Within a measurement range of several millimeters, the system can accurately measure foils, rolled strips and other metallic semi-finished products with a precision better than 100 nm. The small sensor head coupled with high-speed data processing facilitates inline measurements in the production line.
The new “bd-2” thickness measurement system based on bidirectional sensors.
Picture Source: Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen
Measurement under rough ambient conditions.
Picture Source: Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen
Materials and quality control must meet increasingly stringent requirements in the aerospace and automotive industries. To provide thickness measurement, for instance, sensors must now be accurate down to the micrometer range yet nonetheless operate in the production line as fast as possible and with minimal maintenance.
The innovative optical thickness measurement system “bd-2” (for bidirectional measurements) was developed at Fraunhofer ILT to meet these requirements. The technology is based on the interference properties of semiconductor laser sources. A measuring beam is projected onto the material surface and the reflected signal allows the distance to be measured with a precision of 100 nm. Multiple layers can be measured simultaneously in the case of semitransparent materials.
The process paves the way for the transition from laboratory-based individual measurement to continuous inline production control. This is why the Fraunhofer ILT experts are targeting industry customers looking to meet higher accuracy requirements in series production, offering them not just complete systems but also extensive consulting in relation to process integration. The sensors were tested extensively in pilot plant operation; first industry partners will be rolling out the new technology in June 2013.Under the slogan “inspired to measure”, the interferometric thickness sensor will be showcased at this year’s CONTROL in Stuttgart on the Fraunhofer booth 1502 in Hall 1.
Petra Nolis | Fraunhofer-Institut
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