Cincinnati Automation Blog

Common recurring mistakes in leak testing procedures
Friday, October 26, 2018

Leak testing is an integral part of a manufacturing process in almost every industry. Even a minor leak in any sub-component can affect the working of the entire machine and result in several tangible and intangible losses for manufacturers. Not only do they have to bear financial losses in terms of a product recall, but many of their present and future contracts can also be jeopardized due to tainted business reputation.

Every year manufacturers conduct millions of leak testing. The trial-and-error method has helped in identifying several recurring mistakes that slant the results of leak testing. In this blog, we are going to discuss some of the common recurring mistakes committed during leak testing.

Employment of wrong leak detection method

This is the most common leak testing gaffe committed by manufactures. One can’t conclude correct leak testing results if a wrong method is being used. For instance, many manufacturers just employ bubble test method to identify leaks. This method is absolutely ineffective if the machine entails micro leaks that remain invisible to the naked eye. Similarly, picking wrong leak detection method for a particular material is another recurring issue. You can’t get the desired leak detection results if plastic components of a machine are being tested by pressure decaying method without taking into account deformability and volume changes under compression.

In addition, manufacturers often use different methods for integral leak testing and subsequent leak detection methods. In order to ensure that leak results are 100 percent accurate, it is imperative to implement a holistic leak testing and detection mechanism.

Testing on dirty and contaminated components

It is a basic rule that all tests should be employed only on clean, unused machine components. Otherwise, there are strong chances of getting false negative results. Newly-manufactured parts often contain the traces of raw chemicals and materials that can clog any possible leakage spot. For instance, a leak in a newly cut piece of a machine component might be temporarily sealed by the cutting oil. So, make sure that every part is tested after a thorough cleaning and drying process to get the correct leak testing results.

Not factoring in temperature changes

Some machine park leaks are the function of temperature i.e. they only emerge when the temperature of the operating environment changes. For example, leaks only occur in exhaust gas coolers when operating temperature reaches a certain point. Thermodynamic principles clearly state that any material can undergo several transformations due to temperature changes. In order to take temperature factors into account, climatic testing chambers should be used.

Testing at the wrong production phase

The dynamics of a machine can be fairly dissimilar before and after the assembling of sub-components. There might be no leaks happening in separate components, but as soon as they come together, a leak appears (e.g. transmission cases). This mistake can result in the loss of entire assembling works.

Automation leak testing machines can help manufacturers to avoid procedural mistakes that are part of manual handling. Cincinnati Automation Ltd. can provide manufacturers in-line automated leak testers. The company also provides a wide range of automated machines to different manufacturing sectors.

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