A very cool project

Every now and again we get asked to make something a little different. This time it was to invent and manufacture an altitude test rig. Nothing to difficult there, just this one had to be quite big and have no leaks so to maintain a set pressure – now it becomes interesting.

So after talking more with the customer and getting my head around what was required I decided to get my Dad involved in the design and building of them – he has a lot of experience in pressure.
A while back he modified a HIAB off the back of a truck to work in excess of 1000 meters of sea water so if he can do that,this shouldn’t be a problem. That project was a remotely operated HIAB placed on a 30Deg sloping sea floor and then to lift zinc ingots which where scattered over the floor after a container ship hit the Great Barrier Reef.

Anyway back to the project in hand. As you can see from the pics, this altitude chamber has a 25mm thick perspex window so you could see the machine in operation while at altitude ( negative pressure), electrical connections so 230 VAC power to run the machine then over 20 thermocouple connections for measuring the temperature in a number of places over the unit. We used a small diaphragm pump to generate a small amount of positive pressure max10 kPa and well as negative pressure down below –50 kPa (approx. 50 kPa absolute or 500 hPa or 500 mbar A).
Confused yet, don’t worry – getting your head around gauge and absolute pressures can be time for a beer – a blog to follow on that topic.

We built three of these units; one for New Zealand; one for Japan; and one for Taiwan. I believe the unit in NZ is being used for performance testing of a certain product made by a very large NZ healthcare company so to ensure that their product has no issues in high altitude cities like Mexico City which is at 2421 meters above sea water.

 So if you have a special pressure or temperature project give us at call at CPS, we just maybe be able to help.

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