Quality control for sensitive products: When leak-tightness is paramount
How quality inspectors can reliably test sensitive products and packaging with simple technology is explained by Michael Kallweit, Application Specialist at WITT-Gasetechnik. The company manufactures the LEAK-MASTER® EASY, a compact system for water-based leak detection – for packaging, components and anything that needs to be leak-tight.
Mr Kallweit, why is leak detection required?
Anyone who packages sensitive products such as food and medicines or manufactures watertight or sealed products knows the benefits of leak detection. Even the smallest leaks can jeopardise the quality or functionality of products. A failure to conduct tests will very probably result in the shipment of defective products. All it takes is one such delivery to entail massive costs and damage your reputation. In that respect: No, there’s no other way. Or rather vice versa: Whoever tests correctly offers their customers greater certainty. That can be a real competitive advantage.
What can quality inspectors do?
Manufacturers like WITT have developed devices that reliably test products for leak-tightness with a high level of reliability. They should be in place at the end of every quality production process. They are available for flexible and rigid products, for individual items or bulk, for inline and offline applications. If you’re now worried about complex technology and high costs: Even entry-level systems such as the LEAK-MASTER® EASY are effective technologically, easy to operate and provide reliable results.
How is this possible?
The test is conducted in the water basin. The test specimen is placed in this. The device evacuates the air space in the chamber above so that a vacuum results. If the product is leaking, air or filling gas will bubble out – this providing the necessary proof. Simple but effective. This method is not only extremely reliable but also offers a valuable additional benefit: The leak can be localised precisely, thereby enabling a selective product improvement.
Intact test specimens can therefore be reused?
Correct. That’s one of the special features of “soft” testing in the water basin. Other test methods work with puncture needles – the product would be practically destroyed after such a test. It’s only wet in the basin, although that’s not inevitably the case: Certain tests are even possible in a dry chamber.
That makes the test cost effective?
Very much so: The system not only leaves the product untouched but is also economical in use. Installation and commissioning are easy, without any need for calibration. Nor is any special training required. The LEAK-MASTER® EASY works with just water and compressed air – without any need for separate trace gas or even a vacuum pump – as we utilise the Venturi effect. Not even an electrical connection is required.
Which kinds of products are tested for leaks?
A leak detection test is always carried out when a leak can put the product quality at risk. Packaging – typically for food or products in the pharmaceutical sector or biotechnology – frequently undergoes testing. However, it’s often a matter of testing the leak tightness of products themselves – for example electronic components and lights in the automotive industry, floats in level gauges, camera systems or air cushions are tested with the EASY.
Where are the limits?
This test method is suitable for all watertight products or those packed as waterproof. Even vacuum packaging can be tested with a special set. Only the size of the test chamber poses a limitation. We therefore provide our systems with various chamber sizes up to 76 x 50 x 34 cm. This allows countless product variants to be covered. The test result is available in less than 30 seconds.
Can the tests also be documented?
Yes, because an electronically controlled test for faster and standardised test procedures is available, as an option. Then the results also get documented automatically. In this context, it’s worth mentioning that altitude simulations are also possible. That means anyone dispatching by air freight can determine the suitability of their products for this in advance and verify the result to customers.
Others offer similar systems…
Certainly. The LEAK-MASTER® EASY is above all distinguished by rapid testing, its sophisticated design with power-free Venturi nozzle, the choice of several chamber sizes and its sturdy yet user-friendly construction. Sometimes it’s the little things that make a difference. Our customers typically appreciate details like gas-pressure springs, which make it easier to open the lid, or the blow-off device allowing the water to be replaced quickly. Not forgetting: As one of the major manufacturers, we’re specialised in many types of leak detection system – for instance we also offer systems that operate with CO2 as trace gas, even inline. To this end, WITT provides numerous extension and integration options in networked operation. In short: We’re sure to have the right solution in our range – or find one for you.