National Physical Laboratory

SoftGauges for Surface Topography

Knowledge of the topography of a machined surface is necessary in order to understand the functional performance of the surface, and is consequently essential to the manufacturing process. As with the instruments used in many other areas of metrology, those that measure surface texture generally interface to a computer that collects and analyses numerical data. As part of the data analysis, surface texture parameters are evaluated.

The use of a surface texture parameter to characterise numerically the measured topography was proposed many years ago, and a number of parameters have been adopted by standards bodies and are used in industry for this purpose. Whereas it is commonplace to use physical artefacts to calibrate surface measuring instruments, such artefacts do not allow validation and verification in isolation of the software components of the instrument for evaluating surface texture parameters.

Work undertaken jointly by the National Physical Laboratory, the Centre for Precision Technologies at the University of Huddersfield and Taylor Hobson Ltd, has led to the development of software measurement standards ('SoftGauges') and software as follows:

Background information

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