Sealed Device Leak Testing

What Is Sealed Device Leak Testing?

Sealed device leak testing is a method of leak testing “sealed” products that don’t have ports, valves, or any other way to apply pressure or vacuum for testing purposes. A dry and nondestructive test process, it is an effective way of ensuring that sealed products truly are sealed against contamination and leakage, and is especially important for parts that require IP67 classification.

How Does Sealed Device Leak Testing Work?

The best way to leak test your sealed products is via volumetric fill testing using Cincinnati Test Systems’ Sentinel I28 leak test instrument. To perform this type of test, the sealed device is first placed in a test chamber. The chamber is sealed, and air or vacuum is used to charge the chamber to the required test pressure. The Sentinel I28 unit monitors pressure changes inside the test chamber, with changes in pressure used to measure leak rate to determine the pass/fail condition of the part in test.

Any change in pressure indicates that either the object under test is leaking air into the chamber (if under vacuum) or that air from the chamber is infiltrating the object (if using pressurized air). If the pressure change is less than the tested product’s leak rate specification, the product passes the test; if the pressure change is greater than the specification, the product has failed.

Gross Leak Testing vs. Fine Leak Testing

Sealed devices can be tested using two different processes: gross leak testing and fine leak testing. In gross leak testing, air travels into the test chamber via the chamber’s isolation valve, and pressure is equalized between the chamber and the reference volume tank. Gross leak testing provides almost immediate results.

If a sealed device passes the gross leak test, it can then undergo fine leak testing. A fine leak test measures pressure loss in the test chamber over an extended period of time. The test chamber’s isolation valve is closed, and pressure inside the chamber is monitored for gradual loss. If the pressure drop over the programmed test time does not exceed part specifications, the part has passed the test.

Our Sentinel I28 leak test system can be used for both gross leak testing and fine leak testing, and can be programmed to perform both tests consecutively for fast, complete sealed device leak testing.

Request a quote on a Sentinel I28 system, or contact Cincinnati Test Systems to learn more about our sealed device leak testing solutions.

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CTS Solves Brazed Joint Leak Testing Conundrums

Recently, an HVAC systems manufacturer was faced with a unique challenge with leak testing: they needed a way to leak test the brazed joints in one of their products at final assembly. With multiple joints of varying sizes, all of which need to be tested to rates of 1/10 ounce of refrigerant loss per year, the HVAC devices proved difficult to test by other methods. “Sniff-type” leak testers were not accurate or repeatable enough, and prior testing of similar products lead to consistent false leak failures that cost the company time and money.

Seeking an effective and reliable solution, the HVAC company turned to Cincinnati Test Systems.

A Customized Nitrogen Purge Test System

To provide the leak testing capabilities required, Cincinnati Test Systems (CTS) designed a customized solution based on our patented Nitrogen Purge leak detection technology. Built into a hand-held, clam shell casing, this custom leak tester is easy to maneuver and clamp over the brazed joints for testing.

Nitrogen purge testing provides dependable background control, and can reduce or eliminate the need for hard vacuum testing. Our nitrogen purge technology improves sensitivity in sniff-type leak detectors, reducing background to roughly 10-6 atm-cc/s for micro-leak detection and reliable repeatability. CTS offers this technology in both hand-held and benchtop configurations.Leak Testing Hand Held Clam Shell

This customized leak testing device features inner and outer chambers that surround the part test area. Ports in the chambers allow low-pressure nitrogen to fill the cavity, forcing out ambient atmosphere and creating a “helium-free” test environment for sampling and micro-leak detection.

The inner chamber of the leak tester collects tracer gas as it leaks through the part’s brazed joints. The outer chamber provides testing isolation by maintaining a low positive pressure nitrogen curtain that prevents ambient atmosphere from reentering. This atmosphere isolation improves testing sensitivity and accuracy while eliminating false leak failures.

TracerMate CS Provides System Controls

This customized leak tester uses CTS’ TracerMate CS tracer gas management system to control system evacuation, test pressure, gross leak test, tracer leak backfill, and system exhaust processes. The TracerMate CS module also makes it easy to integrate a mass spectrometer helium detector for additional control, management, and testing functions.

The Leak Test Experts

CTS provided a custom nitrogen purge solution for the HVAC manufacturer’s unique leak testing challenge. We offer standard and custom leak test devices, and will work with you to find the perfect solution for your application. Contact us today to discuss your leak testing needs.

