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Surface metrology: quality control and tribology

12 June 2023
Article by Pedro Marques, INEGI researcher specializing in tribology of mechanical gear transmissions

Surface metrology is the science of measuring and characterizing geometric properties such as surface roughness, waviness and shape. It plays a crucial role in many industries, including manufacturing, engineering, and quality control. Uncertainties in measuring the geometric properties of surfaces can have a significant impact on the performance and safety of products, as well as the efficiency and profitability of manufacturing processes.

One of the main areas where surface metrology is used is in the manufacture of precision parts and components. Many industrial processes, such as grinding, polishing and machining, rely on accurate measurements of surface roughness to ensure parts meet required specifications. Surface metrology is also used to monitor the wear and tear of parts over time, which is important for maintaining product quality and safety.

In quality control, surface metrology is used to ensure that products meet the required specifications and standards. This includes surface finish, roughness and waviness measurements. Furthermore, these techniques are also used to detect and measure defects and nonconformities in products.

Surface metrology plays an important role in a wide range of industries that depend on it, such as aerospace, automotive, biomedical and electronics. The aerospace industry, for example, uses surface metrology to ensure that aircraft components meet stringent safety, performance and durability requirements. Likewise, the automotive industry uses surface metrology to ensure that car parts meet high standards of quality and reliability.

In short, surface metrology is a vital activity in many industries, providing the necessary data to ensure product quality, safety and compliance with standards. It is an ever-evolving field and technologies are constantly being developed to make measurements more accurate, reliable and efficient. With the increasing demand for accuracy and performance in today's industry, the importance of surface metrology continues to grow.

INEGI brings together knowledge and capacity in this area

In addition to the importance of surface metrology in various industries, it is worth mentioning the capabilities that INEGI has in this field. INEGI has two equipments for the evaluation of surface roughness, a BRUKER NPFLEX optical profilometer and a HOMMELWERKE probing profilometer, allowing surface (ISO 25178-2) or profile (ISO 4287 and ISO 13565-2) parameters to be obtained.

The BRUKER NPFLEX is a non-contact optical profiler that allows fast and precise measurements of surface roughness, waviness and shape. This equipment is characterized by high resolution and measurement speed making it ideal for measuring large surface areas and for monitoring surface changes over time.

On the other hand, the HOMMELWERKE profilometer is a versatile and reliable instrument that allows detailed measurements of roughness, undulation and shape along a measuring line. This classically configured instrument can take measurements on a wide range of surface geometries, making it ideal for applications such as gear metrology, surface finishes and form measurements.

With these advanced instruments, and an experienced team, INEGI is able to provide highly accurate and reliable surface metrology services to various industries, including aerospace, automotive, biomedical and electronics. They can help companies improve product quality, safety and compliance by providing detailed characterization of surfaces, monitoring their changes over time, and detecting and measuring defects and non-conformities.


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