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floor and tailored for specific measurements,” he said. Such instruments need to be rugged, provide protection for the stylus with retraction methods, and give guidance for the operators. “The software needs to be easy to use, in intui- tive ways. Our software is designed for the operator to see a picture of the gage where it needs to be deployed. They put the gage there and they get a smiley or a frowny face emoticon [indicating success or failure]. That is what people want,” he explained. He also agrees that demand is


growing in response to the tightening of tolerances. Another key factor is in how metals-based manufacturing is chang- ing. “Now you have different production methods, like hard turning or super finishing and other areas where you are introducing new surface features where maybe the traditional way of looking at the surface with a probe creating a 2D line might not be sufficient,” he explained. Why? ‘Leads’ may develop, minute patterns in the surfaces in contact with rotating shafts that could move lubrica- tion in undesirable directions, causing leaks. These are hard to detect because a surface may be turned, ground, heat treated, and finished, obscuring the lead and the process that created it. “Detect- ing these leads is what our advanced technology does,” said Blind. Another problem is in wearing surfaces, such as one might find in engine cylinder liners. “In engines, you want a tight fit even while lubrication is needed, so you need a smooth surface yet with enough oil retention in order to keep an oil film. With today’s aluminum block engines, one of the issues you are having is mineralization of aluminum engines. The industry developed flame spray technologies, infusing an alumi- num block with a crystalline substance and creating a new surface.” A 2D measurement is not sufficient enough to


June 2016 | AdvancedManufacturing.org 69


measure it, according to Blind. Like the ‘lead’, it requires a 3D measurement of the surface. “This is another megatrend, the development of 3D surface measurement parameters, along with innovative ways to measure those in production,” he said.


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