Do you work with large solid components in your industry, but are you spending too much time, energy, and money on thickness testing?
Let’s think about a testing tool that can check the thickness of solid materials, whether metal or non-metal.
- A tool that doesn’t break up the material.
- A tool that’s easy to use but portable.
- A high-accuracy tool that saves time and money.
These are just a few of the benefits you’ll get from using ultrasonic thickness gauges for all of your material thickness testing.
What Is An Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge?
An ultrasonic gauge is a device used to measure the thickness of a material. It works by using high-frequency sound waves to measure the thickness. It does this by placing a probe called an ultrasonic transducer on the material it’s being tested on. The transducer emits sound waves that pass through the material.
The sound waves travel to the end of the probe and bounce off the end of the tube. The time that passes through the tube is then converted into the material thickness and shown on the instrument display. Pretty straightforward, right?
History of Ultrasonic Gauging
In the 1930s, the first attempts were made to test solid materials for flaws. The first commercial application of ultrasonic testing was introduced at the end of the 1940s. Equipment manufacturers improved these gauges in the 1970s.
These gauges became smaller, more accurate, and more flexible to meet a variety of measurement requirements. As microprocessor technology developed, so did the level of performance, as demonstrated by the latest solutions available in the market today.
How does Ultrasonic Measurement Work?
The ultrasonic wall thickness gauge is made up of a fixture containing several ultrasonic sensors around the tube. An ultrasonic sensor is an electronic device that transmits energy from one form of energy to another.
The ultrasonic gauge transmits an electrical drive pulse to the ultrasonic sensors and the sensors convert that electrical energy into ultrasonic sound waves. The ultrasonic sound waves are then reflected back into the ultrasonic sensors from the wall of the product (e.g. plastic pipe or tube). The ultrasonic sensors convert the energy back into an electrical waveform.
Depending on the level of coverage required and the level of accuracy required, the ultrasonic gauge system can use multiple sensors. Each sensor produces an ultrasonic signal which can be used to measure one layer or several layers of the product.
For multi-layer plastic pipes or tubes, the echo occurs at every layer of the product and each layer of the product can be measured individually.
Applications of Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge
Ultrasonic thickness gauge is mainly used in material thickness testing and quality testing in the manufacturing industry. In addition to material thickness testing, an ultrasonic thickness gauge can also be used to detect defects that are not visible to the human eye. Examples of applications include:
Wall thickness Determination
Ultrasonic wall thickness gauge measures the wall thickness or thickness of materials. Wall thickness measurement is important in industries where the materials are exposed to high temperatures and pressures. For example, in the oil industry, high wall thickness requirements are necessary to prevent accidents and losses caused by explosions or leaks.
What is corrosion? Simply put, corrosion is the process of rusting metal surfaces. Regular ultrasonic thickness gauges are used to test for corrosion on a regular basis. This helps to ensure that structures meet the required tolerances and reduces the risk of safety hazards. Monitoring for corrosion also reduces the frequency of frequent repairs, saving you time and money.
Material Defect Testing
One of the key differences between an ultrasound thickness gauge and other thickness testing devices is that ultrasonic thickness gauges can detect defects in solid materials.
But how does that happen? You may be asking yourself, “How is this possible?” Well, let’s break it down for you. Ultrasonic waves travel inside a solid in a predictable pattern. However, if the pattern is disturbed, it indicates a structural flaw and will be visible on the instrument display.
Advantages Ultrasonic Testing Gauges
The benefits of ultrasonic thickness gauge compared to other material thickness testing tools are:
- Measurement can only be done from a single side of the sample material
- Provides precise measurements with values of 0.1 mm or less Portable & user-friendly
- Multiple measurements can be performed in a short period of time
- Multiple settings can be used to manage testing for various metal coatings & linings
- Have a broad measurement range
What Are the Latest Advances?
Ultrasonic wall thickness gauge solutions offer high-performance operation and productivity-enhancing features. For instance, NDC’s ultrasonic gauge (BETA LaserMike) UltraScan Pro can measure a broad product range to meet the majority of wall thickness measurement requirements.
The gauge is equipped with “Snap Technology” for automated ultrasonic waveform setup. This means that waveform setup is instantaneous and fully automatic. Ultrasonic gauge UltraScan Pro offers multi-layer measurement capabilities as well as ultra-thin wall thickness measurement for measuring as many as 4 layers and up to the smallest possible wall thickness.
There is also a high-speed tolerance checking feature that can be used to check for short-term changes in the wall thickness of each individual layer. (The ultra scan pro system can make up to 10,000 walls per second, which is ultrafast.) Besides wall thickness measurement, this gauge also has the option to measure ovality as well as outer diameter for small to large-size products.
Getting Ready for Industry 4.0
Gauging today is about communication and connectivity. And these are the capabilities that today’s manufacturers need to consider when choosing the appropriate ultrasonic wall thickness measuring system for their production operations.
When it comes to Industry 4.0 support, make sure your ultrasonic gauge system provides full communications and supports wide Ethernet connectivity such as Modbus TCP, profinet IO, profibus DP, Ethernet/IP, and device net. These capabilities provide the basis for better operational control and improved processing capabilities for more efficient production performance.