During manufacturing processes it is imperative that modules consisting potential path for water intrusion are leak proof.  While existing leak testing equipment is effective, the cycle times range from a minimum of approximately 160 seconds and can be more than 360 seconds.  The limiting factor is in the technology limitations as it relates to detecting very small leaks.

Background:

Leak testing of modules is a cost driver in the manufacturing process due to the high cycle times to complete the test cycle.  Current methods are effective, but costly.  Some of the important items to consider are floor space (the leak test fixture should be as compact as possible), testing without creating any mess that needs to be cleaned would be preferred (any processes that include water or any other test medium that would need to be cleaned after the test drives additional cycle and cost), and overall cost of the technology to be implemented (high fixture or capital costs are undesirable).

Current processes employ measurement of differential pressure to determine if any leaks are present, and what size the leaks are.  Detecting larger leaks >/= 1.0mm can be done relatively quickly, but smaller sized leaks take longer and drive the cycle time.

Constraints:

  • Cycle time of 45s or less
  • Ability to detect very small leaks greater than or equal to 0.3mm in diameter
  • Process that does not create additional steps, such as post cleaning of tested components / modules
  • Ability to test large parts (up to 1.5m x 1.5m)
  • Low cost capital investment preferred (cost for process calculated in terms of cycle to complete leak detection).

Possible solution areas:

Manufacturing industries

Desired outcome of the solution:

Leak detection solution capable of detecting leaks larger than 0.3mm in diameter, in under 45 seconds.

Previously attempted solutions:

  • Water Leak Process
  • Vacuum Decay
  • Ultrasonic Flow
  • Thermal Escape
  • Thermal Paper
  • Process in use today is Pressure Decay / Mass Flow (successful in application, but improvement desired)