We focus on measurement so you can focus on its application
Digital Metrology is committed to the development and deployment of measurement technologies. We provide innovative software, custom-tailored metrology systems, consultation and training – while never losing sight of the fact that metrology is “a means to an end.” The value of a measurement isn’t in the result – it’s in what you do with it. Digital Metrology brings understanding beyond measure, helping you develop, interpret and apply your measurement results to your specific situation.
Mark C. Malburg, Ph.D. Digital Metrology Solutions, Inc.
We had some amazing sessions last week at the Engine Performance Expo. When you get this many high performance enthusiasts in the same room, it's bound to be a blast! We'll share some excerpts with you over the next days and weeks.
In this session from Day 2 Digital Metrology's Mark Malburg got to talk with Lake Speed, Jr. about cylinder bores, "the most engineered surfaces on the planet." If you can see the shapes of the texture as well as calculate the numbers, you can understand and improve critical surfaces like these. New tools like Total Seal's Surface System with Digital Metrology's TraceBoss and HatchView software help connect the numbers back to the craftsmanship—and that combination leads to excellent engines.
What surface texture makes a stone look good and feel good to the touch as well? We recently collaborated with stone enthusiast and retired metrologist Bob Rother to understand exactly what gives a stone a pleasing shape and texture. See how we did it in this Surface Notes blog post.Read More
A stylus on a surface roughness gage is susceptible to outside influences such as vibration, which will introduce errors to the measurement. A larger-radius "skidded" probe will stabilize the stylus...but it can cause other errors as well. In this Notepad Series video we describe how a skid can help improve your data, and potential pitfalls that you need to be aware of in order to make reliable measurements.Read More
What can surface texture tell us about how biological communities evolve? Dr. Jessica Arbour and her team at MTSU are using OmniSurf3D software to study the differences in the physical traits of fish. Their goal is to better understand why some species “stay with one biological plan” while others diversify into many forms.Read More
Sometimes roughness matters along a curved path — but a stylus can’t measure along a curve. What can you do? A new tool in OmniSurf3D lets you construct a curved path over your data and analyze the profile along that curve. Find out more in this Surface Matters blog post.Read More
TraceBoss software interfaces instantly with most portable surface roughness gages to let you see your data full screen, with the parameters that count. Its simple interface is designed for fast production measurements, to help you see, save, and understand your surfaces like never before.Read More
This week we made a big addition to the our Surface Library of 3D surface texture datasets! The new Microfinish Comparator series includes high resolution, 3D data of the 22 surface texture samples on a GAR S-22 microfinish comparator gage. These textures represent various machining operations and surface roughness amplitudes. These samples make it easy to compare and explore these common surfaces in great detail.Read More
Sometimes in surface texture analysis we need to measure difficult shapes, such as those resulting from a local process or local damage. Large features or distorted underlying geometry can further complicated the process. In this case study, we show the step-by-step process in OmniSurf3D for taming a challenging surface analysis task.Read More
Digital Metrology regularly works with metrology instrument providers and their end users to solve tough problems. This recent project is a great example. Digital Metrology developed the NozzleView software to better understand the geometry within fuel injector spray holes. These geometries are critical to fuel injector performance, but until recently they have been very difficult to measure and analyze. The NozzleView software lets users to analyze and explore the shape of each spray hole throughout its length, and to visually interact with the data to gain a better view, and better understanding, of the surface geometries.Read More
The surface heights of many machined surfaces form a normal distribution with a common bell shape. But often we want a surface that is skewed toward the peaks or valleys. The Rsk parameter is widely used to report the direction and degree of skewness...but Rsk has some very serious issues baked into the math which can lead to incorrect conclusions.
In this video we examine the Rsk parameter, how it is calculated, and how the calculation can lead to instability. We also provide some alternative parameters that are more stable for production measurement.Read More
There’s information about your performance and machining processes hiding in your surface texture. But you need to be able to see it to improve it. We sat down with Brad, the larger-than-life personality who fuels QMP, to talk about how he and QMP mine surface texture for every ounce of performance from their engines.Read More
How much of a surface do you need to measure in order to accurately describe its roughness? For typical surfaces, the standards suggest an evaluation length 5 times longer than the roughness cutoff. But if you are measuring a narrow feature or part, the entire surface may be smaller than that 5X length.
