TESTING: Helium Leak Tester For Auto Battery Covers

Special shuttle machine tests two different large battery covers for electric cars.

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Involve, Test & Control (ITC), Shelby Township, Mich., a designer and builder of leak-test systems, recently built a special dual-fixture, three-position shuttle transfer machine to leak test two different types of large plastic battery covers for electric cars. The machine is 20 ft long and 7 ft wide. Two dual-fixture platens are indexed in and out of the leak-test station in the center of the machine. While parts are being tested in one fixture, parts are manually unloaded from the other fixture and then reloaded with new test parts. The shuttle fixtures move back and forth with a servo-controlled bearing and rail-type linear transfer system. Cycle time is 75 sec.

The battery covers are loaded on the fixture with the bottom opening facing down. Diamond and round pins locate the part. When the cycle button is pressed, the parts are automatically clamped, sealed, air-leak tested for “gross” leakage, and transferred into the test station, where an upper rectangular chamber is lowered over the part, enclosing it. The chamber has viewing panels and LED lighting. The next leak-test sequence starts by pressurizing the part with helium. If rejected, the part remains pressurized, the chamber is vented, and, if desired, raised so the operator can use a helium “sniffer” wand to locate the leakage source. The machine is PLC controlled.