ROSEMONT, IL –Leak tests, one of the most critical quality-control checks performed by automakers, are becoming increasingly important as the industry transitions to next-generation alternative powertrains, including emerging fuel-cell electric-powered vehicles (FCEVs).
"Electromobility is becoming more and more significant,” notes Thomas Parker, INFICON’s North American automotive sales manager. “Fuel-cell and lithium-ion battery technologies offer tremendous environmental benefits, but they also require precise leak tests to ensure proper safety and performance levels are met.” A new e-book from INFICON, “E-Mobility: Leak Testing for Electric and Fuel Cell Vehicles,” outlines currently available leak-detection technologies and explains how automakers and their suppliers can use them through various phases of development and production. The comprehensive 53-page e-book points out that modern tracer-gas test methods are the most suitable for testing alternative drive systems. In fact, tracer-gas tests can detect leaks that are 1,000 times smaller than air tests currently in use.
Parker points out that the global market for fuel cell-powered passenger vehicles, heavy-duty trucks and buses is expected to expand rapidly over the next decade as another option for reducing harmful greenhouse-gas emissions. FCEVs, which run on hydrogen fuel, only emit water vapor from their tailpipes.
FCEVs feature many of the same components that are used in pure EVs and have similar leak-testing requirements. This includes safeguarding batteries, cooling systems and high-voltage components such as motors, controllers, and sensors. FCEVs, however, have their own unique requirements as well. In addition to battery and electrical systems, these vehicles need to have leak-tight fuel-cell stacks, bipolar plates, and high-pressured hydrogen tanks and fuel lines. “Fuel cells have several potential failure modes, including hydrogen, air, and coolant leaks,” Parker explains. “It’s critically important for manufacturers to conduct proper leak testing for all components, as well as end-of-the-line testing of complete systems.” He adds that leak testing with tracer gas provides the necessary sensitivity and reliability to meet today’s demanding safety requirements and consumer expectations. INFICON will showcase its advanced leak testing technology this month at two leading industry conferences:
Automotive Testing Expo (ATE) 2021 in Novi, Mich., Oct 26-28, (Booth 11014)
The Assembly Show in Rosemont, Ill., Oct. 26-28, (Booth 1114)
“Our new e-book explains which vehicle components should be tested, the test methods that should be used and the leak rates that guide each method,” Parker points out.
The company’s e-book is designed especially for manufacturing engineers and quality control managers, as well as for engineering students. It can be downloaded free of charge at https://bit.ly/3sdRKxq.