Quality 101: Amplifier OffersBenchtop Gaging Solutions

February 1, 2005
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
An advanced multi-function gage amplifier can ensure the quality of a product.

This unit combines analog and digital amplifying capabilities.

Photo: The L.S. Starrett Co.

For years, conventional analog meters have been capable of reading extremely small dimensions. But new benchtop gage technology brings both analog and digital amplifying capabilities to an easy-to-use, advanced level.

Benchtop gages, available in several models-one for analog-type linear variable displacement transducer (LVDT) probes and another for new long-range digital types-give inspectors the capability to measure with multiple probes.

More fixturing options

Benchtop gaging solutions can be used with dedicated inspection fixtures designed for a specific measuring application. They take up less work space than multiple electronic indicators or readout devices and can deliver large amounts of information on one viewing screen.

Making the decision to use dedicated fixture gaging rather than individual inspection devices is not an easy one. Although initial investment may seem costly, with sufficient volume, fixture gaging can be justified because it reduces inspection labor and training. With temporary labor becoming more prevalent, eliminating the time it takes to instruct an operator on how to read a micrometer or indicator is a big plus.

Training with these new benchtop gages is minimal. Inspectors orient the part in a fixture, view a value and, if required, press a print button. Benchtop gages with three-color displays allow inspectors to make quick, easy decisions on part quality. Units with built-in relay connections can mechanically reject out-of-tolerance parts.

The technology

Go/no-go gaging may seem like old technology, but add the power of probing combined with a microprocessor and capabilities increase significantly. A typical example might involve a LVDT probe that contacts a part and measures the variance from a perfect part.

The most simple go/no-go gages have digital readout displays or columns that provide a direct reading of the values from the probe. The more sophisticated systems for fixture gaging are computer-based, require skilled operators and are costly to run and maintain. Newer benchtop gages have a microprocessor-based display that is simple to read.

One advanced gage amplifier displays the number value of the part being measured and provides visual and audio clues when parts fail. Its highly visible, intuitive and familiar interface with standard color cues instantly informs operators of pass or fail performance details. In addition, a relay connection can be programmed to open and close if certain conditions are met, providing instant feedback when dimensions are out of tolerance.

With these gages, direct probe outputs can be algebraically and mathematically combined for dimensions such as thickness, flatness, dwell angles and maximum tip heights. Results can be displayed numerically, graphically or archived for process studies such as simple statistical process control. Trigonometric formulas convert linear measurements into angular measurements. Other formulas also can be created for total indicator runout, volume and angles between camshaft lobes.

When using a display device, it's important to have access to external interfaces. Some units provide connectivity to PCs and other devices for data collection, printouts reports and other documentation requirements. Statistical process control functions also are integrated into the device so operators can ensure that a process is corrected before out-of-tolerance parts are manufactured.

An advanced multi-function gage amplifier for fixture gaging can quickly assure the quality of a product. It is easy to operate, and its powerful and flexible microprocessor offers a wide range of gaging solutions for many manufacturing applications.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Quality Magazine. 

You must login or register in order to post a comment.




 In honor of World Quality Month, we spoke to James Rooney, ASQ Past Chairman of the Board of Directors 2013, for his take on quality around the world.
For more information, read the ASQ Speaking of Quality column.
More Podcasts

Quality Magazine


2014 September

Check out the September 2014 edition of Quality Magazine for features!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

The Skills Gap

What is the key to solving the so-called skills gap in the quality industry?
View Results Poll Archive

Clear Seas Research

qcast_ClearSeas_logo.gifWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.



facebook_40.png twitter_40px.png  youtube_40px.pnglinkedin_40px.png