TiN Coated Thread Plug Gauges

L

LexieB

#1
Hello all,

I couldn't find much on this topic so maybe you can help.

I've been trying to lean out our calibration system / costs for a while. Recently, TiN coated gauges were brought to my attention. Besides having a longer life in general than regular gauges, I'm told that you don't actually need to calibrate them because the wear of the TiN tells you when to replace it.

Couple questions:
1. Does anyone have any experience with them? Are these gauges worth the extra cost and do they last longer?
2. Can I rely on the TiN wear rather than calibration, and if so, how would I put that into my schedule? (I was thinking maybe some verbiage like "verify calibration 3-14-13" or whatever and a separate policy stating the procedure.)
3. Is there any solid evidence that I can point to that states the TiN does in fact show whether or not the gauge is in tolerance?

Thanks!!

-Lexie
 
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pkost

Trusted Information Resource
#3
caveat: I'm not an expert with calibration by any means (consider me having no knowledge of this subject), I have more knowledge of coatings and this experience drives my following points concerns/questions

1. What is the coating thickness
2. Have you verified the thickness of the coating to your satisfaction (it won't be uniform)
2. You may be able to determine that the coating has worn but what about gross deformation of the substrate if it was dropped/damaged - this may not be apparent in the coating.
3. What would you deem to be a failed coating and therefore an out of spec gauge? A scratch of x length? a silver patch of x diameter? I'd be wary that you are turning a quantitative measurement into more of a qualitative interpretation

I hope this helps and that someone with some calibration experience can off more appropriate advice
 
T

tomvehoski

#4
It has been a couple lives since I worked in a TiN coating shop. I don't recall ever running into anyone wanting to coat plug gages. Typically we were dealing with cutting, stamping and forming tools - plus some decorative applications.

Assuming Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) of TiN, we usually targed two microns of coating thickness, so four microns on a diameter. It was done in a low temperature process, so changes in size or hardness of the base metal should not be an issue. You would still need to perform an initial calibration.

Even with the TiN, a gage could be nicked or damaged into an out of round condition. The coating may or may not come off.

What tolerances are you dealing with, and are you running into gages wearing?
 

Jerry Eldred

Forum Moderator
Super Moderator
#5
Lifelong learning is my motto. Been in the biz 35 years and not at all familiar with this. Could someone explain this for my education?
 

Michael_M

Trusted Information Resource
#6
Were I work, we have a few TiN coated plug gauges, I treat them like all other gauges and calibrate them on schedule. The reason we got the TiN coating was for wear purposes, these threads need to be checked 100%, 2 or 3 times before leaving this plant. The TiN coating keeps the 'wear' down. All this being said, I have found that using gauge lube does so much more than TiN coating.

To the best of my knowledge, we have not had any TiN coated thread gauge fail due to wear, we have had 1 fail from being dropped. The damage was not easy to see, but the gauge would not go thru a part that it did before it was dropped.

Hope this helps.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#7
Lifelong learning is my motto. Been in the biz 35 years and not at all familiar with this. Could someone explain this for my education?
TiN is titanium nitride, a ceramic-like coating that's often used on machining tools--drills, cutters, etc.--and provides extended wear.
 
L

LexieB

#8
It has been a couple lives since I worked in a TiN coating shop. I don't recall ever running into anyone wanting to coat plug gages. Typically we were dealing with cutting, stamping and forming tools - plus some decorative applications.

Assuming Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) of TiN, we usually targed two microns of coating thickness, so four microns on a diameter. It was done in a low temperature process, so changes in size or hardness of the base metal should not be an issue. You would still need to perform an initial calibration.

Even with the TiN, a gage could be nicked or damaged into an out of round condition. The coating may or may not come off.

What tolerances are you dealing with, and are you running into gages wearing?

Thanks for the response!

We aren't necessarily having wear issues, but I'm trying to cut costs and extend the life cycles of my tools.

BALAX actually makes the TiN thread gauges so I purchased a few for testing.
Here is one of the only resources I can find that talks about the benefits.
http://www.cutting-tool-supply.com/TechTips/ThreadGaging/TiN.htm
The idea came from a floor employee who used them in the past.

Regarding a performance of initial calibration, the gauges do come from BALAX with NIST traceable calibration certs.

According to the general TPG calibration certs I have from the past, the our vendor is checking (IE) an 8-32 STI GO at a +.0003/-.0000 pitch diameter tolerance. The new gauge I have is certified at +.0003. I do not have a value for the TiN Coating, but I'm assuming that the whole point is that the thickness is +.0003 and some change, so when that is worn, you know it's time to throw it away.

I'm not sure if this is a newer concept in the world of plug gauges because I can't find much information. It seems like a great way to save but I'm wary to implement it all at once.

This is my logic:

I buy tool: GO / NO GO + handle = around $90 let's say.

Calibration cost the next year: $25
Calibration cost the next year: $25, GO FAILS.

I now have to toss the GO, and buy a new one to replace @ $40.
(I've now spent an extra $25 on an already bad tool.)

Multiply all this by 100 tools.

If the TiN coating were to show me at year 2 that it was close to wearing off, I would have saved the $50 on calibration.

Now, as far as dropping goes, I can implement a drop policy with review / actions to be taken by the supervisor at time of drop.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated.
Thanks again!
 
T

tomvehoski

#9
I'm not sure how you could tell it is "close" to wearing off. It is only a micron or two thick (0.00004-0.00008"). It is also brittle and tends to just flake off all at once. Our adhesion test on new parts was to actually do a Rockwell C indent and check for spalling of the coating around the indent. There was also a scratch test method for more quantitative readings.

There are other coatings out there too. We did Titanium Carbide (TiC), Chromium Nitride (CrN) and others. They were also coming out with a new ultra-low friction coating around the time I left (1998).

You might need to do some trial and error to prove your thesis. Get one coated and one uncoated. See if you can detect an out of calibration condition on one earlier than the other.

TiN can also be stripped and recoated. Strong Hydrogen Peroxide will remove it (and turn your hair orange if you stand too close too long). You would still have to recalibrate afterwards. IIRC it can also damage the substrate if not done properly, so may not be worth the effort.

You might want to contact a local coating shop and get their input on the latest technology. I worked for Multi-Arc, which is now known as IonBond. Balzers was our primary competitor.
 
L

LexieB

#10
Were I work, we have a few TiN coated plug gauges, I treat them like all other gauges and calibrate them on schedule. The reason we got the TiN coating was for wear purposes, these threads need to be checked 100%, 2 or 3 times before leaving this plant. The TiN coating keeps the 'wear' down. All this being said, I have found that using gauge lube does so much more than TiN coating.

To the best of my knowledge, we have not had any TiN coated thread gauge fail due to wear, we have had 1 fail from being dropped. The damage was not easy to see, but the gauge would not go thru a part that it did before it was dropped.

Hope this helps.

Hi! I did find a page that semi-supports the idea of wear signaling the calibration.

Any other thoughts?

http://swansongage.com/tin.htm
 
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