Leak testing speeds up production time while also reducing the number of flaws in final products. Because of machinery capabilities, it is frequently used in the automotive industry. Modern automotive systems need innovative leak testing fixturing and methods. For instance, leak testing systems are used when building fuel rails. Systems contain a vacuum pump, test chamber, and a helium mass spectrometer.
Not so long ago, automotive manufacturers only needed basic forms of leak testing for standard assemblies (air condition, cooling systems, and power train components). Traditionally, either accumulation or hard-vacuum methods were implemented, but those do not cut it for modern cars.
There are many factors that influence the need for high-tech leak testing machinery to be incorporated into automated assembly machinery. One of the most significant factors is advances in fuel delivery technology. Other factors include power sources and engine monitoring. For these technologies, innovative leak detection is an absolute must.
When considering direct-injection, the high-pressure fuel rail is known to have a leak rate spec of around 10-4 (atm-cc/sec). Testing these parts with helium (inside of a vacuum chamber) is a complex process. Fuel rails are primarily known as tubes that deliver gasoline to an individual fuel injector inside an internal combustion engine.
Twenty years ago and more, it was not uncommon for fuel rails to reach pressures of 30 to 60 PSIG. Because of the modern demands of fuel economy, PSIG is now closer to 5,000 and beyond.
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