4D Technology announced the 4D InSpec™ Surface Gauge, the first handheld, non-contact instrument that measures precision machined surface defects and features with micrometer-level resolution.

The 4D InSpec employs 4D’s technology which enables rapid measurements that are unaffected by vibration present in most manufacturing environments. For the first time, QA/QC personnel using the 4D InSpec can take repeatable precision surface measurements in factory floor, machine shop and field service environments.

Precision machined surfaces on turbine blades, drive train components and other critical parts may incur damage during production and may wear and corrode from use and/or environmental exposure. These surface defects can cause system failures with significant financial consequences and even catastrophic, loss-of-life events.

Until now, QA/QC personnel have relied on visual comparison techniques to determine the severity of surface defects. These methods, however, are not precise or repeatable, which can result in missed defects and, more frequently, the costly rejection of parts that actually meet specifications. Nanoscale surface metrology systems can provide more reliable data, but these systems are too expensive, slow and susceptible to environmental factors for use on the shop floor. These instruments are also usually mounted in workstations that limit their capability to measure large components or to image defects in tight corners. Inspectors must create replicas of these surfaces that can then be measured—a costly, time-consuming and imprecise operation.

The 4D InSpec fundamentally changes how precision surface measurement is accomplished by enabling direct inspection of large and small components, right on the shop floor. Rugged and lightweight, the handheld gauge has a single cable tether to its computer and is designed to handle the rigors of daily use. The system measures surface defects between 0.1 and 100 mils (2.5 to 2500 micrometers) deep on a wide variety of part geometries. Its unique design makes it easy to access tight corners or reach across large surfaces. A “fold mirror” attachment enables borescope-like access to features without direct line of sight.4D Technology Corp., 3280 E. Hemisphere Loop, Suite 146 Tucson, Arizona 85706

The 4D InSpec installs in minutes and features an intuitive, touchscreen interface for setup, operation, analysis and report generation. Its easy-to-use software automatically finds critical features and calculates height, volume, area, slopes and location, allowing operators to quickly select 2D traces or 3D plots to view feature details. The system also supports network or USB data transfer to QC systems for rapid pass-fail analysis and historical data tracking.

A complete 4D InSpec system includes the handheld gauge, computer, touchscreen display and software. The gauge can also be mounted in a microscope stand configuration or on a robotic manipulator for highly-repeatable QA/QC or automated measurements of complex components. An optional, mobile workstation with rechargeable, 8-hour battery and integrated touchscreen is available.

4D Technology

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