For the production of materials and coatings used in modern technology, surface quality monitoring is key: high-value manufacturing requires accurate measurement of properties such as roughness, elasticity or contamination. As the demand for precision increases, tactile microprobes used to inspect components will need better characterisation. Furthermore, existing optical inspection techniques are inadequate for in-line use; microprobe-based systems, however, could be integrated into the production line to achieve fast and continuous quality control.
This project will develop tactile microprobes and their industrial use for material surface measurements. Probe tips will be developed for improved wear resistance and have their geometries characterised for better accuracy in various modes of use. By integrating such devices into the manufacturing process, in-line product inspection could be 30 times faster compared to off-line methods; production-line efficiency and waste reduction through improved quality control therefore delivers direct economic and environmental benefits. Industry users will also gain from the project results through good practice guides and training events.