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CRITICAL MEASUREMENTS


Surface Metrology, the Right Tool for the Right Job


The Hommel-Etamic IPS B100 internal test sensor enables automatic inspection of the internal surfaces of cylinder bores with a 360° view of the bore hole.


There probably has never been a time with more choices for measuring precision engineered surfaces. The key issue may not be how many tools there are, but rather which is right for your task.


Bruce Morey Contributing Editor


T


here are any number of reasons why surface measurement is getting to be more important to today’s manufacturers. As dimensional tolerances continue to tighten, the variation in


surface roughness itself becomes an important factor. Critical surfaces, like piston cylinder surfaces, need to be ‘engineered’ to meet precise functional require- ments. Even the cosmetic look of a surface may be so important it has to both be precisely specifi ed and precisely measured. Suppliers of measurement equipment are also getting inventive, creating new technologies to take those mea- surements—or making proven methods easier to use. “Our customers are people who design something to meet a purpose with a needed functional surface,” explained Patrick Nugent, vice president of metrol- ogy systems for Mahr Federal (Providence, RI). “As tolerances [of the dimensions] are getting tighter, the surface fi nish is getting more critical to the end result— the surface fi nish has not improved that much in com- parison to the tolerances. So, surface fi nish becomes a bigger percent of the total dimension that they are trying to measure. People are also now realizing that those minute surfaces function differently now.”


66 AdvancedManufacturing.org | June 2016


Photo courtesy of Jenoptik


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