Profilometers or surface roughness testers are instruments that evaluate the roughness of a surface and provide a reading in either microinches or micrometers. Profilometers typically consist of 3 main components – the Readout – the Driver – The Detector
The Base or Readout houses the majority of the electronics for cyphering or decoding the signals and then displaying an interpretable reading.
The Driver is the component which houses and traverses the stylus, probe, pickup or detector.
The Detector is also referred to as a stylus, probe or pickup. As it travels across a surface, it is picking up high and low spots of a surface and sends a signal to the readout. This is the most delicate of all the components, due to its extremely small diamond tip. When considering the varying environments profilometers are used in, how delicate they are, and with multiple operators, these units will eventually fail. With the exception of probe replacement, surface testers always require professional service.
There are few repair laboratories that can complete this sort of work for several brands. As this is a piece of precision equipment, a profilometer should be repaired by people specializing in the field. In North America, one of the finest options is
Tool Works repairs all components of these units.
Words of Profilometer Wisdom
If you take nothing else away from this site, remember
these cautionary notes....
1. DO NOT OPERATE THE INSTRUMENT IF YOU
NOTICE MECHANICAL PROBLEMS.
Operating the profilometer after
noticing a problem can result in more damage and increase the
scope of the repair.
2. AVOID TAKING APART YOUR PROFILOMETERS.
a profilometer in the incorrect or inappropriate environment can result in serious damage and electronic failure and increase the scope of the repair.
3. NEVER FORGET, ALMOST ALL PROFILOMETERS, AND
COMPONENTS OF THEM, ARE WORTH
4. DON'T BE FOOLED INTO PURCHASING OFFSHORE BRAND
These gages are difficult to procure parts for and repair is almost always 75% or more of the replacement cost, if repairable at all. Also, be cautious not to buy branded offshore instruments. These are not quality pieces and will fail sooner due to sloppy engineering and low quality components.
5. WHEN SHIPPING PROFILOMETERS FOR REPAIR, PACK THEM SECURELY.
Packaging is critical. Delicate dynamic components can be damaged during shipping, use or mimic OEM packaging (as closely possible). Heavy rigid foam, ample bubble wrap and double boxing is recommended. Always include manuals (if available), probes, power cords and any broken components needed to test the instrument. Be sure to include all components for testing purposes.