The smallest stumbling blocks in drive technology, identified with surface metrology

Even in a large ship's diesel engine, a few micrometers are often decisive for optimum performance and efficiency, as in almost every engine today. Manufacturing processes are becoming more and more accurate in all areas. Whether microsystems technology or drive technology: the micrometer-accurate design of a component or engine is reality. This development is possible because these parts can be controlled ever more accurately, in greater detail and down to the nano level. This is where surface metrology has been able to give very important impulses in the last decade.

Planarity, accuracy and the right coating

Drive technology operates in a very complex area in which there are many different application examples. Many factors play a role here:

-      the planarity of surfaces,

-      the accuracy of the smallest components,

-      the correct coating of internal motor components and many others.

Surface measuring tools can be used for all these factors and check parameters relevant for function and efficiency.

Examples of highly stressed surfaces

Some examples: The material ratio curve allows statements to be made about the function of mechanically highly stressed surfaces such as sliding or sealing surfaces. Core roughness depths provide information about the effective roughness depth in plain bearings or in the engine cylinder.

The oil holding volume parameter can be used to determine the amount of oil adhering to a cylinder after it has been wiped off by piston rings.

Complex components

Optical surface measuring tools from FRT are used for the metrological measurement of

-      shafts,

-      axles,

-      liners,

-      bearing shells (inside and outside),

-      valve tappets,

-      crankshaft or connecting rod bearings,

-      cylindrical surfaces in housings,

-      cylinder liners

or similar.

Example: honing structure

The well-established CWL sensor with chromatic height coding provides reliable data on almost all surfaces. This enables a lateral resolution in the range around 1 μm and a vertical resolution of a few nanometers. The quality of the honing structure, which can be measured in this way, has a major influence on the running-in behaviour, oil consumption, lifetime, exhaust emissions and emergency running properties of an engine.

Modern surface measurement technology from FRT

Modern measuring tools must be flexible, retrofittable and future-oriented. The established FRT multi-sensor technology offers maximum flexibility: Different optical measuring methods, which otherwise can only be realized with individual solutions, are combined in one universal, space-saving tool. Various sensors for measuring topography, film thickness and sample thickness can be combined in one system. Imagine the advantages of a surface measuring tool that combines different technologies such as confocal microscopy, chromatic methods and atomic force microscopy in a single, easy-to-use work flow.

This makes it possible to solve a measuring task with different sensors by performing a measurement with each sensor. The different results are then calculated with each other.

The measuring tool and the recipe used must know the complete measuring task and implement it completely. In other words, not only the measurements with all the necessary sensors are performed automatically, but the software also records the different measurement results and calculates the desired parameters from them.

The MicroProf®-Series

The MicroProf® measuring tools feature the option of double-sided sample inspection. This allows the simultaneous measurement of the top and bottom side of the sample and thus the determination of the sample thickness. This makes it possible to determine the total thickness variation (TTV) of the sample together with surface parameters, e.g. roughness and flatness of both sides.

Another big advantage of optical surface metrology is its short measuring time. Measurements can be made with optical sensors in a few minutes where tactile systems often require several hours. Finally, the optical measurement is non-destructive and non-contact and can be fully automatically integrated into production processes.

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