork, steelwork contractors and those organisations involved in fabrication activities need to set up an FPC system that complies with the requirements given in EN 1090-1.
The need for suitable FPC extends to steel stockholders that offer limited fabrication services, steel benders and those organisations that produce proprietary steel products (see section 8).
FPC will include the procedures for controlling manufacture as described in EN 1090-1. It may also include the procedures for controlling design and/or the quality of the welds, and, excluding EXC1, a Responsible Welding Coordinator.
In general based on the activities undertaken, there are four possible FPC systems.
FPC System A – applies to those organisations that have no welding activities and are not declaring design characteristics – e.g. manufacturers of purlins, decking etc.
FPC System B – applies to those organisations that have no welding activities and wish to declare design characteristics – e.g. manufacturers of purlins and decking who wish to make their safe load tables part of the CE Marking.
FPC System C – applies to those organisations that carry out welding activities and do not wish to declare design characteristics – e.g. this category will apply to the majority of steelwork contractors even though they may be carrying our all or part of the design.
FPC System D – applies to those organisations that carry out welding activities and wish to declare design characteristics – e.g. some manufacturers of proprietary products (cellular beams) may wish to declare design values as part of the CE Marking. This system is also seen as a future development for those steelwork contractors wishing to declare design values as part of the CE Marking.