TracerMate Leak Location System Provides Low-Cost Leak Isolation for Loop Applications

Cincinnati Test Systems has integrated the INFICON Sentrac hydrogen leak detector into our benchtop TracerMate leak location system to provide a low-cost atmospheric leak locating system. The TracerMate unit is used to execute and manage evacuation, backfill, and testing sequences with integrated pneumatics. The Sentrac INFICON hydrogen gas leak detector provides a wide range of test sensitivity for small, medium, and large leak detection.

By integrating these two instruments, CTS provides the capabilities to locate and isolate a leak with a high degree of accuracy using a simple handheld probe. This probe monitors the PPM (parts per million) of hydrogen in the air around the part, using an electronic hydrogen sensor calibrated to detect concentrations of hydrogen gas higher than normal background levels.

TracerMate leak location systemLeaks are reported by leak rate volume, with an audible alert and color status light. Pre-configured for quick and easy operation, the TracerMate system is capable of properly evacuating parts to ensure proper pressurization so that the tracer gas reaches a leak path quickly. At the end of the test cycle, the TracerMate re-evacuate and vents the part to control hydrogen background in preparation for the next test cycle.

The TracerMate CS is ideal for production and repair loops and other applications where part assemblies fail final inspection due to leaking seals and/or leaking component parts. For customers who require testing using other tracer gases such as helium, the system can communicate with other leak detection devices used for sniffing or tracer gas accumulation testing.

Cincinnati Test Systems will be demonstrating the TracerMate CS system at our exhibitor’s booth (#N10838) at the upcoming AHR Expo. The 2017 AHR Expo is scheduled for January 30 through February 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Plan now to stop by and see our leak test technology in action.

TracerMate CS Nitrogen Purge System Detects HVAC/R Leaks

Cincinnati Test Systems’ TracerMate CS nitrogen purge system is a new tracer gas leak test solution that provides increased sensitivity to detect micro-leaks in HVAC/R assemblies.

TracerMate CS nitrogen purge system provides innovative Engineering for Reliable Leak Test Results

Other, more conventional tracer gas sniffer systems analyze for tracer gas content with background present. This presents a problem, as helium concentration in the atmosphere can fluctuate, making it difficult to distinguish good products from bad, thus resulting in false leak failures.

CTS’ patented nitrogen clamshell test process solves the helium concentration problem, ensuring highly repeatable accuracy. The TracerMate CS uses low pressure nitrogen to force ambient background away from the leak test area, thereby creating a clean, “tracer gas free” environment for the mass spectrometer to sample and detect micro-leaks as small as 1×10-6 atm-cc/s.

TracerMate CS Nitrogen Purge System Our nitrogen purge technology features inner and outer chambers that surround the part test area. These chambers have ports that allow nitrogen to fill the cavity and force out ambient atmosphere. During the leak test cycle, nitrogen flow into the inner chamber stops, the cavity collects tracer gas, and the chamber is continuously sampled by the mass spectrometer to detect the presence of tracer gas leaking out of the assembly. The outer chamber provides a constant low positive-pressure nitrogen curtain to hold back and prevent ambient background from entering, effectively isolating the inner chamber from the test environment.

The TracerMate CS unit is an all-in-one tracer gas management system, providing evacuation, test pressure, a gross leak test, tracer gas backfill, and process exhaust features. The system is easy to operate and integrates easily for system operation and test results management. Custom benchtop models are also available to support a broad range of part test applications.

Cincinnati Test Systems will be demonstrating our new TracerMate CS technology on assembled components, fittings, and joints at the upcoming AHR Expo, scheduled for January 30 through February 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Plan now to visit CTS at exhibitor’s booth #N10838.

CTS at The ASSEMBLY Show 2016; Instruments Showcased by Plant of the Year

Cincinnati Test Systems (CTS) is pleased to announce it will be taking part in and exhibiting at The 2016 ASSEMBLY Show, sponsored by ASSEMBLY Magazine, later this month. We are one of the convention’s Charter Exhibitors, and are among 260 exhibitors at this year’s show. If you will be attending The ASSEMBLY Show, you can visit CTS at booth #737.

Assembly Plant of the Year 2016In addition, Cincinnati Test’s leak detection devices will be prominently showcased as part of the Show’s Assembly Plant of the Year. Our systems are used throughout Bosch Rexroth’s Fountain Inn, South Carolina, assembly plant, the recipient of this year’s award. The Bosch Rexroth plant manufactures hydraulic pumps for construction equipment, farm machinery, and other heavy-duty off-highway machines, and uses CTS’ leak detection units for in-line leak testing of assembled products.

“We use in-line leak testing after assembly to ensure an absolute leak-free product is delivered to our customers,” Bosch Rexroth’s director of operations Joerg Schaeuble said in an ASSEMBLY Magazine article announcing the award. “Depending on the […] product, we select the most sensitive leak-test process, primarily pressure decay and mass flow.

