Your budget and basic application are the chief factors to determine the appropriate ultrasonic thickness gauge for you.
Give importance to other factors which will impact your short or long-term usage of this device. You can choose your ultrasonic thickness gauge from any quality manufacturer.
Depending on the range of these simple, yet high-technology devices, the price can range from a few $100 to more than $4000. Application is also an important aspect that will help determine the appropriate device.
Scope of Application
Before the purchase of the device, you should be aware of its capabilities. Researching to zero in on a device is always advisable. This way, you get rid of any chances of ambiguity that you might face with the supplier.
It can be helpful for you to make the right decision if you have the details as per the following checklist
- Thickness range of each material
- Parallel front and back surfaces
- Temperature, during readings
- Desired Accuracy
- Surface finish (rough, smooth, or painted)
- Need for fluid (incase of parallel surfaces)
For high-frequency sound to enter, you will need to apply a fluid on the metal surface. The fluid helps the ultrasonic frequencies to enter the metal, as they do not travel through the air. The fluid here refers to a water-soluble ultrasonic couplant.
Once the above technical aspects are in order, you can look into the individual preference options. Click here to know more about the applications of ultrasonic thickness gauges.
You should also take into account the other individual preference factors, such as
- Types of probes (pencil vs. dual probe)
- Temperature correction
- Use of different frequencies
- Oxide scale
- High penetrations
- Internal data logger
- Need for the echo to echo, A-scan (live waveform)
The environment in which the device will operate also needs to be in the consideration set. For example:
- Display size
- Type of Display – Color or Monochrome
- IP rating or explosion-proof
- Readability under sunlight
- The reputation of the supplier
- Indoor vs. outdoor use (dust and moisture IP rating for both)
The size, weight, and type of battery should also be in consideration. Small units with AA-type batteries can fit in your pocket and are a convenient option to carry around.
Devices with lithium-ion rechargeable batteries offering 24-hour battery backup are large and bulky. You should also note the device serviceability, know the manufacturer details, and the reputation of the supplier’s customer service record.
Try and address the following questions:
- Can you apply ultrasonic couplant?
- Can you have direct access to the pipe part?
- What is the desired accuracy? (.01, .001, .0001 mm)
- Is data logging necessary for your job?
- Live waveform, do you need to view it?
- Do you want field upgradability in your device?
Ultrasonic Thickness Gauges
Using ultrasound by ultrasonic thickness gauges is a very well-known technique.
This non-destructive testing method is useful as it doesn’t destroy the part under test.
The most common two uses of the ultrasonic thickness gauges are:
- To serve as a quality control tool for material thickness consistency
- To detect wall thinning due to corrosion
The applications of Ultrasonic testing have a wide range. It can measure boilers, tubes, pipes, ship hulls – to detect the extent of corrosion. It can also help check the precision of aircraft aluminum, toys, plastic bottles, and coil steel.
With the technological advancements and software upgrades, the manufacturers have become flexible. They often opt for the same electronics but upgrade the internal system to meet the specific need. It helps meet the budget and also meet the challenges of every field.
Be aware of the latest offerings and upgradations like:
- Availability of field upgrade (can help unlock software to give solutions like datalogger, echo to echo, and waveform)
- The thickness of the base material (2.5mm in echo to echo mode)
- Presence of internal data loggers (with 32 GB memory)
- Bluetooth for fast connectivity and data transfer
- Classification of Data (2D, linear, and 3D setup in files, custom data point boilers)
- Nomenclature of data points (user names, file names, prefix, locations, notes)
- Direct transfer to data sheets in computer software like Microsoft Excel.
So, when you decide to buy an ultrasonic thickness gauge do consider the above factors apart from the budget that you have for the purchase. Clarify all the product features and specifications with the supplier to avoid any issue post-purchase.
Buying the appropriate ultrasonic thickness gauge will aid you in increasing your precision and accuracy. An ultrasonic thickness gauge coupled with the field-specific attributes can be handy while at work.