In this video we show you how to determine the "evaluation length" for measuring roughness on a typical surfaces, and we introduce options for measuring texture on smaller surfaces. We also point out some pitfalls that can lead to incorrect evaluation of roughness and waviness.Read More
Digital Metrology's new Surface Library is a collection of data to help users explore, understand, and explain surface texture. The Library is intended for surface texture professionals, researchers, teachers, students, and anyone curious about surface texture. Over the years we have generated and collected thousands of surface datasets. Some datasets highlight common objects, some help show how a particular kind of analysis affects data. And some are...just fun.Read More
Our joint article with Supfina, "Creating a World-Class Digital Workflow," is now in American Machinist magazine. This article discusses the benefits of keeping measurement data as an active part of the development process, rather than archiving it in static formats. OmniSurf software has been a key part of Supfina's effort to "go paperless" in a way that lets them reuse their data for future projects, without remeasuring. Find out how Supfina has done it!Read More
If you dug a hole in your yard, you likely wouldn’t assess how deep it was by describing the roughness at the bottom of the hole. Yet that's what often happens when we assess wear at the surface texture level. In this video we look at why roughness is not a good gauge of wear, and we’ll show you some better ways to quantify wear.Read More
When working with areal (3D) surface texture data, we often want to examine 2D slices through that data. OmniSurf3D takes XY analysis further than most other software. Small charts called “sparklines” help you to quickly spot trends in parameter values. Sparklines also show which parameters are most sensitive to the variations that occur in the particular surface. This video shows how the XY Profile Analysis in OmniSurf3D provides a unique twist on cross-section analysis that makes it easier for you to find, interpret, and address trends in your areal 3D datasets.Read More
Is a 3D (areal) texture measurement “better” than a 2D (profile) measurement? There are strong opinions on both sides. But the truth is that there may be some common ground. In fact, there are cases in which each type of measurement may be the right choice. In this video we discuss the properties of 2D vs areal (3D) measurement systems. We talk about how the two are related and we show where one may be preferable over the other depending on the application.Read More
In this video we discuss how the stylus tip radius influences what we see in surface texture measurement data. We discuss the short filter and how it provides consistency between measurement systems and stylus sizes.
We also look at a common misconception that a larger stylus tip radius is more durable than a smaller one. It's really not the case, and we will show you why.Read More
3D datasets often include missing or errant pixels, which can typically be solved by applying a median filter, peak/valley thresholds, etc. But in some cases the errors are too big or too isolated to filter out. For these cases, the Surface Editor Tool, unique to OmniSurf3D, lets you selectively repair missing data and data errors interactively. Find out how it works—and how easy it is to clean up a dataset—in this video.Read More
Are the peaks that you are seeing in your surface texture measurement real? In some cases the peaks in your graphs may not be real at all...they may be artifacts of the filtering operation. False peaks can make you think something's wrong, which can lead to unnecessary rework or even scrapping of good parts.
In this video we look at how the filtering process can sometimes lead to the generation of peaks that aren't there in reality. We also look at a better filter–the Robust Filter–that can provide more accurate representations of the roughness and waviness.Read More
A new resource makes it easier to find answers to surface texture related concepts and applications. “The Surface Texture Answer Book” is a Q&A style book that addresses more than 100 of the most commonly-asked questions regarding the measurement, analysis, interpretation, specification, and application of surface texture.
The 400-page paperback book is available through amazon.com.Read More
In applications such as controlling sealing in gaskets or noise in bearings and gears, longer-wavelength waviness may be more important than shorter-wavelength surface roughness. In this video we look at how we extract waviness from surface texture data, using a "cutoff wavelength" to determine what will be considered waviness and what will be considered roughness for a given application. We also show how to specify waviness on a drawing so that we can measure and control it in production.Read More
In this video we introduce the Rk Parameters, which are derived from the material ratio curve. The Rk parameters help us describe how a surface will wear, support a load, retain lubrication, etc. A single number cannot describe all of these traits...but the Rk parameters can.Read More
Digital Metrology's Mark Malburg was a guest speaker on Zygo Corporation's recent podcast, "2D and 3D Parameters: Should you stick to the typical results?" Dr. Malburg and Carl Musolff, retired senior technical advisor from Cummins Corporation, joined host Tyler Kern to discuss how surface texture parameters are specified and measured in order to control component quality.Read More
In "The Material Ratio Curve" we look at this rather well-known curve (historically known as the Abbott-Firestone Curve). It shows us the amount of material that we encounter as we move further down into a surface. That can tell us a lot about the surface: how durable it may be, how it could carry lubrication, how well it may wear...even how comfortable it may be to slide around on (not recommended!).
In this introduction we show how the material ratio curve is derived. Then, we show you some examples that will help you estimate the nature of a surface from the shape of its material ratio curve.Read More
Digital Metrology's Dr. Mark Malburg recently received the 2020 Patrick Higgins Medal. The annual award is presented to an individual who has contributed to the enhancement of standardization through contributions to the development and promotion of ASME codes and standards or conformity assessment programs.
