Measuring systems for "Generation Industry 4.0"
In my opinion, the foremost industry trend is increasing automation of quality control and 100% inspection of materials and products. This is one of the foundations of the Industry 4.0 concept. Introducing a closed-loop control system with feedback allows for the automatic adjustment of processing parameters, which in turn minimizes waste. This also saves resources and time, improves quality and reduces production costs.
Which Fischer solutions are in line with these trends?
First of all, there is the MMS PC2 Inline, an automatic system for measuring the thickness of coatings. This is a flexible, modular solution that can be adapted – at minimal cost – to the specifics of the particular production process of a given manufacturing plant. The feedback system allows the production process to be (re)configured automatically. Coatings on steel and aluminum parts can be measured using various technologies; in the sample presented at the trade fair, the magnetic induction method was used. The MMS PC2 Inline can be supplied as a ready solution, complete with a robot.
An entirely new technology, which is currently in the testing stage, is measurement with high- frequency terahertz radiation. This is a non-contact, non-destructive method that can be used to measure the thickness of multilayer coatings (up to four layers) on metals, plastics, ceramics and other materials. The measurement principle is based on the ability of radiation with a frequency between 100 GHz and 4 THz to penetrate the coating, where it is partially reflected at the transitions between the layers.
The X-ray fluorescence systems of the X-RAY 4000 and X-RAY 5000 series are already well known and have long been successfully used in industry. While the X-RAY 4000 is designed for 100% quality control of electroplated coatings on steel strips, the X-RAY 5000 is a modular system that can be integrated into production lines, for example, to measure coatings on large surfaces.
What new portable devices have been developed recently?
The latest development is the PHASCOPE PAINT, an ultra-compact gauge designed to measure the thickness of non-metallic coatings on steel and metal objects. It is a wireless device about the size of a flashlight. For analysis, the data are transferred via Bluetooth to a computer, smartphone or tablet. The PHASCOPE PAINT is very convenient for checking the condition of large metal constructions, among other things.
Another new innovation is the X-RAY XAN500, a portable X-ray fluorescence device. This unique product combines the broad possibilities of X-ray fluorescence analysis with the ease-of-use and versatility of a portable device. At the same time, the X-RAY XAN500 can be integrated into production equipment for 100% quality control.
We also presented the UMP150 device at Control 2017; this instrument is designed for the high-precision measurement of wall thickness using ultrasound. In the oil and gas industry, for example, it can be used to monitor the condition of pipelines.
What are the latest developments for testing mechanical properties?
First, I would like to mention the FISCHERSCOPE ST200, Fischer’s first scratch-test device designed to measure the adhesion of coatings. Like all our instruments, it is fast, adapted for use in industry, and has an intuitive interface.
Lastly, our high-end nanoindentation system, PICODENTOR HM500, now has a dynamic mode, which allows the user to test viscoelastic properties and perform dynamic mechanical analysis on small samples.
Interview: Dmitry Gudilin