As technology in our world progresses exponentially, the demand for more precise measurement requirements grows as the components manufactured within these products become smaller and smaller. If you are manufacturing products with extremely small dimensional measurements, you may need to consider nano-measurement technology in order to ensure that your products are meeting the tight tolerances required in today's precision driven world.
How Small Can Nano Measurements Be?
Measurements in the billionths of a meter are considered to be nano scale. In order to maintain accurate measurements at the nano scale, it is important to know that you have the right equipment to meet your needs. A useful rule of thumb for evaluating a solution is that the measurement equipment's accuracy should be 10 times better than the dimension you intend to measure.
Since there are generally two main methods of performing nano measurements, you may find that you need to perform a trade-off between the accuracy of the measurements and the speed at which they are acquired to find the best fit equipment for your unique situation. When measuring at this small of a scale, understanding what you need from your measurement results is the first step in the process of choosing the solution for your application.
What Are the Types of Nano Measurement Technology?
In general, there are two main types of nano measurement equipment, contact based and non-contact based; each with its own advantages to consider based on the application it will be used for. Non-contact based techniques use light to measure the surface characteristics of a part, and typically provide a much faster measurement because they do not need to physically come into contact with the part being measured. There is also no risk that a small part will be moved or damaged during measurement with a non-contact based system.
By comparison, contact-based nano measurement techniques are typically better for high resolution measurements on surfaces with a high aspect ratio; such as surfaces with features like holes, slopes, steps, or sharp edges. As these contact-based nano measurement solutions have been around for some time now, they are a trusted method of inspection and provide highly accurate 2D measurement data.
How Do I Balance Cost vs. Time Expenditure?
It is no surprise that accurate inspections at the nano level are expensive and take time, but they are critical to ensure your product's success. You will need to decide if it makes more sense to purchase the equipment you need in order to perform the measurements in-house, or to rely on a trusted dimensional inspection lab to perform the measurements for you. Having your own in-house measurement solution by purchasing equipment provides the benefit of taking less time, especially for repetitive measurements. However, equipment can be costly, and training your employees may take a considerable amount of time.
Conversely, using a lab to provide your measurement information supplies you with a team of experienced specialists, performing your dimensional inspection without the outlay of purchasing equipment and maintaining costly training for your employees. These experts will very likely have greater experience than your own employees could acquire, however, the data provided from the measurements may take time depending on the lab's availability and scheduling.
Q-PLUS Labs is your dimensional metrology partner with the experience, training, and equipment necessary to ensure that your dimensional measurements, small or large, are right every time. Whether you are looking to buy the necessary dimensional measurement or surface profilometry equipment to provide your data, or you are searching for the right lab to perform complicated measurements on your behalf, Q-PLUS Labs is the right place to turn to for the advice and skills you need.
Q-PLUS Labs has been a leading dimensional measurement laboratory since 1987 and, in addition to its wide array of services and products, specializes in helping companies find the right measurement solutions to meets their needs. Contact us for answers to your dimensional and inspection measurement and inspection questions or to request a quote.