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Title: Method and apparatus for container leakage testing

An apparatus for use in one-hundred percent leak testing of food containers used in conjunction with a tracer gas. The apparatus includes a shell with entrance and exit air locks to create a controlled atmosphere through which a series of containers is conveyed by a conveyor belt. The pressure in the shell is kept lower than the pressure in the containers and the atmosphere is made to flow with the containers so that a tracer gas placed in the packages before sealing them will leak more readily, but the leaked tracer gas will remain associated with the leaking package as it moves through the shell. The leaks are detected with a sniffer probe in fluid communication with a gas chromatograph. The gas chromatograph issues a signal when it detects a leak to an ejector that will eject the leaking container from the conveyor. The system is timed so that the series of containers can move continuously into and out of the shell, past the probe and the ejector, without stopping, yet each package is tested for leaks and removed if leaking.
  1. (Aiken, SC)
Issue Date:
OSTI Identifier:
United States of America as represented by United States (Washington, DC) SRS
Patent Number(s):
US 5388446
Contract Number:
Research Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
method; apparatus; container; leakage; testing; one-hundred; percent; leak; food; containers; conjunction; tracer; gas; shell; entrance; exit; air; locks; create; controlled; atmosphere; series; conveyed; conveyor; belt; pressure; kept; flow; placed; packages; sealing; readily; leaked; remain; associated; leaking; package; moves; leaks; detected; sniffer; probe; fluid; communication; chromatograph; issues; signal; detects; ejector; eject; timed; move; continuously; past; stopping; tested; removed; tracer gas; air lock; controlled atmosphere; fluid communication; conveyor belt; gas chromatograph; sniffer probe; one-hundred percent; leak testing; /73/