5 Ways Automated Leak Testing Saves Time
Your manufacturing business is challenged to keep up with increasing demand, and one of the largest areas of opportunity that you see is in your manual leak testing process. An investment in automated leak test equipment seems plausible, but how can you quantify the benefits and communicate that up the ladder well enough to gain support for the project? The answer: speak the language of time.
Let’s take a look at five ways in which automated leak testing saves time. In addition, we’ll describe how improving your leak test process also benefits other areas of your operation, broken down into pre-test, during test and post-test stages.
Saving Time Pre-Test
Automating part inspection streamlines processes. Using precise inspection sensors, a leak test machine can evaluate the part to be tested for proper assembly before the test begins. This “pre-check” catches assembly irregularities, such as if components are missing or features are misaligned. If a part is improperly assembled, the test station rejects the part immediately, saving time on tests that are otherwise bound to fail. The irregular part can be sent for rework sooner than if it was caught in a final quality check.
Saving Time During Testing
An automated, “hands off” leak test station takes most human part handling out of the equation. Using PLC logic, mechanical positioners, actuated seals, alignment guides, automatic clamps and a host of sensors, the entire leak checking process is performed with only a single “start” command from the human operator. In fully automated lines, the leak test station can become part of a continuous manufacturing sequence, where the human start interaction is also eliminated. This frees up operators to perform other tasks and cuts labor needs overall.
Automated data collection also saves time. With the array of instrumentation that comes along with an automated test station, you gain an integrated method of compiling, organizing and reporting data directly from the machine itself. There’s no need for a human to read and write down the information. You can configure the leak test station to provide data for generating reports that satisfy both operations and quality department requirements. Taken together, automated data collection functions speed up your record-keeping process immensely.
Saving Time Post-Test
Automatic recovery is another function of automated testing. Especially in highly regulated industries such as pharmaceutical packaging, test recovery and turnaround time is just as critical as the test itself. Once a leak test is complete, an automated machine can:
- Evacuate test media from the test chamber.
- Recalibrate instruments.
- Confirm a sterile chamber environment.
- Dump self-check data to record.
- Be ready for the next test in very little time, all without human interaction.
Plus, you’ll also save delays that can stem from human errors during re-setup.
Record retrieval is another benefit of automation. Having all of that great data captured directly from the test station is one benefit, but being able to immediately query that data and present it to auditors, regulators, internal stakeholders and even customers is an entirely separate benefit. Reporting out test results down to the individual unit, storing and organizing in a data warehouse, allows your team to pull up that data instantly from a variety of other systems in other departments (such as customer service, compliance, quality, engineering, etc). Taking it one step further, this data can be employed in business intelligence functions from preventative maintenance to quality assurance. Even sales benefits from knowing which products have a lower test failure rate and thus potentially higher margins.
Discover How Automated Leak Testing Saves Time
These time saving benefits and more come integral with every AMS leak test project. Get peace of mind that your leak testing systems are reliable and cost effective from automation pros. We’re proud members Association for Manufacturing Technology to bring you the service and performance your business deserves. To learn how AMS’s line of automated leak test systems can benefit your production needs, contact us for a complimentary application review.