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

Becoming Combat-Tested

Industry: Defense

Problem: Design a vent for a combat zone to make sure it can survive off-road splash debris and explosive fragments

Solution: Donaldson’s standard Snap-Fit enclosure protection vent (EPV) had passed the tests. 

A particularly tough environmental test of the Donaldson Snap-Fit EPV came from a defense contractor recently. The company had won a five-year contract to produce the next generation of a classic off-road military vehicle. It reached out to Donaldson to procure an automotive-rated EPV to put on the pressure sensors of its wheel valves, which help inflate and deflate the vehicle’s tires.

“Most tires have pressure sensors on them,” says Jake Sanders, Product Development Manager for Donaldson Integrated Venting Solutions. “An enclosure protection vent is necessary to interact with the outside environment for accurate sensing feedback, while keeping contaminants such as water, ice, snow, mud, and dirt out of the enclosure.”

With the success of military missions at stake, the manufacturer was required to verify that all components passed tests for heat, shock, and vibration. Although the company had already decided to protect the wheel valve with a special metal cage, the whole assembly—including the EPV—needed rigorous field-testing. After in-depth conversations with the vehicle manufacturer, Donaldson provided two designs for testing: its standard Snap-Fit EPV, and its low-profile Snap-Fit EPV model.

“We work closely with new customers to ensure they aren’t overlooking any factors of significance,” says Nathan Malek, Global General Manager for IVS. “We also gather as much background as we can about the application parameters to ensure our product meets their performance specifications.” 

The tests were punishing. The prospective customer subjected Donaldson’s vents to temperatures ranging from -40° C / -40° F to 121° C / 250° F. Next were simulations of a combat zone to make sure the EPV could survive off-road splash debris and explosive fragments. The customer placed the assembly under high-pressure gravel bombardment, then inspected the vent membrane for visible damage.

“If gravel were able to hit and damage the membrane, it would compromise the water and dirt protection of the vent,” says Sanders. “If the EPV were breached, you could have primary function failure in the field.”

The company reported back that Donaldson’s standard Snap-Fit EPV had passed the tests. The last question was one of supply: Could Donaldson be trusted to manufacture large-quantity orders without interruption for at least five years?

Donaldson cited 70 years of experience in high-volume production, and its track record as a partner with dozens of Tier One suppliers and automotive OEM customers.

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