Ateq guarantees that future generations of FUEL CELL-equipped VEH/VE/VER/VE vehicles will meet the highest quality standards.
Whether it's cars, trucks, buses or electric bikes, the Ateq Group, a multinational with more than 45 years of experience in measurement solutions, provides the quality processes that car manufacturers need to manufacture MORE efficient, faster and more reliable VEH/VE/VER/VE vehicles equipped with fuel cells.
The use of leak testing in the mass manufacturing of electric vehicles is relatively new, as the transportation industry has been accustomed to testing internal combustion engines and turbojets.
The abandonment of fossil fuels andCO2 emissions has encouraged the development of new technologies. These new devices pose new challenges for leak testing of production lines.
Compared to annual leak tests of an underwater electric motor or battery system, daily leak testing of thousands of vehicle engines involves very different procedures.
E-mobility is no longer just for toys and prototypes.
E-vehicles are varied: electric bikes, fully electric motorcycles or scooters, fully electric or hybrid vehicles, small electric drones, even large flying devices, etc.
Through its technical focus and culture of innovation, Ateq has found new ways to test these components for mass manufacturing.
The first basic component of each battery is a cell. A battery is a set of cells. To reduce weight, battery cells are often packed in soft pockets. Ateq has developed a patent-pending leak testing method to test these cell pockets using ionized air technology. It makes it possible to test the bags, even without solvent evaporation.
The ionized air test can provide a leak test result for the entire ladle and can also be used to locate the location of the leak in the cell.
For metal-bodyed cells, Ateq also has a test method that detects solvent evaporation.
Each battery cell has a semi-permeable membrane that separates the positive and negative terminals of the battery. This cell is subjected to a flow test prior to assembly to ensure that air passes through the membrane within the specified specifications and that there is no unexpected hole in the membrane.
The cells can be packed together in a module with a protective envelope for easy handling. At this point, the module housing is usually not waterproof, but pressure reduction leak tests are sometimes used to test the module housing.
Ateq offers a module balancing bench. A group of cells does not reach full load if the cells are not at the same load level. The module balance bench is used to harmonize the load level of the cells during the manufacturing or maintenance process.
The cells or modules are packed together in sealed dust, water and sludge splash protection housings. It can be the 12V battery of a conventional internal combustion engine vehicle, a small rechargeable bicycle battery or a fully electric car battery. Leak tests all work in the same way.
These battery housings and covers are tested separately for leaks before the cells/modules are mounted inside. If the housing is made of plastic, a differential pressure reduction test with noise removal technology can be used to test for overall leaks in the battery covers. If one wishes to locate the defect in the lid, it is possible to use an ionized air leak test.
If the cover or tray is made of metal, only pressure reduction technology with noise elimination can be used. To locate leaks on a metal cover, perform formation gas leak detection (H2N2)and localization using a gas-sensitive H6000 portable detector. Ateq also proposes to automate this test with an intelligent holding robot.
Once the battery cells and modules are mounted in the housing, a final leak test must be performed. It can be achieved using pressure reduction or air mass flow technology with very low pressure drop sensors to quickly measure leaks. Ateq's patent-pending DNC[Differential Noise Cancelling] technology blocks the fundamental conditions for reading leaks.
The housing usually has a semi-permeable membrane that allows the air pressure to balance with atmospheric and temperature changes. This semi-permeable membrane allows air to pass through, but not water.
Ateq has an airflow tester to test the breathing device to make sure it is not stacked twice and has not been pricked. The tester can also perform a wet test that involves placing air on water to detect smaller defects in the subset.
Some batteries are equipped with a check valve instead of a breathing device that releases the pressure generated by the gases emitted during charging. This check valve is tested with air pressure to look for openings, cracking pressure and flow using an Ateq ERD leak tester.
Some large battery cases may be equipped with a liquid cooling circuit. The cooling circuit is also tested for leaks with an air tester.
For a large battery failure analysis, a formation gas sniffer can be used to locate leaks, as air leak tests cannot indicate the locations of leaks. Gas sniffer leak tests are also useful for troubleshooting potential leaks in a device. The disadvantage of using a tracer gas leak test on large batteries is that the tracer gas can take a long time to mix with atmospheric air inside a battery if there is no tracer gas current through the battery. It is recommended to completely evacuate atmospheric air from the battery tray or cover before pressurized it with tracer gas, as the tray/cover cannot withstand a large vacuum.
It is also recommended to monitor the tracer gas concentration on several sealed battery openings to verify that the tracer gas has reached all corners of the battery.
Building on its experience with aviation battery testers, Ateq can manufacture custom battery testers that charge and discharge an entire battery.
A fuel cell creates chemical energy by combining hydrogen or any other combustible gas with oxygen in the air and turning it into electricity for the vehicle.
Fuel-side components are typically tested for leaks with a mixture of 5%H2 (hydrogen) and 95%N2 (nitrogen) called forming gas. Unlike pure hydrogen, the formation gas is not flammable, and it helps detect faulty areas that hydrogen could pass through. The air side is usually tested for leaks using an instrument to reduce air pressure or mass flow. The semi-permeable membrane of the fuel cell shall be tested for airflow and the vehicle cooling system shall be tested for leakage using an air tester.
Upstream fuel storage and distribution systems are also tested for leaks, with air or formation gas, depending on the application.
The electric motors that drive the wheels are in waterproof housings that protect the engine from splashing water. A plastic motor housing can be tested using ionized air when not mounted. If the case is made of metal, or fully assembled, it can be air tested.
The wires of the engine coil are coated with an insulating "varnish". Sometimes this "varnish" cracks, mainly where the wires are bent. Ateq has developed a test to detect this defect using ionized air technology.
The new electric vehicles also feature automated driving assistance that uses sensors to feel the environment. Whether the sensors are cameras, lidars or any other element, they are placed in waterproof housings since they are exposed to the elements. Ateq also tests TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) sensors, during wheel and vehicle assembly and at the maintenance level.
It is also best to perform an air tightness test to test these sealed sensors.
Sometimes a car battery can't stand a fast enough charge. The energy must therefore be stored in a large capacitor to avoid a break. Ateq has an instrument designed to safely discharge these capacitors before vehicle maintenance.
In addition to the new leak testing applications of electric vehicles, it is important to keep in mind that many traditional leak testing applications still exist in an e-vehicle, such as braking systems, headlights, taillights, ABS and central electronics, steering components and air conditioning systems, Like what.
With the accelerated technological evolution of fuel cell-equipped HEVs/VE/VER/EVs, OEMs need to bring new models to market faster than ever to remain competitive. However, this means that vehicle manufacturers will face many new challenges during the manufacturing process, such as: the increasing complexity of new vehicles, new technologies that are not yet fully mastered and the increased pressure to achieve the highest level of quality to avoid safety risks and vehicle recalls.
To meet these new challenges, Ateq offers leakage, flow, battery and TPMS testing instruments to ensure the quality of many components throughout the electric vehicle manufacturing process.