INFICON leak detection systems
August 13, 2013 by John Day
Leak detectors developed by INFICON power many of the new leak detection systems available for automakers and their suppliers.
Many of the leading auto-industry providers of automated leak-detection systems now use INFICON’s recently introduced LDS3000 leak detectors, according to Thomas Parker, the company’s North American automotive sales manager.
Parker notes that automotive system integrators such as Cincinnati Test Systems, Future Technologies Inc. and Vacuum Technology Inc. have introduced new helium and hydrogen INFICON leak detectors on systems used for testing automotive parts including fuel tanks, air-conditioning components and airbags.
“Developed especially for demanding performance and reliability requirements in the auto industry, LDS3000 detectors are faster, more compact and more accurate than previous models,” he says. “The modular, ultra-compact design is easy to integrate into efficient leak-detection systems.”
Parker points out that the LDS3000 also offers customers:
— The highest leak-detection measurement speeds available;
— The industry’s only three-year ion-source warranty;
— Below average maintenance requirements, and
— An easy-to-use touchscreen for fast, easy set up and operation.
Cincinnati Test Systems
Jeff McBee, business development manager at Cincinnati Test Systems (CTS) in Harrison, Ohio, explains that the LDS3000 is a “great match” for his company’s leak detection systems because its functionality allows for simple change overs between detecting helium and hydrogen trace gases in dual tracer gas applications without the need for recalibration.
CTS Project Manager Peter Bonyhati adds that the LDS3000’s upgraded interface and menu structure is “much easier to navigate” and test cycles are shorter because its new turbo pump design allows shorter clean up times.
Future Technologies, Inc.
Future Technologies Inc. (FTI) is a global supplier of leak-detection systems based in Bay City, Michigan. FTI’s President Diego Calvo says, “INFICON provides exactly what we need: an instrument that is rugged, reliable and repeatable.
“An INFICON mass spectrometer like the LDS3000 can be integrated into any variety of systems such as a gas-tank leak tester operating at 60 parts per hour; a high-pressure fuel-rail leak tester operating at 100 parts per hour, or an air-conditioning relief-valve leak tester operating at 3,600 parts per hour.”
Vacuum Technology Inc.
Based in Oak Ridge, Tenn., Vacuum Technology Inc. (VTI) is equally impressed with INFICON’s new product offerings. George Solomon, the company’s president, notes, “The performance of the LDS3000 has allowed our engineers to push the limits of helium vacuum-chamber testing with diluted helium.”
VTI’s Engineering Director Dan Miles reports that, “In a recent torque-converter leak-test machine, we were able to beat the customer’s cycle-time requirement while using a reduced helium mixture and meeting tough gauge R&R requirements.”
Thousands of leak tests to assure product quality take place on a daily basis at supplier facilities and automotive assembly plants throughout Canada, Mexico and the United States. Fuel tanks, brake lines, airbags, steering systems, refrigerant hoses and batteries are just a few areas that require testing.
In addition to leak-detection systems providers such as CTS, VTI and FTI, INFICON’s North American customers include most of the region’s major vehicle manufacturers such as Chrysler, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen. INFICON also has a number of suppliers and engine manufacturers on its customer list, including Autoliv, Behr America, Caterpillar, Delphi, Denso, Detroit Diesel, Eaton, Halla, Johnson Controls, MAHLE, Takata and TRW.
“Our product names aren’t familiar to new-car buyers, but they’re well-known to quality control managers throughout the auto industry,” Parker points out. “Our products help assure the quality of literally millions of new cars and trucks.”
Major automotive components and systems that require leak testing include:
Fuel Systems – Fuel tanks; filler caps and necks; fuel injectors; fuel pumps; fuel lines, and filters.
Driveline Components – Engine oil circuits; transmissions; torque converters; intercoolers; electric car batteries; natural gas engines, and hydrogen and natural gas fuel tanks.
Oil and Water Systems – Plastic oil tanks; oil pans; oil coolers; oil pumps; coolant expansion tanks; water coolers, and water pumps.
Safety Components – Brake fluid reservoirs; power brake boosters; vacuum brake pumps; brake hoses; seat belt pretensioners; airbag igniter caps, and airbag generators.
Air Conditioning Systems – AC hoses; compressors; evaporators; condensers, and filling valves.
Other Systems – Power steering housings; servo oil reservoirs; windshield wiper fluid containers; wheels; shock absorbers and starter batteries.