Bosch Rexroth and Cincinnati Test Systems have had a long and successful business relationship, with CTS providing numerous leak testing systems for Bosch Rexroth over the years. CTS equipment can be found not only in the Fountain Inn plant, but also in many of Bosch Rexroth’s worldwide production facilities.

The Assembly Plant of the Year Award aims to identify the assembly facility that has applied the best and most effective processes to reduce production costs, increase productivity, reduce time to market, and improve product quality. First awarded in 2004, it showcases America’s finest production facilities and the people, products, and processes that make them successful. All manufacturers that assemble products in the United States are eligible.

The fourth-annual ASSEMBLY Show will take place in Rosemont, Illinois, from October 25-27 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. This year’s event will feature hands-on workshops, a lively exhibit hall, a high-profile keynote presentation by Raymond Muscat of the University of Michigan, numerous networking receptions, and informative educational sessions. For more information on The 2016 ASSEMBLY Show, visit

Cylinder Head Leak Testing, Fast & Effective

There is no better or more effective way to leak test engine cylinder head leak testing than Cincinnati Test Systems’ unique two station engine cylinder head leak testing system. Powered by our Sentinel Blackbelt Pro multi-channel concurrent leak test instrument, this specialized system allows for independent or simultaneous pressure decay leak testing of left and right engine cylinder heads. It delivers accurate and reliable test results for up to 34 parts per hour.

Semi-Automatic, Dual Station Pressure Decay Testing

The Cincinnati Test Systems (CTS) engine cylinder head leak testing system is a semi-automatic device with two test stations, each with a specially-designed tooling fixture—one for left heads, one for right heads. It can be used to test L/R versions of the same part or two different model parts.

The operator manually loads a part or parts onto the system’s sliding tooling plate and starts the test cycle. The system then automatically moves the part(s) to the test position, where an automated pneumatic part clamp hold the part(s) in place. Part ports are pneumatically sealed and tests are performed automatically, with no need for operator intervention. Sensors detect the part(s) and adjust the test cycle accordingly—left station testing only, right station testing only, or dual station testing.

The Leak Test Cycle

Two CTS Sentinel Blackbelt Pro testing units built into the system (one for each test station) are used to conduct four different pressure decay tests on each tested part. The first of these tests checks the cylinder head’s water jacket; the second and third tests run simultaneously and test oil passages and spark plug holes; the fourth and final test checks the exhaust and intake ports. Test pressure for all processes is 20 psig, with a leak rate of 12 scc/m.

Sentinel Blackbelt Pro for Cylinder Head Leak TestingCylinder head leak tests that pass all tests are automatically marked by the machine; rejected parts are not marked. After all test processes are finished, the system’s part clamps and seals are released, and the part(s) are returned to the “load” position for unloading.

The entire test cycling, including automated positioning, takes roughly 68 seconds. Part loading and unloading generally takes about 45 seconds. Overall, the system is capable of testing up to 34 engine cylinder heads per hour.

Cylinder Head Leak Testing Powered by Blackbelt Pro

The Blackbelt Pro modules included in the cylinder head leak testing system are complete units—the same ones we supply individually for pressure decay testing operations—each with the full complement of high-performance features.

They provide independent, four-port, multi-channel testing, with concurrent or sequential testing options. The Blackbelt Pro units offer testing versatility, with leak, flow, pressure, and vacuum testing capabilities.  Onboard storage allows for retention of up to 999 test programs, with optional program linking.  EtherNet/IP connections and full-color 9” touchscreens provide an easy-to-use operator interface.

Contact Cincinnati Test Systems today for more information on our two station engine cylinder head leak test systems.

Blackbelt Pro Medical Syringe Assembly Testing

The Sentinel Blackbelt Pro from Cincinnati Test Systems (CTS) delivers superior versatility that allows users to perform a variety of leak tests. This multi-test, multi-port, multi-channel leak test instrument is ideally suited to leak and blockage testing for medical syringe assemblies, providing concurrent synchronous or asynchronous testing for up to four test parts. If you’re leak-testing medical syringes, you need the Blackbelt Pro—it’s the most accurate and effective benchtop leak test instrument you’ll find anywhere!

Blackbelt Pro Highly Accurate Pressure Decay Leak Testing for Medical Syringes

Sentinel Blackbelt ProDesigned to independently test medical syringes, the Blackbelt Pro is a manual, four-station pressure decay test system. A single Blackbelt Pro unit can test up to four syringe assemblies simultaneously, with a single operator to load test parts, execute test cycles, and unload parts upon completion.

