Hand-held Gauging Vs. Laser Thickness

The benefits of advanced laser thickness gauges compared to manual measurement tools.

Manual thickness measurement tools, such as calipers and micrometers, are the most widely used measurement tools, due to their low cost and familiarity. However, modern laser gauging techniques expose the disadvantages of using manual tools:

  • Manual tools operate on a one-measurement-at-a-time basis. Taking multiple measurements can be time consuming.  
  • Contact-based gauging causes soft or powdery materials to compress, both damaging the material surface and resulting in inaccurate readings.
  • Operators are required to be in close contact with the material, putting them in harm's way- when handling hazardous materials or when measuring requires them to be closer to moving machinery.
  • Dirt and temperature changes can impact the reliability of manual measurements.
  • The physical pressure applied to micrometers and calipers requires a certain amount of dexterity and is subject to how hard operators press the tool. Operator inconsistency can cause a significant variance in measurement-  no two operators are the same! 

Why do non-contact, laser thickness gauges outperform manual measurement tools?

Non-contact measurement tools, such as the MGX and the MG3 laser thickness gauges, are in effect a highly accurate micrometer, combined with a super-human operator that can repeat thousands of identical measurements per second.  

Laser thickness gauges can consistently outperform manual tools due to their unique design and characteristics: 

  • Laser sensors allow for high frequency scanning, providing multiple sampling points at a push of a button. Furthermore, laser gauges can provide a data-rich output to help operators and engineers examine the material profile: peak detection, cross section, grid scanning...

    The MGX scans materials at a rate of 5000Hz and provides multiple visualization and analysis features.

  • Operator safety is the utmost priority of any manufacturing plant. Hands-free thickness measurement tools allow for a simple and safe material handling. Our offline Benchtop series offers auto-scanning mode for a smooth operator experience.
  • The laser beams do not damage or alter the material surface, making non-contact measurement tools ideal for soft and compressible materials. Laser gauges are also optimal for working with materials that are tested at high/low temperatures (e.g. the thickness of various Metal Matrix Composites can be measured after being pressed in sub-zero temperatures). 
  • Mate Gauge provides accurate measurements of up to 1 micron. All of our gauge's are shipped with a NIST traceable calibration unit to provide superior repeatability. 

Key differences between contact measurement tools and laser thickness gauges:                           

Mate Gauge Non-Contact Measurement

Contact Measurement Tools

Multiple data points in a single measurement

Hand-free operation

Reduced operator error

Double sided measurement

Safe handling of 

hazardous material

Measuring touch sensitive materials (paste, powder)

Dirt detection

Immune to changing temperature conditions

Grid measurement

If you are interested in learning more or seeing if your application makes sense reach out or better yet - set up a Demo and see for yourself!

Center Line Average Vs. Peak-weighted Average
Exploring material surface profile using thickness laser gauges.