Industry-First System is Faster, More Accurate than Conventional Devices ROSEMONT, Ill. – INFICON, one of the world's leading suppliers of leak-detection equipment for the auto industry, has developed an industry-first leak detector ideally suited for high-speed robotic test applications.
The new INFICON leak detector is being shown at The Assembly Show (Oct. 23-25) in Rosemont, Illinois. Equipped with high-flow technology, INFICON’s XL3000flex is faster and more accurate than most systems currently in use. It also is the first product of its kind able to detect critical leaks affecting product quality using either helium or forming gas (95-percent nitrogen and 5-percent hydrogen) with similar accuracy. “Our new leak-detection system allows users to choose the lowest-cost or easiest-to-source test gas available,” says Thomas Parker, INFICON’s North American automotive sales manager. “The system’s high-flow technology allows it to operate with the highest gas flow available in today’s market which makes it ideal for robotic testing.” Parker notes that robotic leak-detection systems are well suited for automotive applications that call for accurate and reliable high-speed test methods. The INFICON XL3000flex, for example, is capable of locating extremely small leaks in critical components such as electric-vehicle batteries and is up to 20 times faster than conventional systems. “The auto industry serves as a benchmark for other industries, so we expect that the robotic test methodology we are developing with the INFICON XL3000flex will be adopted by other manufacturers as well, especially in the refrigeration, air-conditioning, construction-equipment and aerospace industries,” Parker explains. The XL3000flex is highly reliable under production conditions; is suitable for harsh manufacturing environments; allows high process speeds, and detects leaks even with elevated test-gas levels in the background. Parker notes that with selectable flow rates of 300 or 3,000 sccm (standard cubic centimeters per minute) the XL3000flex is ideal for robotic applications where high gas flow is critical for reliable testing. Parker adds, however, that the XL3000flex has been designed for manual testing as well. To assist operators during manual leak detection testing, INFICON has equipped the XL3000flex with redundant alarms to alert the operator by sound, sight and touch. If the XL3000flex, for example, detects a leak that exceeds a defined limit, it triggers an audio alarm in the base unit as well as in the sniffer handle. At the same time, LEDs in the sniffer tip flash, a display on the sniffer handle changes color from green to red, and the handle itself vibrates. With three distinct tones available, audio alarms also can be set to avoid confusion with neighboring stations. In dynamic robotic testing a robotic arm moves the sniffer tip over the test part. INFICON high-flow technology is indispensable for this type of application because the sniffer probe needs to maintain a safe distance from the test part to compensate for component tolerances. Thanks to a high gas flow of up to 3,000 sccm, the XL3000flex can detect leaks of 1∙10-3 mbar∙l/s at a distance of 6 mm at speeds of 14 cm/s. The XL3000flex uses fieldbus interfaces for easy integration into industrial applications such as statistical process control and other quality systems. INFICON will be located in Booth #245 at The Assembly Show at the Donald P. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. Parker notes that INFICON recently published a white paper on the importance of leak testing electric-vehicle battery systems. It’s available at: http://www.inficon.com/en/markets/automotive/e-mobility-white-paper/ .