Leak and Flow Testing to the Highest Standards
Founded in 1975, ATEQ Corporation has a tester for every application. The company is proud of its four and a half decades of visionary innovation and technical expertise, ensuring that its products set the gold standard in leak testing and detection.
Innovation is at the very core of ATEQ Corp. As Marketing Manager Heidi Franklin explains, “Our founder had a vision to replace traditional production line leak detection methods with computerized leak testers and leak detection equipment that were fully automated, calibrated and traceable to International Quality Standards, fast and simply tested with air.”
As ATEQ’s product lines diversify and its reputation for precision and quality grows, so too does its geographic market reach. Today, its network of ATEQ subsidiaries and 600 employees spans forty countries, serving global companies like General Motors, BMW, FCA, PSA, Sony, L’Oréal, Renault-Nissan, Aptar, Bosch and Valeo.
With brand ambassadors located across those forty countries and eight offices in North America alone, including one of its largest subsidiaries, ATEQ USA, which was founded in 1989, ATEQ has become a global leader both in terms of size and prowess.
The growth of ATEQ Corp. geographically has been carefully controlled and shaped to ensure scalability without compromising the differentiation in terms of quality and service it has striven to achieve. The company, despite its growth, operates like an international family, doing so in a relaxed but goal-oriented environment and culture in line with the company’s goals.
“ATEQ’s goal is to build up the ATEQ name in the industry and make ATEQ’s added value well-known and understood,” says Franklin. These values are chiefly the rapid cycle time, high repeatability and the local sales and support, including onsite services to save customers assembly downtime, and also training to ensure that the impact of its solutions are maximized.
Across its operations efforts are being taken to anticipate customers’ future testing needs, responding to those needs through the development of new technologies and approaches. Franklin notes, “As manufactured products became more advanced and customers developed a high expectation for quality, the need for precise leak testers to handle stricter testing specifications became more imperative.”
Measuring a difference
Responding to the needs of the markets it serves, ATEQ has continued to innovate its products and evolve its processes to ensure it remains the forerunner in leak and flow testing. Its product lines are extensive and include leak testers that use ionization technology to test the insulation of battery cell pouches, or small plastic parts for leaks, as well as those that feature dual sensor technology.
Each leak or flow tester is custom built, depending on the application, testing specifications and preferences. As Franklin explains, “ATEQ’s flagship leak and flow testers determine precise minuscule leak rates by using air to pressurize a test part or a testing chamber and measure the pressure drop. These instruments can be used on a test bench or built into a custom machine to be automated into the production process.”
Over the years, ATEQ expanded its expertise and took advantage of opportunities in the market as they presented themselves, including its tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS) division, which was a direct response to the market.
“Over the years we have taken our expertise in pressure-measurement testing equipment and expanded our product markets. When it became mandatory in the USA for cars to have tire pressure monitoring systems in them, ATEQ developed a TPMS division,” Franklin says.
Within its TPMS division, engineers devised a series of handheld aftermarket tools to serve automotive mechanics in the testing of tire pressure, temperature and battery readings, in addition to a line of industrial TPMS equipment for assembly line testing.
ATEQ Corp. stays ahead of the industry curve by ensuring its tool databases are up to date with the latest makes and models of vehicles, working with manufacturers to devise custom solutions where needed.
Further to its tire pressure monitoring sensor (TPMS) and leak testing divisions, ATEQ has an aviation division which sells testing equipment to aircraft manufacturers and repair stations. This includes equipment that tests the accuracy of an aircraft’s instrument gauges by creating simulated flying pressure conditions, as well as aircraft-battery testing equipment and electrical continuity testers. Cobra Systems, an American manufacturer of aviation adapters, was recently acquired by ATEQ Aviation as a way to expand ATEQ’s product offering.
As if industries like the automotive and aerospace industries weren’t demanding enough with their stringent safety requirements, ATEQ Corp. also serves customers in the medical industry, where the margin for error is zero and the penalty for poor performance of a product can be a life in danger.
