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New Handheld Thickness Gauging Tool from Advanced Photonix

Advanced Photonix, Inc. announced today that a new handheld thickness gauging tool, the T-Gauge® SPG, is now available for purchase. The SPG is used to measure the thickness of single or multiple layers with the pull of a trigger. The tool can be used for coating layer thickness, multi-layer plastic products and non-conductive composite structures, performing quality control inspection.

SPG handheld inspection tool

“The ease of use of the T-Gauge® SPG is expected to contribute significantly to quality improvement and a lowering of production cost,” said Dr. Irl Duling, Director of Terahertz Business Development at Advanced Photonix. “The consistency of the measurement, and the rugged design of the T-Gauge® SPG will speed production, and provide more consistent information on process consistency.

The T-Gauge® SPG features non-destructive terahertz technology suitable for high volume manufacturing environments. Its easy-to-use software interface enhances the hardware’s reliable quality control measurements eliminating user bias.

Dr. Duling explained, “As a product is manufactured, it is necessary to verify that the dimensional tolerances required for product function are maintained. These measurements have typically been made with ultrasound, eddy current, or capacitive gauges. These tools have difficulty measuring through air spaces or when the substrate has varying electrical properties. By using pulsed terahertz to measure the layer thicknesses, these limitations are removed. In addition, the design of the T-Gauge® SPG insures that the measurements are not corrupted by operator bias.

“While the T-Gauge® online measurement system (available for both standard environments and Class I Division 1 hazardous environments) can measure coating and multi-layer thicknesses in an online application, the ability to quickly and accurately measure the product after manufacture with a handheld tool is also required. Being able to spot check the process after completion, or verifying that repairs or adjustments to the original product are properly made, is crucial to the production of a quality product that meets all performance requirements.”

T-Gauge SPG shown attached to a T-Ray® 5000 TCU

First developed for the Air Force to assist in the manufacture of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, the T-Gauge® SPG can also be used to measure multilayer blow molded products, paint coatings, and co-extruded plastics. The exceptional performance of this product has already resulted in multiple sales to both the Air Force as well as the government contractors involved in construction of the F-35. A video of the T-Gauge SPG in action can be seen here.

Incorporating fundamental technology advances developed by Advanced Photonix, and its subsidiary Picometrix, LLC, over the past 15 years, the T-Gauge SPG provides layer thickness resolution that surpasses that of ultrasound or inductive measurement tools. With a simplified user interface, multiple product configurations can be measured with the same tool, and with a variety of tool tips, even hard to access locations can be examined.

The handheld tool is connected to a T-Ray 5000 intelligent terahertz control unit (TCU) that provides the optoelectronics thatdrive the T-Gauge SPG. The industrially ruggedized T-Ray® 5000 TCU meets the high standards of speed and accuracy required for high-volume manufacturing as well as the advanced research laboratory (UL and CE marked). The T-Gauge® SPG has been designed to meet the high standards of precision, portability, and ruggedness set by the T-Ray 5000.

The T-Gauge® SPG will be demonstrated at Photonics West 2015 in the Advanced Photonix booth number 401.

  • Non-Destructive Terahertz Technology
    The T-Gauge SPG exploits the unique characteristics of terahertz radiation, which has high penetration into many materials, including ceramics, silicon and plastic polymers, even if those materials are optically opaque. This allows for non-destructive layer thickness measurements in a wide variety of materials.
  • Suitable for High Volume Manufacturing Environments
    Advanced Photonix’ T-Ray 5000 systems incorporate proprietary technologies, such as rapid fiber coupled pulsed laser generation and detection of THz waves which enables the T-Gauge SPG to meet the highest industry standards for measurement speed and accuracy. The same T-Gauge technology has been deployed in continuous manufacturing for process control, improving product quality and reducing material usage and scrap.
  • Reliable Quality Control Measurements
    The high signal to noise ratio of the T-Gauge SPG enables rapid generation of high quality terahertz thickness measurements. The intelligent T-Gauge software provides automatic range gating and consistent measurements. Once a product measurement recipe is defined it can be recalled at any time allowing easy adaptation for a variety of products. The nature of pulsed terahertz measurement eliminates operator bias resulting in confidence of product quality.

Key Specifications:

  • Application: Spot check of layer or multilayer thickness
  • Measurable Layer Thickness: 50 µm - 20 mm
  • Lateral Spatial resolution: 2 mm
  • Number of layers: up to 3 layers simultaneously
  • Layer Position Accuracy: Better than 2µm
  • Operating Environment: Temperature: +0°C– +50°C; humidity: <80%
  • Dimensions: T-Gauge SPG: 63 (W) × 75 (D) × 267 (H) mm / 2 kg TCU: 445 (W) × 546 (D) × 191 (H) mm / 18 kg

Dr. Irl Duling
Director of Business Development
Advanced Photonix, Inc.
Ann Arbor, MI, 48104, USA


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