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The Pioneer of Modern Leak Testing

Leak Testing Silos.

As someone who has worked for longer than I care to remember helping companies in a wide range of industries engineer cost-effective leak testing solutions, it’s pretty easy for me to spot design teams that have worked in an isolated silo.

The evidence appears at my desk in the form of leak testing challenges requiring cumbersome workarounds because designers kept their nose to the drawing board without involving anyone outside their department. 

Usually these product design teams did not confer much, if at all, with the manufacturing engineers in their own company.  They also never took advantage of no-cost leak testing applications engineering services readily available as reality checks at even the earliest stages of product design.  USON, for example, can usually provide a detailed leak testing applications analysis with a 48-hour turnaround.  This ability to confer with experts is easier than ever with the use of videoconferencing capabilities for consultations that eliminate guesswork from leak testing applications engineering and comparable specialty engineering disciplines.

What are the telltale signs of product design teams crippled by their self-imposed isolation?  Perhaps a dozen times a year or more USON is called in to unravel unacceptable Gage R&R for full-scale production lines—that’s one sign.  Or, it’s similarly common for a product design to not take into account how the duration of heat or pressure during a weld assembly, for example, might lead one to a modified device design or alteration in subassemblies. 

“Going back to the drawing board” is more common than one might think because there is a need to leak test an interior component as well as a the overall leak rate of a completed part but the design team failed to take into account the need to test all parts by leak testing only the final assembly instead of implementing a series of leak tests throughout the final assembly process . For example in engine testing, leak tests are performed after machining processes, during assembly and upon completion of assembly.

Sadly, the design team in a silo is usually in a company filled with silos—some seemingly hermetically sealed, but in most cases, thankfully, not leak tight!   The solution could be as simple as putting a CC: on most emails about a product design to the process and manufacturing engineers that will later need to cut the costs of production down to size.  A company that knows how to build a common Rolodex* of outside expert consultants usually speeds time-to-market AND builds better products. 

From a leak testing perspective, the design teams working in the context of a company with functioning inter-department communications is able to shave seconds off of each leak testing cycle.  The lower costs of production that correspond to shorter test cycle times is not trivial.  

Better products, shorter time to market, lower production costs— all upsides and no downsides to ensuring that product development gets granular on production processes early on.  I can’t think of a downside— can you?

For those of you of a younger generation, from

A Rolodex is a rotating file device used to store business contact information. Its name is a portmanteau of the words rolling and index.

The Rolodex holds specially shaped index cards; the user writes or types the contact information for one person or company onto each card. The cards are notched to be able to be snapped in and out of the rotating spindle. Some users tape ordinary business cards directly to the Rolodex index card, or place them in plastic or vinyl sleeves in the shape of Rolodex cards. Some companies produced business cards in the shape of Rolodex cards, as a marketing tactic.

The Rolodex was invented in 1956, by the Danish engineer Hildaur Neilsen, the chief engineer of Arnold Neustadter’s company Zephyr American, a stationery manufacturer in New York. First marketed in 1958, it was an improvement to an earlier design called the Wheeldex. Zephyr American also invented, manufactured and sold the Autodex, a spring-operated phone directory that automatically opened to the selected letter, Swivodex, an inkwell that did not spill, Punchodex, a paper hole puncher, and Clipodex, an office aid that attached to a stenographer’s knee.

The name rolodex has become somewhat genericized for any personal organizer performing this function, or as a metonym for the sum total of an individual’s accumulated business contacts.

AND you can still buy them!

Joe Pustka

Director Applications Engineering

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