Date of implementation: Q2, 2021
Project goal: Prototype can leakage tester
Where do can leaks come from? The cause may be defective cans or damaged valves that let the gas in the container pass under the influence of pressure acting from the inside of the can. To minimize this risk, it is extremely important to buy cans and valves from reputable suppliers.
The key element in the production of aerosols is to select the appropriate combination of clamp parameters for a specific pair of can and valve. It is worth bearing in mind that often cans, which are apparently similar, differ significantly in details and require different parameters. Usually, such parameters are recommended by manufacturers of valves or cans. Being unable to always avoid differences in the parameters of cans, it is worth paying special attention to the use of machine suppliers who place great emphasis on the precision of making their components and checking the tightness of the cans.
Our goal was providing a solution alternative to the automatic test bath to check the tightness of aerosol cans. Test baths are a commonly adopted and used solution in the aerosol industry for many years. They work by immersing the cans in hot water (approx. 60 ° C) for 3 to 6 minutes. If the can is leaky, it should explode in the closed and controlled environment of the bathtub. Test baths are an effective and reliable element of aerosol lines, also accepted by restrictive directives and approval organizations. These devices, however, have one major disadvantage - they are expensive to maintain and very energy-consuming, so as part of a special cooperation, one of our clients commissioned us to design and build a prototype device operating on a different principle than a bathtub, which will detect possible gas leaks using ultra-sensitive sensors.
We knew that apart from the bathtubs, there is one solution on the market that checks the tightness of the cans while they are moving on the conveyor, without the need to immerse them in water. However, it is a very expensive solution, even compared to bathtubs, and our goal was to create a solution that is both reliable and more affordable.
We started the work with creating a concept. One of our main guidelines was to design a modular machine that could be easily adapted to lines of different capacities. As a result of further analyzes and thanks to the involvement of our suppliers, we have defined the minimum parameters that the sensors should meet according to the ATEX directive and in the area of various sensors and automation. Several sensors potentially meeting the criteria were tested and finally it was possible to select sensors that would meet the requirements and were able to detect even small leaks caused by a leak in the can. To increase the precision of measurements, the device was equipped with two testing stations, each of which had a different sensitivity. We installed them in the device and then adjusted the device control program.
We installed the finished device on the line previously delivered by Solmatic at the customer's site. The original line was equipped with a bathtub, which the customer had to leave due to the requirements. Currently, the customer uses both devices and after a few months it can be clearly stated that a leak tester is at least as effective as a bathtub.
This gives us great confidence that our new device will be accepted as a universal alternative to bathtubs by authorizing organizations. The device is available in two versions:
• for lines with a capacity of up to 60 pieces per minute,
• for lines with a capacity of up to 120 pieces per minute.
Machines used in the project:
1. Gas leak detector station