Introduction of VAD 19 cleanliness testing standard:

The requirements for clean parts in the automotive industry were first proposed by Robert Bosch in 1996 to improve the production quality of common rail injection systems for diesel vehicle engines. Due to the high pressure of the common rail, Robert Bosch reduced the size of the nozzle to 200μm or even smaller. But they soon realized that such small nozzles could easily become clogged with contaminant particles remaining in the system after the production process. As a result of this new concept, quality specifications for clean parts in production have been proposed. This is also the birth of component cleanliness testing.

Since then, many reliability problems in automotive systems have been attributed to particulate contamination, i.e. inadequate component cleanliness.


Since 1996, the VDA-19 standard was published by the German Automobile Industry Association in 2005 due to the steady rise of data related to the cleanliness of parts. The VDA-19 standard has thus become a very useful document on a global scale, which has also become the blueprint for cleanliness testing of the international standard ISO-16232. It is worth noting that ISO-16232, published in 2009, has been developed to be fully compatible with the German VDA-19 standard. Over the years, hundreds of cleanliness laboratories have been established in the automotive and supply industries. At the same time, countless independent service labs began to operate. Today, many positions, or even entire departments, across the many companies affected are coordinating all aspects of component cleanliness.

Ten years after the publication of VDA-19, the German automotive industry came up with a request to revise and expand the specification. Its main purpose is to improve the comparability of cleanliness test results and to add new technology content for contaminant extraction and analysis. Based on the publication of the new VDA-19 standard in March 2015, an ISO-16232 revision committee was established accordingly with the aim of transferring the content of the new VDA-19 standard to the international level. The new ISO-16232 is expected to be published in 2016/2017.

Today, these two standards are the analytical framework for component cleanliness in the automotive industry worldwide. In particular, the VDA-19 standard mentions many practical and detailed methods for the extraction and quantitative analysis of contaminant particles on the surface of parts.