Testing is a relatively straightforward process. The user loads syringes into special test fixtures that are connected peripherally to the Blackbelt Pro and starts the test cycle by simply pressing the “Station #1 Start” button. The test parts are sealed automatically, and the Blackbelt Pro initiates the pressure decay leak and blockage tests.

The first test process uses a quick pressure decay test to check for blockages. Parts are pressurized to 3.0 psig, stabilized, and tested for minimum pressure loss of 2.0 psig in just 0.1 seconds. The second test uses pressure decay to detect leakage. The seals are maintained, and parts are pressurized to 27 psig. They are then stabilized, isolated, and tested for less than 0.05 psig loss, all in roughly four seconds.

High Throughput Testing with No Loss of Accuracy

Tests are then repeated concurrently across every engaged test station, either in sequential (test station 1, then station 2, then 3, then 4) or asynchronous fashion (test individual stations in any order the operator requires). Both test setups allow the operator to unload a part after it’s tested and load a new, untested part in its place for continuous, non-stop testing. This feature, along with the Blackbelt Pro’s quick test times, allows users to test up to 900 parts per hour.

Pass/fail results for tested parts are indicated by green (pass) or red (fail) indicator lights. Parts that pass inspection can be unloaded and a new part loaded in their place; rejected parts remain locked into the connection fixtures until the operator hits that station’s “Stop” button to release the part.

The Leak Test Experts

CTS has been designing, engineering, and manufacturing highly accurate and highly repeatable leak test instruments for over three decades. The versatile, fast, and easy-to-use Blackbelt Pro provides reliable performance for medical syringe assembly testing and numerous other pressure decay testing processes.

Contact Cincinnati Test Systems today to learn more about syringe assembly testing with the Sentinel Blackbelt Pro.

Leak Test Systems, Transmission Flow Valve

Cincinnati Test Systems (CTS) manufactures a variety of pressure decay leak test systems that are engineered to accommodate specialized leak testing applications. This unique transmission flow valve test system is a prime example—it delivers accurate and efficient leak testing, with an indexing dial configuration that allows for throughput of up to 600 parts per hour.

Leak Test Systems Completely Automated for Rapid Results

This six-station, indexing dial test system was designed and built to perform automatic leak and flow testing on cam phasing oil control valves. It provides fast and efficient part testing, using an auto-loading conveyor and a rotating indexing dial to advance parts from station to station for leak test systems.

To start the cycle, a pick-and-place loader transfers test parts from a pallet to the indexing dial, rotating them into the proper position for testing (Station 1). Once the parts are loaded, the pick-and-place arm retracts as the dial move the parts to Station 2. Every time the dial indexes, two new parts are loaded into the system and the parts already in the system progress to the next station.

Transmission Flow ValveTo continue…

At Station 3, parts receive P-port reverse check valve flow testing. This test ensures that the check valve is functioning properly to prevent backflow. Once in position, test tooling advances to automatically seal the part and close the spool valve for pressure testing. Test air is supplied at port B, while ports A and T are dead-headed and port P monitors for leakage. This test also ensures that all parts are present. Test pressure is 14.7 psig (1 bar), monitored at 500 Hz sampling.

At Station 4, parts receive forward flow P-port sweep testing to ensure the valve provides proper flow. Once the part is in position, tooling advances to automatically seal the part, with ports P, T, and A+B sealed independently. Port P is pressurized, ports A and B are dead-headed, and port T measures flow. This test monitors pressure, force, position, and flow to create a flow curve at various spool positions from fully open to closed. Test pressure is again 14.7 psig, with sealing recorded at 500 Hz sampling.

Parts that pass both tests are laser marked for product identification at Station 5. At Station 6, a pick-and-place unloader transfers the marked flow valves from the system to pallets on the unload conveyor; rejected parts are delivered to the reject conveyor and removed from the leak test systems.

The indexing dial allows the system to test two parts every 12 seconds, for a total of 600 parts per hour.

The Leak Test Experts for Leak Test Systems

CTS has the know-how and the expertise to provide the right leak test solution for any application. Contact Cincinnati Test Systems today to learn more.

IPxx Leak Test Solutions from CTS

IPxx ratings have long been applied to industrial equipment, agricultural equipment, military equipment, and other “heavy duty” machines. But recently, consumer products like the new Samsung Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7 smartphones are being built to meet IPxx standards.

However, just as surely as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, everything leaks—IPxx-rated or not. There are countless possible reasons why production parts may include defects. The key questions that need to be answered are: How well, and how long, will these products perform to the intended manufacturing specifications? Answers to these questions directly correlate to the associated design and manufacturing processes. IPxx-ready test equipment from Cincinnati Test Systems (CTS) will help you ensure that your products function as intended.

