The slow drip of manufacturing failure

Paul Boughton

The cost to people and business for electronics that fail, machines that jam, drugs that lose potency, metals that rust and foods that rot, runs into billions of pounds each year in the UK alone.

Perhaps surprisingly these, and other problems like them, often have the same root cause. Vapours, usually water or hydrocarbon vapours, that simply get into the wrong place.

Although there is no universal or perfect solution, a single piece of vapour permeability testing technology is available that allows you to quantify the problem accurately and to check for practical workmanlike solutions.

Versaperm's latest permeability testing instrumentation offers a quick and simple way to measure this critical vapour permeability for virtually any system, component, product or material.

The equipment allows designers and manufacturers to experiment and test materials that offer viable solutions. This can be counter-intuitive as some materials (such as cellulose which is very widely used) are great barriers to liquid water but actually lets water vapour pass through almost as if it was not there! It also can give a QC department a way to check for trends or changes of either incoming materials or outgoing products without causing unnecessary delays. It is usually accurate in the parts per million (PPM) range, with some vapours and materials can be accurate to parts per billion range. In some cases this takes just 30 minutes.

Versaperm's latest instrument and specialised sensor range can actually measure permeability not just for water vapour, but for virtually any gas or vapour used by industry, including oxygen, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, helium and nitrogen. The system can measure several material samples, seals, enclosures or products at a time.