Generally, vents protect a variety of enclosures by preventing the ingress of liquid and solid contaminants, while still allowing gases to pass freely through the vent. The venting of enclosures typically provides a cost-effective solution that improves the life of the gaskets and seals used in the enclosure/device. Optimally, these vents are manufactured of ePTFE membrane and provide the following advantages:
- Effective pressure equalization that addresses altitude and temperature changes
- Dust tight protection
- Sound transmittance for speaker and microphone acoustic applications
- Water-tight protection
- Protection against oils, solvents and other low-surface energy liquids
Venting technology can offer these advantages to a wide variety of markets, such as: automotive, consumer electronics, medical electronics, medical bags, packaging, and outdoor electronics. These markets all present unique environments that must be considered in the design and application of a venting solution to achieve proper protection.
Automotive: Automotive applications face a myriad of environmental challenges and comprise unique performance requirements:
- Fluid Reservoirs, include SCR systems, windshield washer tanks, and fuel tank venting systems. These applications present liquid barrier challenges and require continuous venting of the tanks for proper liquid dispensing while preventing ingress of contaminant into the reservoir. In these applications, venting technology is capable of providing barrier protection for water, dust, particulates, automotive liquid and low surface energy fluids while maintaining required venting of the tank. Furthermore, the best vents help prevent spills from fuel and DEF tanks to protect the environment and ensure vehicle performance.
- Lighting includes rear/front headlamps and fog lamps as well as decorative lighting applications. These applications experience fogging and condensation of headlamp interiors and, for some applications, require venting to avoid heat build-up in the lighting enclosure. Moreover, temperature swings due to the light turning on/off require venting to avoid pressure differences that deteriorate the gaskets/seals of the enclosure. Effective vents provide the necessary airflow to effectively dissipate heat and remove moisture vapor from the enclosure to reduce fogging of the lighting structure resulting in optimum lighting performance. This is accomplished while maintaining a barrier to water, dust, particulates, automotive fluids and low surface energy liquids.
- Motors and Actuators are used in multiple applications in today’s automobile. These devices generate heat during operation and require venting to dissipate heat and equalize pressure of the motor housing and/or enclosure while maintaining a barrier to water, dust and low surface energy liquids. Effective venting technology provides a required barrier to contaminants found in the vicinity of these motors and maintains necessary airflow to dissipate heat.
- Sensors in the automotive systems are used to sense air quality, humidity, gas & pressure. These systems are vital to maintaining the performance and comfort of the vehicle. To function properly, sensor systems require rapid communication with the surrounding environment without ingress of liquid and dust contaminants. Effective vents provide rapid vapor and gas transfer rates with protection from ambient contaminants and liquids.
- Electronic control units are located throughout today’s automobile. Some of these units, such as ABS, ESPs, and Engine Control Units, generate considerable heat that needs to be removed without allowing dust and liquids from leaching into the electrical enclosure. Effective venting technology and assemblies provide suitable airflow for heat dissipation while maintaining a dust and liquid-tight barrier. Such vents and assemblies can eliminate ingress of liquids even at high temperature and high pressure spray conditions due to the robust design of the vent assembly.
- Powertrain systems are the heart and soul of a vehicle’s propulsion and include rear axle, front axle, gear train, transfer case, and transmission components. These systems comprise enclosures that house mechanical moving parts positioned in an oil bath for proper lubrication. During operation, these enclosures run at extremely high temperatures, resulting in pressure build-up in the enclosure. One manufacturer offers a revolutionary and innovative powertrain venting solution - the first to incorporate a proprietary coalescing media that effectively equalizes pressure from within the enclosure.
Consumer Electronics: Venting for consumer electronics encompasses acoustic applications, sensor applications as well as battery systems - all of which possess unique performance requirements met by select manufacturer’s venting technology.
- Acoustic Vents are often used to waterproof mobile devices at the microphone and speaker locations on mobile devices. These devices include smartphones, tablets, wearables, and cameras. These venting applications must effectively allow sound to transmit through the vent while eliminating any pressure buildup within the speaker or microphone cavity. The vent also prevents liquid and dust from building on the microphone or speaker, allowing the diaphragms to move freely. Select membrane materials have been developed that provide superior sound transmission as well as liquid and dust protection from the environment.
- Sensors in mobile devices are used to sense air quality, humidity, temperature, pressure, and sometimes body conditions of the user. To function properly, sensor systems require rapid communication with the surrounding environment without ingress of liquid and dust contaminants. Select vents provide rapid vapor and gas transfer rates with highly effective protection from ambient contaminants.
- Battery Systems are required for all mobile devices. During operation, these systems produce heat and gas, increasing the pressure inside the battery enclosure. Vents are required to equalize the increased pressure with ambient and to encourage heat transfer from the enclosure. Vents from some manufacturers are uniquely designed to provide suitable airflow required to exhaust the enclosure pressure while maintaining dust and liquid barrier protection from outside contaminants.
Medical Electronics: Venting for medical electronics encompasses acoustic applications, sensor applications as well as battery systems - all of which possess unique performance requirements which are met by some manufacturers’ venting technology. These acoustic vents are used to protect hearing aids, AED devices, monitors, pumps, and meters from dust and liquid ingress while allowing sound to transmit through the vent. Similar technology is also used for electronic personal care products and plays an integral role in extending product life and performance.
Medical Bags: Ostomy and Urology Bags utilize the superior adsorptive Ultra-Web® Odor Control (UWOC) technology to prevent ballooning of the bags during use. This is accomplished by venting the ostomy bag through an adsorptive vent capable of removing all odors from the vented gas resulting in improved quality of life of the user.
Packaging: For the Caps and Closures market, vents allow for pressure equalization and prevent gas build-up inside the bottles while preventing liquids from leaking through the vent. Such venting eliminates bloating or paneling without leakage through the vent.
Outdoor Electronics: In today’s time, we are continuously surrounded by telecommunication devices that will become more and more prevalent as new technology is developed to improve efficiency of our daily lives. Similar to other sensitive electronic enclosures, telecommunication devices require venting to equalize pressure and dissipate heat while maintaining barrier protection form the environment. Venting technology and assemblies provide suitable airflow for heat dissipation while maintaining a dust and liquid-tight barrier. Such vents and assemblies can eliminate ingress of liquids even at high temperature and high pressure spray conditions due to the robust design of the vent assembly.
Vents often enable the optimization of a wide variety of enclosures across a multitude of industries. Given their ability to provide pressure equalization, protection from dust, water, oils and solvents, as well as their acoustic transparency, their value cannot be overestimated.