Detect & Eliminate Leaks to IPxx Standards

CTS’s high precision test equipment can quickly detect potentially costly defects in your product’s production stage. Many manufacturing facilities have started to adopt custom test equipment in response to the International Engineering Consortium’s (IEC) coding system designed to provide reassurance to customers that the manufactured products are tested with respect to ingress contamination.

The IEC’s ingress contamination specifications and test requirements have been unified through the International Protection System Marking (IP) (#60529). This code includes a two-digit suffix that rates each product in relation to how well it performs to the ingress standards. The table below shows the performance rating scale for IP coding.

IPxx Ingress Contamination TableIP67, IP68 & Other IPxx Product Designations

IPxx designation can be applied to any industrial or consumer product that has been tested for resistance to ingress. Ingress contamination is typically tested using air pressure or vacuum to simulate the physical environmental conditions to which the product in question will be exposed in everyday use.

Implementing leak testing, such as for IP6x, IP67, or IP68 certifications, into your manufacturing processes can help identify:

  • How well your product performs and functions as designed to ingress standards for dust, water, and other fluids
  • Product performance or quality issues
  • Ways to reduce waste/scrap
  • Methods for improving product reliability while reducing liability
  • Process control validations via test results

CTS’ Advanced IPxx Leak Testing Solutions

Cincinnati Test Systems’ leak test solutions are used by manufacturers all over the world to address ingress contamination in automotive, medical, energy, military, transportation, and consumer products. CTS offers turnkey designs and applications support that will meet or exceed your objectives and performance expectations.

Our IPxx leak test solutions include function testing, performance testing, and a broad range of leak test methods utilizing pressure decay, vacuum decay, differential pressure decay, volumetric fill, mass flow, and tracer gas technologies. Implementing CTS ingress contamination test equipment into your process environment will help you determine how well your product will perform relative to its intended specification.

CTS leak test units include capabilities to simulate exposure to dust, dirt, condensation, and liquids, and are the perfect way to ensure conformance to IPxx ingress contamination requirements. Contact us today to have our experts review your application with you to see how CTS test equipment can benefit your next project!

Leak Testing Composite Electrode Assemblies

For fast and accurate leak testing of composite electrode assemblies, look no further than Cincinnati Test Systems’ to design and manufacture to meet your specifications. This single-station system utilizes a CTS Sentinel Blackbelt Pro for reliable results and fully repeatable test cycles. The unique, semi-automatic setup allows for throughput of up to 28 parts per hour.

Reliable Pressure Decay Leak Testing for Electrode Assemblies

Specially designed to leak test composite electrode assemblies, this system can accommodate parts measuring up to 35” x 34” x 1”. Operators manually load and unload parts on a moving tooling plate, and after the part is moved into test position, locating switches ensure that it’s correctly positioned for testing.

From there, the part is positioned between upper and lower tooling plates and fitted with top and bottom nest seals. Once the test cycle is initiated, the upper tooling plate lowers onto the part to hold it in place, using a special pneumatic cylinder that provides up to 9,000 lbf of force.

The test cycle itself runs start-to-finish without the need for operator interaction. The part is tested using pressure decay leak testing, at a pressure of 9 psig for 45 seconds for a pressure drop measurement of 0.001 psig.

After leak testing is completed, the upper tool plate rises to release the part. The operator then manually slides the lower plate back to the start position to unload the part. On average, the complete cycle—part loading, shuttling, testing, shuttling back, and unloading—takes a total of two minutes, seven seconds. This allows for throughput as high as 28 parts per hour.

Sentinel Blackbelt Pro Module Provides Accurate Results

All leak testing processes on our electrode assembly test system are performed by a CTS Sentinel Blackbelt Pro leak test instrument—the same model we sell individually for pressure decay leak testing applications. An Allan Bradley PLC (programmable logic controller) provides machine sequencing.

Leak Testing Sentinel Blackbelt ProThe Sentinel Blackbelt Pro is our next-generation leak testing device. It offers a full complement of high-performance features, including four-port, multi-channel synchronous or asynchronous leak testing and a broad range of leak, flow, pressure, and vacuum testing capabilities. Its built-in memory provides storage for up to 999 test programs, with optional program linking.

Blackbelt Pro units also include instrument self-test capabilities, a part quick-test option, environmental drift control to help maintain accuracy, and absolute pressure transducers. Its broad range of communication operations includes EtherNet/IP, making system integration easy. A full-color 9” touchscreen interface make it exceptionally user-friendly.

No one knows leak testing like we do. And there’s no one more experienced in leak test applications than CTS. Contact Cincinnati Test Systems today to learn more.