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How to choose a leak testing method that’s best for your needs

Leak testing is an important aspect of manufacturing, the best leak test solutions are chose for a given product. Factors that need to be kept into consideration while leak testing include risk, suitability and cost of each method.Various technologies are available for leak testing and it is critical to select one which is optimal to your application requirements.

Nowadays, Electronic leak testing operates using either air or a tracer gasdeveloped as a new technique with improved sensitivity and faster test cycles. The idea behind these changes over time in leak testing is due to alterations in regulatory requirements (environmental, safety) and pressure on cost.Leak testing is evaluated on various parameters such as risk vs. probability vs. cost decision, and most cases there are more than one technology available for application in one product however, not all are testing methods are optimal to the application requirements.

Here are the highlights for the considerations and steps for correct decision making that needs to be taken care of while selecting a leak testing process optimized (performance and cost) to your product and organization requirements:

Tightness Criteria
Highly sensitive helium leak detection is the best way of detecting leak tightness in the range of 1 x 1–7 mbar*l/s or lower, but if your required leak rate is above this value, then there are numerous other possibilities.

Operation time
If application involves testing of 100% of components or parts in a production line, then speed is an important consideration. The time required for the test is directly associated with the capacity of the test process and different methods have differing test times, stabilisation time and/or drying time.  For example, helium leak testing is quickest for medium and large sized components, whilst mass extraction technology is faster than other air testing methods like pressure decay.

The structure and design of the part under test and specifically the design of the seals should be considered. Leak testing often involves pressurising a part to its maximum operating pressure, and some seals will perform better under higher pressure and vacuum than others.

Environmental conditions
Leak test methods also gets affected by environmental conditions. For example,pressure decay testing which relies on stabilisation times as well as temperature control in order to get reliable, accurate measurements. These requirements make it unsuitable for leak testing in a number of different environments, when items are very hot (part that has just been welded) or when there are rapid and extreme temperature swings.  In these circumstances, vacuum air testing or helium testing are preferable to pressure tests.

It is imperative to look at the life-cycle costing of the test method and its overall suitability and not just the cost of acquiring the product.  Before choosing a test machine one must check the costs associated with the method, alternative places where technology can be applied, fulfils short or long-term requirementsor provides flexibility to meet changing needs

In applications where high levels of sensitivity are required for example, medical products where leaks can cause a risk of contamination or which have stringent water ingress or safety specifications including semiconductor tool applications, airbag activators,nuclear facilities etc. the only option is helium leak detection. However, in most applications such as heat exchangers, brake systems, welded assemblies, electronic enclosures etc, both air or helium test methods can be used.
A combination of both types of test methods is generally only applied when the parts under test are high-cost items such as those found in the aerospace industry.

Selecting a right leak testing method is critical and it starts with connecting with the right supplier. Leak testing requires an extremely high level of expertise and experience along with the intricacy of  business and its long-term goals. Mikro Innotech Pvt. Ltd. is a leading leak testing machine provider in India, with an experience of extremely esteemed clientele in various industries. Consider checking our profile and contact us for your leak testing requirements.

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