How To Buy a Leak Tester?

Leak testing might appear simple and straightforward; however, finding a leak testing system best suited to your application can be deceivingly complex. This page guides you to the questions you should ask before buying any leak tester.

What is an Automatic Leak Tester?

Automatic leak testers perform tests without operator attention or interpretation. Today’s high manufacturing standards demand sophisticated product testing. Typical leak testing requires –

  • Specialized testing techniques
  • Various test pressures or vacuum levels
  • Multiple programs for various parts to be tested
  • Multiple testing either sequentially or simultaneously
  • The Beginner’s Guide to Leak Testing

A complete automatic cycle performs one or multiple tests from start to finish displaying quantitative results with accept and reject status. Accept and reject limits are programmable. Common leak tester types:

  • Flow Testers
  • Differential pressure decay leak testers
  • Pressure-decay and vacuum-decay leak testers

Automatic production leak testers typically perform leak tests in 0.2 seconds to 30 seconds. These testers easily communicate with programmable logic controllers (PLCs). Common features –

  • Data collection
  • Monitor testing trends
  • Have maintenance programs
  • Change test programs automatically
  • Compensate for temperature changes
  • Automatically compensate and calibrate
  • Offer alarms for out-of-calibration conditions
  • Provide multiple station and multiple pressure capability

What Should I look for in a supplier?

Be sure you select leak tester supplier who has diverse experience and offers leak testing techniques that exactly match your application and requirement. Be cautious of suppliers who push one or two test types and must sell those as “the best way.” At a minimum, your leak test supplier should offer and support a wide variety of techniques, including –

With these techniques available, your supplier can honestly evaluate your requirements and recommend ideal techniques for your specific applications. Remember, when you purchase a quality product form a qualified and trusted supplier, you are provided with security and guaranteed performance.

Look for quality registrations such as:

  • ISO 9001
  • CSA (Canadian Standards)
  • CE MARK (European requirement)

These registrations help ensure additional overall quality, documentation, and validated software.

What about price?

You should never buy a leak tester based solely on price. Many factors should be considered besides initial cost.

If you buy on price alone, you should also budget additional time and money for potential failure and on-going problems. If you can afford to do this, you can probably afford to purchase a quality leak tester from the beginning. For example, say you save several thousand dollars on your leak test machine’s initial purchase, this seemingly large savings can rapidly cost you in –

  • No local support
  • Poor performance
  • No telephone support
  • Extra cost for training
  • Non-repeatable results
  • Continuous breadowns
  • Poor or inadequate manuals
  • Inadequate application support
  • No emergency parts availability
  • Extra cost for installation assistance
  • Lack of flexibility for changing needs
  • Calibration failures and product recall
  • Poor software maintenance and documentation

You cannot analyze tester cost by the formula that lower purchase price equals lower cost. Always consider the long-term value you will receive over years of ownership, and your partnership with a successful and innovative supplier.

What Does my Supplier Need From Me?

If you have testing parameter, provide them to your supplier. These facts will be important to your supplier –

  • Test Volume
  • Reject leak rate
  • Test part description
  • Part numbers of all items to be tested
  • Part Material
  • Test Pressure
  • Production Rate

If test parameters are not available, explain your application and challenges to your leak test supplier. Your supplier should have years of application experience to help you set parameters and select a system that’s right for your application. For a new product, certain variables should be considered when setting leak test specifications. Answers to these questions will be helpful –

  • Working pressure of the product
  • Type of liquid or gas used in the product
  • How your product is used in the marketplace
  • Material from which the product is constructed
  • Whether the seal must prevent liquid or gas leakage
  • Consequences of leakage or improper flow, such as-
    • Cost to the user
    • Product malfunction
    • Product deteriation
    • Possible fire or explosion
    • Frustration or inconvenience
    • Harm to people or surroundings
    • Unsightly or displeasing environment