Tech Showcase: Leak Testing Options
When selecting a leak test method, consider cost, sensitivity and reliability of the test, as well as the design and specification requirements, accuracy requirements, type of leak to be inspected and the size of the system. Leak test providers also can help match the instrument to the application.
What follows is a list of leak testing instruments available today.
ATC Inc. (www.atcinc.net) introduces a new generation of nondestructive leak detection using micro-flow technology. The Model ME2 can be used in the medical devices and pharmaceutical industries, in a laboratory or on the production floor. This leak tester also meets the requirements for container closure integrity. It is designed to deliver a shorter cycle time with flexible controls, and has Ethernet capabilities for remote viewing of system operation and data collection. The measurement sensitivity achieved with air on this tester offers an alternative to operators who rely on tracer gas leak testing for tight leak specifications. The Model ME2 is used in testing applications under vacuum from 1x10-5 standard cubic centimeters per second (sccs) at 2 psia (1 micron defect size) and hard vacuum from 7x10-7 sccs at 0.02 psia (0.1 micron defect size). It features an automatic vacuum test circuit designed for ultra tight leak specifications. The ME2 offers long term stability in variable ambient conditions with direct measurements that are repeatable and reproducible.
These systems come with a network ready digital controller for closed-loop machine control and real-time data acquisition. Control solutions for many pressure applications are available, and the distributed architecture control system also can be custom configured with the graphical interface.
Extrima has the European EEx ia IIC T4 classification equivalent to U.S. Class 1, Div 1, groups A, B, C, D, which means that it meets the requirements for use in zone 0 according to ATEX directive (ATmosphere EXplosible) of the European Commission. This detector can be applied in the chemical and petrochemical industry as well as in the aviation and oil processing industries. A typical application is leak detection during maintenance of aircraft fuel systems. Because there is always some fuel left in the system, the equipment must meet specific requirements.
Extrima quickly detects and locates the smallest possible fluid fuel leaks, thereby ensuring 100% integrity of the test object. It has an auto-ranging function, which automatically tunes the instrument’s sensitivity for precise leak location. After a leak is located and the search for additional leaks continues, the sensitivity automatically readjusts to the highest level. With a full seven-hour continuous operation from rechargeable batteries and an IP67 waterproof rating, the Extrima meets all the requirements of the aviation, chemical, petrochemical and oil process industries for leak detection.
The spectrometer and vacuum system design enables a range of test methods for specific applications. The high efficiency ion source and beam optics optimize sensitivity and mass separation, giving the VS Series high sensitivity to meet stringent leak test requirements. However, the units also have high test port pressure tolerance, which permits detection of large leaks.
The compact, lightweight design enables easy transport from one application to another. Multiple language and units capability permits easy implementation worldwide, and the VS Series conforms to CE, UL and CSA standards, assuring global acceptance.
The MS Series also simplifies daily operation, minimizes operator error and maximizes throughput and efficiency for semiconductor and small parts manufacturers that use the detectors to check hermetic packaging, automotive parts and refrigeration circuits. The series uses the company’s dual magnetic sector helium mass spectrometer for accurate and error-free operation.
The Windows-based LS-1881 air leak tester offers reduced cycle time and small leak detection capabilities; large full color touch panel LCD with quality charts, graphs and other quality tools; a small pneumatic unit footprint; 32 independent test programs for each pneumatic unit; and test data storage to compact flash memory card.