Profilometer recommendation

Bluzman714

QMS Coordinator
#1
My company is in the market for a portable profilometer. I and my quality co-workers have zero experience with them, so I am at a loss as to what type to look for.
We are a Government contractor that inspects machined parts prior to assembly, or simply resell as-is. We do not manufacture the parts we assemble. Nearly all machined parts drawings have a surface roughness value requirement. We have comparators, but they are very subjective. There are a number of profilometer makes and models on the market. How do I go about determining what type of profilometer will work for what we need to inspect?
 
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Eredhel

Quality Manager
#2
At a prior company we had a Mahr Pocket Surf 1 that worked great and was around $800. Unfortunately it's been discontinued and replaced with something twice as expensive that I haven't tried yet. What kind of budget do you have?
 

Ron Rompen

Trusted Information Resource
#4
My suggestion is to review what type(s) of profilometers/surface testers the manufacturers are using. Removes one variable from the equation when you find parts which appear to be nonconforming. I would also suggest that you look at how they fixture/restrain the parts when measuring.

Another consideration (for YOUR lab) is to ensure that the measurement area is sufficiently stable and isolated from vibration and air currents. Depending on how tight your tolerances are, even a slight breeze (from an AC or heater unit) can have a significant impact on your measurements.
 

Bluzman714

QMS Coordinator
#5
Our budget is in the $2000 range. I've researched the Mitutoyo model online and have found that, overall, it has very good reviews.
I like the idea of contacting our machined parts suppliers to discover what they are using. That may lead me to find the right solution for our needs.
 

Eredhel

Quality Manager
#6
That budget will get you something nice. You could buy the newer Mahr Pocket Surf model I bet. In the past I've called every customer and supplier I could and asked what they used for things ranging from software to CMMs. It's definitely a great way to research a purchase.
 
I

isastudios

#7
Just saw this thread and wanted to give my two cents for anyone interested. We use both Mahr and Mitutoyo profilometers here at the plant (PocketSurf III & IV & SJ-310 & SJ-210).

The Pocketsurfs are very easy to use as they pretty much have one button and a couple switches on top of the unit. This makes operators very happy that they don't have to go through a bunch of menus in order to get a reading.

The Mitutoyo on the other hand is a unit that is full of features. You can set all kinds of filters and custom parameters that you just can't do with the Mahr. Another neat future that the SJ units have is a full color screen that produces a graph of the full surface profile which can be saved and printed later. This is not important for us but maybe is critical for other users.

Almost all of our machines use coolant and/or cutting oils and both of these units hold up pretty well in the harsh shop environment; 90% of the failures we have had were due to the operators dropping the profilometer.
 
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