While all products are given the same degree of attention and testing, Franklin explains that “Sometimes leak testing specifies for a medical component to be tested with a gas that has even smaller molecules than standard compressed air like hydrogen, nitrogen or helium.” Leading the industry in these standards is daily demand on ATEQ engineers, who respond by continuously developing new and superior testing sensors and equipment.
Specific to its automotive applications, Franklin notes, “The automotive mainstreaming of electric vehicles has driven ATEQ to innovate upon our existing products to cater them to be able to test specific new applications.” She remarks on the evolution to electric vehicles. “ATEQ’s standard leak testers can leak-test electric vehicle batteries throughout every step of production, from cell to module to complete battery pack.”
Franklin also highlights the company’s new module balancer, designed for vehicle rework stations, which enables the testing and balancing of charges in electric-vehicle battery module cells to maximize performance.
ATEQ also developed testing equipment for waterproof electronics, where the products are often completely sealed, leaving no ports to test. As hermetically sealed products require a specific type of leak test, ATEQ responded with a sealed-component ingress leak-test using vacuum and pressure on a part in a sealed chamber.
Innovation at the core
Innovation is a very important part of what ATEQ does. In fact, its differential-pressure testing technology, a dual sensor-based system that tests pressure and the leak environment simultaneously using two sensors, has helped to improve the speed at which test cycles take place and the repeatability that is promised.
ATEQ Corp. has mastered innovation on the product, technological, and customer portfolio levels, always pushing the envelope in terms of what is possible. It is a continuous process driven by innovation and the will to improve.
“Innovation is one of the pillars of ATEQ’s corporate mission and values and is driven by anticipating the future needs of the manufacturing industry. New ideas and input are always encouraged, well heard and considered from any member of the company, regardless of their position. If ideas are determined to be in line with ATEQ’s goals, we will put together a committee and action plan to make the idea come to fruition,” Franklin explains.
The ability to deliver solutions to anticipated problems is a testament to ATEQ Corp.’s longevity, passion and capacity to innovate, as well as its commitment to relationship building with manufacturers, integrators, and machine builders to further advance the value and exposure of its offerings and the team it has assembled.
“A team of experienced, highly-trained support staff is available at each location around the world to knowledgeably answer customer calls and emails, as well as performing instrument repairs and calibrations with quick turnarounds,” Franklin says of the resources that support ATEQ’s exceptional expertise.
From sales and support to its engineering team, the staff is highly trained, knowledgeable, and has ATEQ application-specific know-how that can be shared with customers to empower them through correct use and yield optimal outcomes.
“Finding application engineers that have a combination of technical, sales, and people skills is challenging enough but on top of that, they have to quickly become well-versed in the science of leak testing to determine creative solutions for customers. It takes many years on the job working with other experienced leak-testing applications engineers to truly become an expert in the field,” says Franklin.
Quality is backed by ISO 9001 and ISO17025 certification and as Franklin explains, “ISO takes standard calibrations to a whole other level because of the rigorous standardized procedures mandated of the calibration process. Some companies claim to do calibrations, but they only calibrate the master leak orifice attached to the tester, rather than calibrating the orifice and the entire leak-testing instrument.”
Franklin also speaks proudly of the success of ATEQ’s Leak Testing Academy and its “Intro to Leak Testing,” a specialized training class specific to the field of leak testing, which began in 2019 at its U.S. headquarters. This class now tours other U.S. offices to serve customers in their own local markets. The training, which has been in great demand, “has proven to be successful with classes selling out quickly and rave reviews from attendees.”
She adds, “ATEQ offers free application assessment, consulting and try-before-you-buy,” offering the guarantee that the company will work closely with customers and manufacturers alike to devise solutions that can be integrated into its customers’ production processes. That’s the way, she says, to ensure satisfaction, elevated performance, and a collaborative relationship built to last.