Leak testing is one of the most common types of quality assessment processes in production, not only in the automotive industry.
Leak testers main features
|Tested components types||coolers,
elements of fluid circulation systems,
device housings (e.g. electronic)
|Test types||air, liquid, immersive|
|Others||Automatic or manual selection of the testing program (PLC, HMI), leak test as an autonomous station or element of a technological line, robotization, possibility of marking and / or printing labels, integration with ELPLC Smart Factory, genuine ATEQMonitor app|
Leak testing is one of the most common types of quality assessment processes in production, not only in the automotive industry. At ELPLC we have designed, built and implemented many types of leak testers, incl. in the production of coolers, dampers and engines. They are sometimes autonomous or part of a complete robotic production line.
It is worth looking at a specific process individually and considering the possibilities of its automation and robotization. The component can be fed into the test within the integrated line conveying system or by a suitable robot with an adapted gripper. After the component is loaded, a test or several tests are performed depending on the need. The measuring equipment should be able to define testing programs and their automatic selection or activation by PLC. Often, additional testing systems (e.g. visual quality control systems) or marking systems (laser and mechanical marking, label generation and printing) can be integrated within the station - this brings additional operational benefits in the form of space and time optimization of the machine cycle. After completing the operations provided for in a given production reference at the test stand - the transport or the robot picks up the component and passes it on. It may be important to integrate the robot, especially in the case of heavy elements (such as engine blocks).
ELPLC has extensive experience in the automation and robotization of leak tests. We have designed, built and implemented many types of leak testers. For many years we have been working successfully with the leader of measurement solutions in this area - ATEQ.
Features of good measuring equipment
The heart of each system is the appropriate measuring equipment. High efficiency and precision of measurement are one, but no less important aspects from the manufacturer point of view are: intuitive and flexible possibilities of integrating the equipment as well as expert support in operation, programming, service and calibration on the part of its supplier. Thanks to this, the selection of the right equipment is ensured and the process is much easier to automate. Ultimately, the end user of the machine obtains a specific operational benefit in the form of an efficient process.
If we are talking about measuring equipment, we have different methods (e.g. air method) or different approaches to the measurement itself (pressure drop measurement using the differential method, flow measurements, gas detection and others). There are many examples of such processes for various industries. In the automotive industry, it will be testing the tightness of engine components, dampers, radiators, A / C systems; in electrical engineering or electronics: tightness control of all housings, containers, fittings, subsystems of household appliances, etc .; in other industries, such as the production of plastics, pharmaceuticals, FCMG and others - packaging (pressure containers, dispensers, blisters) or various types of accessories are tested.
Review of selected ELPLC leak testers
Engine block leak testing line with replaceable head
This is an example of a line integrated with a robot that is responsible for loading components onto the input tray. It is functionally divided into two test stations (two ATEQ measuring devices), a laser marking station and a distributor station. At test station 1, a water chamber leak test is carried out, and at station 2 - a low- and high-pressure leak test. The line operation is controlled by a PLC SIEMENS ET 200SP.
It tests castings for several engine block and head references. The station is served by one operator who both puts the component into the station, sets it up for the required reference and performs a visual assessment. The station is powered by a hydraulic set which is responsible for both the pressure of the seal as well as lifting the bathtub with water and rotating the component by +/- 180 degrees. The pressing and immersion process is performed automatically.
Electronic device housing leak tester
An example of a relatively simple and small testing machine. By default, the operator manually loads the component for testing on the bottom of the test chamber. After the cycle has started, the component is moved, pressing the top of the chamber until it is sealed. Finally, an appropriate test program is performed with the use of ATEQ measuring equipment. The precisely designed and manufactured test chamber, adjusted to the dimensions of the tested component and equipped with an appropriately shaped seal, deserves attention.