Optical measurement technology is making a breakthrough in the automotive industry

The modern automotive industry is faced with great challenges with regard to the increasing quality demands of its innovative products. The properties of these products today are essentially determined by precisely defined structures, surfaces and small dimensions of the components, which have to be constantly controlled. Surface measuring devices from FRT satisfies this need for information with high-quality, non-contact and non-destructive measuring technology – faster and more versatile than with conventional methods.

Modern measuring instruments must be flexible, retrofittable and future-oriented. The proven FRT multi-sensor technology offers maximum flexibility: Various optical measuring methods, which are otherwise only possible with individual solutions, are combined in a universal, space-saving device. Various sensors for measuring the topography, coating thickness and sample thickness can be combined in one system. Imagine the benefits of a surface measuring instrument that combines different technologies such as confocal microscopy, chromatic techniques and atomic force microscopy in a single, easy-to-use workflow. This combination enables you to adapt your measuring system to new requirements at any time and to reduce the time and cost of your production process.

An example of this is the automated MicroProf® equipped with TTV configuration for double-sided sample inspection. This high-precision system has been adapted for measuring roughness, step heights and step widths on cylinder head gaskets in the µm range. The operator first positions a seal on the MicroProf® and starts the automatic measuring program at the push of a button. The device then measures the thickness and topography of the seal from above and below simultaneously in just one setup and outputs all relevant parameters in a test report. Vibration damping enables direct use in production and a contact surface with a special honeycomb structure provides stability and torsional stiffness even with large samples such as seals for trucks. While a touch probe would take several hours for this task, the MicroProf® can do it in just a few minutes. This enables manufacturers to continuously control their production and the manufacturing tools used, thus further reducing waste. The integrated software package eases the execution of automatic measuring tasks according to industry standards. Our analysis software meets the requirements of current standards such as the DIN-EN-ISO standard for surface quality and the SEP standard for measuring the waviness coefficient Wsa (1-5) on cold-rolled flat products.

Haptics in the automobile is also becoming increasingly important for customers. A concrete example is the measurement of the topography of an artificial leather skin for automotive interiors. Here, the grain height and diameter are measured in large surface sections and the micro roughness of the individual marks is determined with high resolution. In this context, it is important to be able to dynamically adjust the measuring range from the millimetre to the micrometer range. These measurements are necessary for the design of the structures, the manufacture of the tools, the control of production and finally for quality control. The aim is to optimize the structures in order to achieve the best possible imitation of the leather structure through the synthetic surfaces. The result must have the desired characteristics when touched, but must also be as resistant as possible to dirt and influences such as heat or humidity.

Another example is the measurement of the 3D topography of metallized fabric (composite material), which is used for the upholstery inside the car. The material can be used in a wide range of applications, including fuel cells, batteries and also for electromagnetic shielding of electronic components, which are becoming increasingly important in the automotive sector. FRT’s measuring systems solve this task in an ideal way.

The universally usable surface measuring device MicroProf® is available in different versions. Depending on the size of the samples to be measured, you can select the system that provides the corresponding sample holder and the travel range. In addition to the compact MicroProf® 100 desktop unit, there are two larger models, MicroProf® 200 and MicroProf® 300, which are standalone systems. Large round and rotationally symmetrical components can be analyzed with the devices of the MicroGlider® series. Equipped with a rotary table, they also make it possible to measure heavy components and meet the highest flatness requirements.

FRT also offers the right solution for “in-situ” measurements, e. g. on large machines, hard-to-reach areas in the vehicle cab, fixed or heavy workpieces: the MicroSpy® Mobile. Thanks to carrying handles and adjustable support feet, it can be fully functional on site within a few minutes. The MicroSpy® Mobile includes the same technology as our well-established multi-sensor surface measuring devices and works with the proven easy-to-use and very powerful FRT software packages Mark III and Acquire. More flexible than with the MicroSpy® Mobile, it is almost impossible to measure and evaluate topography, roughness, wear, bearing ratio, volumes, film thickness and other important characteristics of surfaces. Contact our sales department if you are interested in the little brother of the MicroProf®. By adding the thermal unit to the MicroProf®, you can perform measurements of the surface topography of components under controlled thermal load. This is essential because changes in the components due to thermal stress can lead to functional errors or even breakdowns. Fully automatic measurements of the surface topography at different temperatures as well as dwell times at constant temperatures are fully adjustable.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Our experts will be glad to help you solve your measurement tasks by creating the best possible system configuration for you. In our opinion, a comprehensive solution consists of hardware and software development as well as complementary services and an effective technical customer service. FRT provides local support through a worldwide network of subsidiaries and distributors. With FRT Remote Support, our experts can help customers around the world answer their questions.

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