If you are anything like me, someone will mention Chambers and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets immediately comes to mind. Fortunately, I am in a minority at West Technology and our Engineers and staff have a completely different mind-set. Chambers play a vital role in many vacuum applications. Below are just three examples of these applications and I promise above is the only and last Harry Potter reference I use!
West Technology Systems have a long history and a good reputation for providing on site and in-house Leak Testing services for an array of customers. We primarily use the Pfeiffer ASM340 Leak Detector as it is extremely reliable and has some great functions such as; audio and visual indicators and a portable hand-held screen. Another great factor of the ASM340 is how robust it is; trust me when I say “we’ve put it to the test”. These functions make it invaluable piece of equipment when performing leak testing jobs in those awkward hard to reach places on site. Global Leak Testing is another way of preforming leak testing of components of all shapes and sizes. This method works using a vacuum chamber of a particular size (depending on the size of component), which houses the component to be tested. The components must be evacuated internally and then backfilled to atmospheric pressure with helium before being placed into the chamber. A Vacuum pump and booster will then pump down the chamber to a suitable level, which is when the leak detector can be introduced. The ASM340 will monitor any helium leaks from the components. Customer’s requirements, such as different pass and fail rates are pre-set into the Leak Detector. Linking the AMS340 into our PLC program and system indicators enables us to display a clear pass or fail indication for the components.
Picture: An example of an Global Leak Test System
Vacuum Ovens have quickly become another very popular system for our customers at West Technology. One of the main functions of a Vacuum Oven is to dry and bake out any moisture from sensitive components; this is done by placing them into the chamber, pulling a Vacuum and selecting the suitable temperature. Some ovens have timers included to ensure the more sensitive components are not exposed to high temperatures for prolonged periods of time. The “standard” temperature range is normally 50-250 degrees; however this varies from customer to customer. Some more complex and bespoke Vacuum Ovens are also designed and manufactured at West Technology in Yate. The most recent Vacuum Oven is show below, which is capable of < 10-6 mbar at temperatures ranging from -40°C to +90°C. William Evans our Production Manager explained to me that this type of oven is designed to detect and determine what gases are being released from the components inside the chamber when exposed to the above extremes. This is achieved by using a Pfeiffer RGA (Residual Gas Analyser), which is red component you can see in the picture below. Gases such as: nitrogen, oxygen, argon, water vapour, and general contamination with light hydrocarbons are just some of the gases that can be detected.
West Technology’s VMD range also uses three different sizes of vacuum chambers. The VMD technique is used worldwide by Forensic authorities and research scientists to develop latent fingermarks on non-porous, semi-porous and porous exhibits. Fingermarks developed using VMD are often of much higher quality with excellent contrast and ridge clarity. Will Evans, West Technology’s Production Manager and Ian Harris, Managing Director went to PVC&S (Pfeiffer) in Germany to check out the VMD560 chamber manufacture first hand. See the pictures below (enjoyment was mostly had)
If you would like to enquire about Custom Systems as featured above or Helium Leak Testing, Helium Leak Detectors, Vacuum Pumps, Chambers, Vaccum Ovans or VMD’s then please either clink on the links above or get in contact.