How to accurately check needle and sharp edge height

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

For medical manufacturers, precisely measuring the height of a needle or a sharp edge is is often critical to product quality and function.

For example, medical plants that produce hypodermic needles often must check if the needle is properly placed inside its base. Also, factory lines that use sharp-edge blades as part of the production process, such as for fabric cutting, must be able to accurately check that the tip of the blade is at the correct height.

However, accurately measuring the height of a needle or a sharp edge can be problematic. Non-contact sensors, such as 2D or imaging sensors, find it difficult to identify the absolute tip of a needle or sharp edge. This deficiency can have a potentially negative impact on product quality and performance.

How to accurately measure needle and sharp edge height

An accurate, low cost solution is to use Feather touch and Ultra-Feather Touch probes, built by Solartron Metrology.

Solartron Metrology Feather touch and Ultra-feathertouch probes provide clear advantages over other technologies. These highly precise, repeatable measurement sensors have low-tip forces down to 0.05N that can measure delicate surfaces with sub micron accuracy in some cases. They are easy to set up and integrate with existing systems and offer higher repeatability and less sensitivity to the environments in which they are used.

The advantages of Feathertouch and Ultra-feathertouch probes 

The soft-tip force of Feathertouch and Ultra-feathertouch probes means that needles or blades aren’t bent or damaged by the measuring process.

The high resolution of Feathertouch and Ultra-Feathertouch probes, at up to 0.05µm, means that the precise height of the needle or sharp edge can be determined.

Feathertouch and Ultra-Feathertouch probes can be used with tungsten carbide, nylon, and ruby tips to suit specific product requirements.

Furthermore, Solartron Metrology Feathertouch and Ultra-feathertouch probes are available in a range of sizes and formats, ensuring compatibility with all manufacturing requirements. Feather Touch probes sizes range from 2mm to 30mm. Ultra-feather touch probes are available in spring and pneumatic versions, with a 10mm range and various tip materials.

How to optimise the benefits of Feathertouch and Ultra-feathertouch probes

The advantages of Feathertouch and Ultra-feathertouch probes can be further optimised when used with the Solartron Orbit 3® Digital Measurement System. The system is a digital, modular network built for easy data collection and analysis via a PC, PLC or existing in-house network.

Up to 150 Orbit 3® digital sensors can be networked together in a single interface, providing rapid, repeatable and reliable data acquisition. Interfaces include USB, Ethernet TCP/IP, RS232, Bluetooth wireless and six PLC protocols. In addition, the Orbit 3® software drivers provide programming examples for any Windows-based software, including Excel, LabVIEW and QC-CALC.

Find out more about Solartron Metrology’s products and our true precision guarantee by contacting our friendly team of experts on +44 (0)1243 833333 or