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6 Types of Dimensional Inspection Equipment

Posted by Mike Knicker on Oct 22, 2014 1:00:00 PM


Dimensional inspection equipment can range from a basic ruler that measures length to an optical sensor that provides measurements at the nano scale. Obviously, these two types of equipment are not likely to be used for the same application. The type of dimensional inspection equipment that should be used for a particular application depends on a number of factors, including:

  • The level of accuracy required
  • Whether the object can be touched during the measurement process
  • The size and shape of the object
  • How you intend to use the results

Whether you are performing first article inspection, reverse engineering, or quality control on a manufacturing line, selecting the right dimensional inspection equipment for the job is critical.

6 Types of Dimensional Inspection Equipment

Some of the most common types of dimensional inspection equipment you are likely to encounter include:

  1. Hand tools - Although they may be the most basic type of measurement equipment, hand tools remain useful for certain applications. When all you need is a simple solution, a fixed caliper or ring gauge can be both the most effective and the most affordable option. Hand tools also are highly portable, especially when compared with the more high-tech equipment types.
  2. Coordinate measuring machines - Also known as CMMs, this popular type of measurement equipment takes the physical measurements of an object and converts them to a digital format. Although CMMs produce relatively fast and accurate results, they are not right for every application. Because they use a touch-based sensor, CMMs cannot be used with objects that have an elastic surface or are otherwise too delicate to touch during the measurement process.
  3. Optical comparators - This type of equipment projects light onto an object with a screen behind it. The edges of the silhouette are measured to determine the length and width of the object. The method can also be used to compare an object to a desired standard by using a physical overlay.
  4. Structured light scanners - These are a good option when three-dimensional measurements are required and the object cannot be touched or has a lot of freeform geometry. Dimensions are obtained by projecting a pattern of light onto the object and measuring the distortions caused by its surface characteristics.
  5. Laser scanners - Another type of non-contact measurement method uses lasers. Similar to structured light scanners, the reflection of a laser point or line is used to measure the distance to the surface of an object. The resulting point cloud is used to create a 3D rendering that can be employed for reverse engineering, dimensional inspection, or other applications.
  6. Vision systems - This type of measurement instrument employs high-resolution video to gather images that are processed with integrated software. Vision systems are often used in quality control applications that require a high level of accuracy and precision while producing fast and reliable results.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of dimensional inspection equipment. Customized solutions can be created and specialized hardware can be found for virtually every type of measurement scenario. Regardless of what the application is, selecting the right type of equipment to produce the results you need at a price you can afford is critical.

Q-PLUS Labs offers both dimensional inspection equipment and measurement services for all types of applications. If you want to purchase equipment, we offer both new and pre-owned options from a broad range of manufacturers. If you want to outsource dimensional measurement services, our trained staff has decades of experience and dozens of equipment options at their disposal. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

What type of dimensional inspection equipment do you think you need for your application?

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Topics: dimensional inspection equipment