Leak testing is critical to manufacturing quality assurance practices and functionality testing for a broad range of pressurized equipment. While there are many leak detection methods, helium vacuum tests offer superior sensitivity and accuracy for identifying common leaks and micro-leaks.

Why Use Helium Leak Testing and Detection Equipment?

Leak detection equipment offers a means to detect leaks and verify leak-tightness in vacuum conditions. Technicians often employ helium as a test gas because this small and light molecule provides a wide detection range in vacuum tests between 102 and 1013 Pa · m3/s. Helium leak testing and detection equipment offer precise quantitative and repeatable results with fast cycle times. The inert, non-flammable nature of helium also contributes to its popularity in leak testing.

Manual sniffing or spraying offers one of the simplest ways to find leaks, though this process can be time-consuming. Automatic leak detection solutions facilitate a much higher-detection speed with minimal operator input. Helium leak detectors obtain extra data that traditional leak detection methods like bubble testing or pressure drop will not.

Ultimately, helium leak detection offers the best chance of successfully detecting every leak, improving the efficacy of quality assurance and functionality testing processes.

Helium Leak Testing Capabilities

Testers employ helium leak testing in a variety of configurations, including:

Helium Hard Vacuum

There are two primary methods for helium hard vacuum leak testing:

  • Inside-out. Inside-out leak testing requires securing the in a sealed chamber. A vacuum pump removes all atmosphere from the chamber, after which the leak testing cycle begins.
  • Outside-in. This method tests the part without a chamber. During the vacuum test, technicians evacuate the component and spray helium gas around its exterior. If there are any leaks, the helium flows into the part’s interior, where a mass spectrometer will detect it — the presence of helium in the interior results in a failed test.

Helium Accumulation

Helium accumulation is less sensitive detection than the helium hard vacuum method. The part gets placed in an accumulation test chamber where testers can monitor helium leakage. The part may be pre-filled with helium tracer gas and sealed before placing it in the chamber, or filling may occur once inside. For larger objects that can’t fit into the test chamber and only have a few locations where leaks would appear, small clamshell accumulation chambers facilitate site-specific leak testing.

Helium Sniffing

As a non-quantitative leak testing method, helium sniffing uses a helium tracer gas and detection instruments to identify an environment’s helium concentration. An increase in helium determines that the part is leaking. Helium sniffing is typically employed to locate leaks in existing systems for repair. This method depends on operator skill, making it essential to use a well-qualified and experienced operator to get accurate results.

Helium Leak Testing Equipment from AMD

At AMD, we carefully analyze the customer application and offer custom-tailored solutions to address specific customer needs. We will identify the best methods for detecting leaks and provide solutions ranging from fully-automated and semi-automated systems to manual/batch testing equipment. Regardless of your industry, we have helium leak testing solutions to meet your requirements.

Contact us today to see how our innovative helium leak testing equipment will benefit your application.

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