Pressure Testing in Machining and Die Casting
Pressure testing, or leak testing as it is also known, is an excellent way to verify the integrity of a die cast and machined component. Here at CastAlum we have integrated pressure testing within our machining centre for every part we produce. Even though we are manufacturing aluminium products in extremely high volumes, we have developed processes and systems that allow us to quickly validate the quality of our components.
The Fisher Leak Group have provided us with their excellent pressure testing units ever since the inception of our machine shop. They have some excellent articles on the principles of leak testing and why they are necessary.
Essentially, these testing units help us know if there are any weak spots in our aluminium castings. This may take the form of a crack, porosity, or any other manufacturing imperfection.
These defects can be small and difficult to detect, but still compromise the structural integrity of the part. When they are machined, the machining tool can penetrate these voids, and potentially create a path for fluid to leak. Thin-walled sections of parts are particularly prone to this, and due to advancements in light weighting aluminium components, this is an ever-increasing challenge in machining!
Fast-tracking Pressure Testing
These are just some of the reasons why leaks can occur, but whatever they may be, we of course want to know about them as soon as possible! One of the key value-added propositions we are able to offer our customers here at CastAlum is that we can die cast and machine parts in the same building. This allows us to implement a ‘fast-track’ system whereby we can send parts straight from our die casting cell, through any secondary processes, such as shotblasting, through to the machine shop for machining and subsequent quality control. This means that within a matter of hours we can have cast a part, machined it, and then subjected it to pressure testing, gauging, and checked it dimensionally on our dedicated coordinate measuring machine (CMM)!
Pressure testing is a critical step in the casting and machining of automotive products. Many countries have specific regulations in place regarding the safety of these components. By subjecting our parts to stringent quality checks, including pressure testing, we can give our customers peace of mind that the products they are receiving meet the necessary standards.
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