A key composite material manufacture required a solution to precisely and quickly measure the thickness of large sheets of a non- conductive epoxy resin composite material sold to other manufacturers for constructing RV, mobile homes and other assorted assemblies.
The Problem – High Quality Requirements
Currently used mechanical calipers proved to be difficult to use and time consuming where measurement accuracy and output rates depended on the operator.
As accuracy of 0.5mil (12µm) was required by the manufacturer, and since the sheets were large approximately 6'x 8', it was not easy to obtain calipers which have a precise point of contact over such large distances without introducing displacement errors.
The composite manufacturer is highly meticulous about their product quality. Every product produced must meet specifications or downstream manufacturers would reject the material. Other than the strict quality control requirement, the manufacturer also wanted a reduction in time to make measurements, hence improving efficiency in operations.
The Solution – Microtrak 3 TGS 50-20
The Microtrak 3 TGS 50-20 model can determine thickness variation of 1µm to 40mm. The positioning of the TGS laser sensors is done on opposite sides of the sheet material in a fixture constructed by the customer holding the laser beams coaxial to each other.
It offers up to 40mm thickness variations of the composite sheets of the customer, which can be of any thickness provided the variation is less than 40mm.
After the heads are mounted, the TGS calibration is done by inserting a NIST calibration block of similar thickness to the target materials between the heads and then presetting the TGS to the known thickness of the standard calibration block through the control panel on the TGS.
Alternatively the customer can measure the thickness of certain small composite samples with a micrometer and then use the golden standards to calibrate the TGS periodically. It is a non- contact measurement and the standoff is sufficient such that the material could easily be slid between the laser heads without any chance of hitting the heads.
It is also possible to determine the thickness standard by measuring a specific spot on a sample piece of composite material with an accurate mechanical micrometer. This sample spot is 61.3mils thick.
The Thickness Gauge System from MTI offered the composite manufacturer the accuracy they required and doubled the throughput rate, saving money, and time. Furthermore they could automatically record measurements on a laptop or a PC for quality control purposes without any additional time being needed. Within just 6 months of operation, the expenses were made up.
About MTI Instruments
MTI Instruments is a worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and engineering of non-contact measurement systems and sensors.
MTII’s main products consist of computerized general gauging instruments for position, displacement, thickness and vibration applications based on laser triangulation, fiber-optic and capacitance measurement technologies.
The Semiconductor Products sensor group manufactures manual, semi-automated and fully automated wafer characterization tools designed to measure wafer thickness, total thickness variation (TTV), bow, warp and flatness of semi-insulating and semiconducting materials.
MTII’s Aviation Balancing Instruments group provides state-of-the-art portable balancing and vibration analysis systems for turboprop and jet aircraft engines.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by MTI Instruments Inc.
For more information on this source, please visit MTI Instruments Inc.