ASME codes are recognized throughout the world for their excellence. The Standardization group is one of the senior code writing bodies within ASME, with publication dating back over 100 years ago. The Higgins medal was established in 2006 to recognize voluntary codes and standards activity in the Society.
The award is named for Patrick Higgins, who chaired ASME's A112 Committee on Plumbing Material & Equipment for over eighteen years. He also served as a Vice President of C&S Standardization.Read More
In our latest video, "Rz (Average Peak-to-Valley Roughness)," we look at the world’s second most common surface texture parameter. Our eye can do a pretty good job of telling us the general roughness of a surface. Rz works similarly. One caveat: there are other definitions of Rz out there—we will show you the differences and what to look for.Read More
In the December issue of our quarterly newsletter we round up the new blog posts, papers and videos that we've been adding to our website over the last few months—including our new Notepad Series videos which many of you have already visited. We share how one engineering professor is using our OmniSurf software products to help educate the next generation of machinists and designers. And, we introduce you to the Interactive Filtering feature in OmniSurf3D, which helps you focus on the features in your data that matter for the application, in a very visual way.Read More
The average roughness (or “Ra”) value of a surface is the most common number describing the “amount” of roughness on that surface. While the Ra value (or “Sa” for areal / 3D measurements) may give a general sense of the surface texture, it cannot distinguish between two surfaces of different shapes. For example, a jagged surface with sharp spikes could have the same Ra value as a smoothly plateaued surface with lots of deep porosity. As we show in this video, describing a surface using only Ra is like describing a concert only by loudness! Yet, Ra (or Sa) may still have its uses in some production settings.Read More
Controlling optical component performance requires well-defined measurement processes. In this white paper we look at how analysis software can help standardize measurement processes and results, by guiding users through the steps of the measurement process (geometry fitting, filtering, and defining parameters) and by making it simple to visualize the impact of analysis options.Read More
In our last video, "Roughness and Waviness," we looked at how to separate longer wavelength "waviness" from short-wavelength "roughness." In "Bandpass Waviness" we go a step further and also separate waviness from the long-wavelength "form" shapes. Making this distinction lets us target the waviness features that could matter most to you. For example, if you are trying to create a sealing surface, controlling the waviness-related lumps or bumps may be your biggest challenge. One surprising upshot of controlling these features separately: the added controls may actually let you loosen tolerances on the long wavelength form as a result.Read More
In the June edition we show you how to use a penny to compare the capabilities of measurement systems. We look at the relative size of high-resolution areal (3D) measurements versus typical profile (2D) traces (you may be surprised). We also talk about how custom solutions can outperform off-the-shelf options for many production tasks. And, we introduce you to some new productivity tools in our OmniSurf3D software that may make your job easier.Read More
Accurately assessing wear is critical for designing surfaces in contact. Unfortunately, mistakes are common when it comes to assessing actual wear depth. This article presents fundamentals and practical tools for exploring and assessing surfaces at various stages of wear. You can read our article on advanced wear assessment in Metrology News, Sept. 23, 2019.Read More
For surface texture measurements to be most effective, results must predict functionality. Morphological filters allow us to quantify functions such as appearance, sealing ability, and wear resistance. Read our article on this topic that appeared in Aerospace Manufacturing and Design Magazine, July 2019.Read More
Digital Metrology has released Bandify and Bandify3D multi-band surface texture analysis software, which let you instantly analyze surface texture in individual spatial wavelength bands.Read More
Digital Metrology Solutions is celebrating its twentieth anniversary as a provider of metrology software, measurement consulting and measurement training.Read More
Check out the OmniSurf3D press release highlighting the capabilities of this powerful, yet easy to use and affordable software package. Visualize and explore 3D surface texture like never before.Read More
When you are faced with difficult process and product problems, you can leverage decades of measurement expertise through our metrology consulting services. We work directly with your team to address issues of measurement uncertainty, geometrical specification, compliance, calibration and out-of-tolerance related manufacturing issues. Not only will we help solve the problem, but we can develop production-ready measurement systems to monitor and control the results.Read More
OmniRound allows you to explore your roundness/flatness/runout data – right from your desktop. OmniRound acts as a geometry analysis “toolbox” giving you the tools to analyze datafrom a variety of instruments, and to apply the latest metrology tools.Read More
Omni is from the Latin "omnis" meaning "all". The concept of "all" runs throughout the OmniSurf package. Its goal is to provide every possible analysis method for data obtained from every possible instrument. In this regard, OmniSurf seeks to provide the widest range of analytical capabilities to the widest range of data sets – in an easy-to-use software package.Read More