How to economically check plating thickness

Sunday, March 24, 2019

In the manufacture of electronic and automotive components, machined parts must often be plated with chrome or another protective material. Accurately checking the thickness of this plating is a crucial part of the manufacturing process.

The importance of precisely measuring plate thickness

If the plating is too thick or too thin, there is a risk that the component will not pass specification testing or fit within a larger system. Errors in measurements can generate costly delays and negatively impact time-to-market and profit margins.

Plate thickness has been traditionally checked using dial gauges. However, in today’s world, where a high degree of precision is a standard requirement, these gauges are not accurate enough. They are unable to precisely measure micro-thin layers. In addition, non-contact technologies can be slow and expensive.

How to economically measure plating thickness to a high degree of precision

The solution to precisely and economically measure plate thickness is to use digital gauging probes, such as those designed and developed by Solartron Metrology.

The advantages of Solartron Metrology digital gauging probes include:

  • Resolution of 0.01µm - high-resolution Solartron digital gauging probes can precisely measure plate thickness and easily detect the difference between plated and unplated surfaces.


  • Easy mastering - Solartron digital gauging probes can be calibrated across the measurement range. This makes it easy to set an unplated surface as the base reading for a probe and then check the thickness of a plate after the plating process.


  • Low-tip forces - Solartron digital gauging probes offer low-tip forces. Feathertouch probes provide low-tip forces of 0.30N and ultra-feathertouch probes from 0.03N to 0.05N. This means that surfaces will not be scratched or damaged.


  • Different tips - Solartron digital gauging probes can be used with a range of tips, including ruby and nylon tips, to avoid marking during the checking process.

These advantages make digital gauging sensors a cost-effective and cost-saving investment for manufacturing businesses across the industry spectrum.

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

The advantages of digital gauging 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