Digital height gauges are precision measuring instruments used to determine the height of an object or workpiece with extreme accuracy and precision. These versatile devices are indispensable in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, engineering, and quality control. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various types of digital height gauges, their components, how they work, and their numerous applications.
What is a Digital Height Gauge?
A digital height gauge is a highly accurate instrument designed to measure the height of objects or features on a workpiece relative to a reference plane. By providing marked locations on an item, digital height gauges play a crucial role in quality control, compatibility assessment, and manufacturing planning. These instruments can offer accuracies of up to 0.001 inches, ensuring precise measurements for various applications.
Types of Height Gauges
There are four primary types of height gauges, each with its unique features and applications:
- Vernier Height Gauges
- Dial Height Gauges
- Digital Counter Height Gauges
- Electronic Height Gauges (Digital Height Gauges)
Vernier Height Gauges
Vernier height gauges utilise a main scale and a Vernier scale to provide greater resolution of the measured value. They are generally available in measuring size ranges from 6 inches to 6 feet and can have imperial (inch) or metric (mm) scales.
Dial Height Gauges
Dial height gauges are typically available in smaller measuring size ranges, usually less than 12 inches or 300 mm. These units feature a mechanical dial with a needle pointer, making it easy to read measurements. Due to their compact size, dial height gauges are highly portable and can be stored in a toolbox.
Digital Counter Height Gauges
Digital counter height gauges combine a dial and needle with a dual-digit counter to increase the speed and efficiency of the measurement process. The counter allows for readings to tenths of an inch while thousandths of an inch can be read on the dial. The presence of an additional counter also enables users to set and maintain an absolute and floating zero if needed.
Electronic Height Gauges (Digital Height Gauges)
Electronic height gauges, often referred to as digital height gauges, replace analogue dials and mechanical counters with digital displays. Read more about the old dial height gauges here. These devices typically allow users to switch between different units of measure, such as inches and millimeters. Advanced models, such as the VMS digital height gauge from Eley Metrology, offer additional features and capabilities that enhance measuring accuracy and versatility, including air-bearing systems, motorized measuring carriages, temperature compensation capabilities, and data storage/output options.
Components of a Digital Height Gauge –
There are several core components to a digital height gauge; each engineered to provide high-quality measurements:
The base of a digital height gauge is typically made of solid cast iron, ensuring stability and durability. Some devices feature air bearings to provide optimal balance on a smooth granite surface plate, which is often used as the foundation for fine-tuned height gauges.
Perpendicular to the base, all height gauges have a vertical beam made of a rigid metal, such as steel. These beams come in various sizes and scales, depending on the specific needs of the industry.
The Axis Carriage
The axis carriage, whether manual or motorized, carries the probe, scribe, or measuring jaws to the workpiece feature for measurement.
Mechanical height gauges typically use manually operated probes with measuring jaws. These jaws have adjustable teeth, similar to callipers, which can be applied to a workpiece feature with controllable screws.
Scribes enable height gauges to mark workpieces for further machining or calculations. These scribes use dyed layout fluid to create dots or lines at specific points on the workpiece.
Digital height gauges often employ touch probes, which feature a physical sensor akin to a fingertip that makes contact with the workpiece. These probes apply a small amount of pressure, or measurement force, to the surface to gather accurate and repeatable data.
On digital height gauges, the display screen controls enable operators to customize features for measurement and data extrapolation. Depending on the type of digital height gauge, these screens may be LED, LCD, or high-resolution colour displays.
Application of Digital Height Gauges –
Digital height gauges are employed in various quality control applications and can perform multiple types of measurements, including:
- Measuring the distance from a reference surface to a specific feature of a part to verify that it meets specifications and tolerances
- Scribing a part with accurate vertical dimensions or features from a datum plane for additional machining
- Performing 2D measurements of part features
- Verifying center-to-center dimensions
- Measuring flatness, angles, and straightness/squareness or perpendicularity of parts
Digital height gauges are invaluable tools in a multitude of industries, offering extreme precision and accuracy in measuring the height of objects and workpiece features. By understanding the various types of height gauges, their components, and how they work, you can determine which type of digital height gauge is best suited for your needs. Whether you require a Vernier, Dial, Digital Counter, or Electronic height gauge, these instruments provide versatile and precise measurements for countless applications.
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