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Donaldson Snap-Fit Enclosure Protection Vent Stands Up to Harsh Automotive Environments

Defeating a Hungry Pest

Industry: Automotive

Problem: A major OEM supplier to automakers found damage to some of their ECU components and discovered tiny ants all over the circuit board.

Solution: Donaldson developed a Snap-Fit enclosure protection vent (EPV) with narrower slots in the cap as a creative way to direct water away from the membrane during a high-pressure spray and effectively defeat ants from entering.

The tiny ant would be admirable, if not for the havoc it can create—as discovered by a major OEM supplier to automakers. 

“They found damage to some of their ECU components, and when they looked into it, they found tiny ants all over the circuit board,” says Ashley Merrill, Product Marketing Manager for Integrated Venting Solutions at Donaldson. “They had a Snap-Fit EPV attached to the metal housing on the ECU, but ants were getting through the vent cap holes and eating through the media.”

Fortunately, Donaldson was quickly able to provide a solution. The company had developed a Snap-Fit EPV with narrower slots in the cap as a creative way to direct water away from the membrane during a high-pressure spray. Conveniently, the smaller vent slots made Donaldson’s Snap-Fit vents an effective anti-ant device as well. Switching to Donaldson’s product solved the OEM’s pest problem.

“Size was everything on this,” says Merrill. “Our competitor has really large windows in the cap. Our existing Snap-Fit EPV cap design had openings small enough to keep out the ants.”

It wasn’t the first time Donaldson had faced the mighty insect. Ants are everywhere. A few months earlier, a Japanese customer reported ants in vehicle headlamps already in use in the field. Existing vents were suspected as a possible pathway for the infestation.

In this case, changing hole size was not an option. The model’s push-on vent design required a different solution. The Donaldson IVS engineers considered many options, including pest-control coatings—joking about cinnamon, a household ant repellent. But ultimately, the most cost-effective fix was customizing a new barrier to fit over the media.

“We customized a design using metal mesh and added that on top of the media,” Merrill reports. “It allowed the media to still function normally, but the thin layer of mesh wouldn’t allow the ants to chew through it.”

Donaldson Snap-Fit EPVs are designed to stand up to a host of threats. And when a new invader comes onto the scene, Donaldson engineers work with their customers to outsmart it.

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