Surface Finish Measurement Systems

Surface Finish Measurement Systems can be described as the measurement techniques for surface topography or texture.

What are the three characteristics measured by surface finish systems?

There are three main characteristics of surfaces measured by Surface Finish Measurement Systems, these are;

  • Surface lay
  • Surface roughness, and
  • Surface waviness

The Importance of Surface Finish Measurement Systems

It is important to measure surface texture because it controls surface friction, and as well as the transfer layer formation, especially during sliding. These forms of measurement systems are applicable in many fields of practices, these include;

  • Manufacturing processes
  • Road construction
  • Agricultural set ups

Main applications of Surface Finish Measurement Systems

The most popular processes where Surface Finish Measurement Systems are more common are;

  • Metal cutting
  • Abrasive processes
  • Cutting processes
  • Casting

In metal cutting, Surface Finish Measurement Systems are applicable in procedures such as sawing, planning, shaping, drilling, milling, turning, boring, reaming, and broaching. In Abrasive processes, the measurement systems are useful in grinding, barrel finishing, honing, electro-polishing, electrolytic grinding,as;forging, hot rolling, extruding, cold rolling, drawing and roller burnishing. Other processes where Surface Finish Measurement Systems can be applied, include; chemical milling, flame cutting, electron beam cutting, laser cutting and EBM.

What are the main components of the Surface Finish Measurement Systems

The Surface Finish Measurement Systems has five main components, these are;

  • The work piece sections
  • The DSLR Camera
  • Light source
  • The Camera support, and
  • Captured Image.

The work piece section is simply where the material to be analyzed or measured is placed, this section usually position the object which surface area is being measured, close to the DSLR camera that serves as the main measurement instrument. The DLSR camera measures the surface roughness, waviness, and Lay of the light source below focuses more light, to ensure that the camera captures the right, readable measurement. The camera support simply holds the camera directly in place to ensure that it stays in the right position to capture measurements. The captured image is simply computer where the captured measurements can be read. It should be noted that the Surface Finish Measurement Systems will require a professional setup for proper reading.

Uses of Surface Finish Measurement Systems

Surface Finish Measurement Systems has a wide range of uses. In the manufacturing processes for instance, in the machining of a product to produce a special surface texture, Surface Finish Measurement Systems must be optimized, in order to ensure that the final texture is usable, if the final texture is not adaptable or usable, the systems will be implemented once again, to modify the initial texture until the final texture meets the final specifications.  Surface Finish Measurement Systems are also useful in other fields or areas, including;

  • Grinding (abrasive cutting)
  • Polishing
  • Lapping
  • Abrasive blasting
  • Horning,
  • Electrical discharge machining
  • Milling
  • Lithography, and
  • Laser texturing

Characteristics measured by Surface Finish Measurement Systems

The three main characteristics of a surface measured through the Surface Finish Measurement Systems are; the lay, surface waviness and roughness. The Lay is simply the direction of the predominant pattern of the surface. The lay is normally determined by the production method deployed on the surface. The surface roughness measured, is simply the measurement of the finely spaced surface irregularities. It is also referred to as the measurement of the surface finish. Surface waviness can be described as the measure of the surface irregularities especially when the spacing is greater than that of the surface roughness. Surface waviness normally occurs when there are problems such as vibrations, warping or deflection during the machining process.

How to perform Surface Finish Measurement Systems

Surface Finish Measurement Systems can be performed in two main ways, these are;

  • Contact methods
  • Non-contact methods.

Contact methods of Surface Finish Measurement Systems normally involve the dragging of the measurement stylus across the surface. Special instruments known as “Profilometers” are used in this process. Contact methods of measuring surface texture usually provide a much faster result, though it is just as accurate as the non-contact methods of measurements.  The non-contact method usually involves the use of certain devices to measure the texture of a surface without the device touching the surface being measured. Some of the most notable non-contact methods of measuring surface texture are;

  • Interferometer,
  • Confocal microscopy,
  • structured light,
  • Electrical capacitance,
  • Electron microscopy, and

 The importance of Surface Finish Measurement Systems on surface roughness

The use of Surface Finish Measurement Systems such as low coherence profilometers

How effective are Surface Finish Measurement Systems devices?

Surface Finish Measurement Systems are effective because they provide readings

  • High-speed scanning,
  • Real-time feedback, and
  • Excellent visual inspection.

The high-speed scanning feature of Surface Finish Measurement Systems ensures that measurements are taken through scanning, at high speeds varying from 1,000 and 30,000 points/sec or even higher.

The real-time feedback features of these systems ensure that real time feedbacks are provided, during the manufacturing or coating procedures, through the availability of application data. The application data obtained during measurements are usually sent to a process control system or software.

With an excellent visual inspection, it is easier to change the surface parameters during manufacturing or other processes. Readings are usually made available in-depth profiles, 2D cross-sections and 3D surface maps. The 2D cross-section readings are available in B-scans or C-scans.

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