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 cmx-smallThe decision on whether you need to measure  :

1. Thickness of sheet metal
2. Evaluate the onset of corrosion in metal fabricated structures
3. Thickness of small diameter pipes such as boiler tubes, automotive pipes etc

amongst others, will decide which thickness gauge instrument you should purchase to satisfy the application.

A thickness gauge is an investment in quality production of components, to test quality of product purchased and finally to ensure a higher lifetime of asset by identifying corrosion. Purchasing a world class quality  instrument such as Dakota ultrasonic thickness gauge ensures that your teams are utilizing product which will provide consistency and repeatability in measurements ensuring that the process of quality assurance or quality testing can be inducted into your organization as a process and not as a daunting task.

Many a times questions are asked – give us an ultrasonic thickness gauge instrument which is easy to use , will provide accurate readings and can withstand the test of time in adverse conditions such as oil, heat etc. however, at the same time the next point addressed is that it should be the lowest cost instrument.

As mentioned above, purchase of a thickness gauge should be considered an investment that provides a ROI i.e it should be viewed as a method of cost savings by ensuring quality and therefore avoidance of rejections, as a method to periodically check against or rather the onset of corrosion to ensure preventive maintenance of high value steel structure assets. Given the repetitive nature of quality assurance or the size of the assets that are usually under test, it becomes even more pertinent that the thickness gauges utilized should be advanced enough to allow easy and quick handling by engineers or technicians at any level. Instruments such as the CMX Ultrasonic thickness gauges or the MMX6 Multimodal thickness gauge ensure that the operator can undertake even large jobs with ease.

To start with , use the following table to narrow down your search on which general purpose thickness gauge or advanced ultrasonic thickness gauge to utilize :


We need to measure thickness of the same material every day. The MX-1 will hold a single velocity, making it the perfect choice applications where only one material is being tested day after day.
We need to measure a few materials everyday. The MX-2 is ideal for the person that tests a few different materials regularly. The MX-2 contains 8 velocities of common materials and two velocities that the user can set using a simple sofware program.
We need to measure the thickness of various materials everyday and also scan for changes in thickness along the length of a material. With the hand held MX-3 Ultrasonic micrometer, you can make reliable measurements or scan a length of material for the thinnest point.
We need to measure thickness of various materials. Also, I need to measure thickness of metals through coating. I also need to scan for corrosion by performing high speed scanning over metals. The MMX-6 is a simple to use hand-held Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge with the ability to measure through paint and coatings and eliminate the thickness of the paint or coating. The MMX-6 uses a dual element style transducer. With the single press of a button, the MMX-6 can be switched between pit or flaw mode ( pulse-echo), and through paint/coatings mode (echo-echo) for maximum inspection efficiency. The MMX-6 is equipped with a bundle of features to make your job easier: Alarm mode, high speed scanning, and data send are the main features of the MMX-6.
We need all of the above plus we need to log the measured values. The MMX-6DL has all the features of the MMX-6 plus: An Internal data logger that stores a total of 1000 readings in 10 files of 100 readings each file. This gives the user the ability to store, and download the stored measurements directly to a PC using our DakView software program. The software and transfer cable are included in the MMX-6DL kit.
We need all of the above plus we need the advancement allowing us to have prefed velocities to avoid repeated calibration for carrying out quick and unhindered measurements everyday. The MMX-7 has all features of the MX & MMX gauges with some additional features and advantages. Selectable Large Digits and B-Scan display options. An internal data logger that stores a total of 12,000 readings and waveforms, 64 user custom definable setups, selectable transducer table for improved linearity, thru paint mode with the single press of a button, multiple calibration and material selection options, and selectable low, medium or high gain options.
We need all of the above plus we need cross sectional views to be measured with waveforms. The MVX finishes the line of MX gauges with class. This thing is loaded with all of the features of the MX gauges and a lot more. Four selectable display options: RF, Rectified, B-Scan, and Large Digits. An internal data logger that stores a total of 12,000 readings and waveforms, 64 user custom definable setups, selectable transducer table for improved linearity, thru paint mode with the single press of a button, multiple calibration and material selection options, and auto waveform find – just to mention a few! Equipped with a single element flaw prove-up mode for basic angle beam inspections.
We need all of the above i.e advanced prefered velocities , auto probe zero ; we need to measure material thickness, measure material thickness through coatings and also measure coating thickness. The CMX has all features of the MX & MMX gauges with a ton of advanced features. Measure material and coating thickness simultaneously, while still detecting pits & flaws in a single mode (PECT). Auto probe zero, auto probe recognition, auto temperature compensation are also included. Selectable Large Digits and B-Scan display options, up to 64 custom user definable setups, selectable transducer table for precision linearity, and material and coating calibration options are also available.Our standard through paint mode is is still included and ongoing. Switch between modes, according the transducer recognized or manually selected.
All of the above plus datalogging. The CMX DL has all the features of the CMX, plus a huge storage capacity, using multiple file structures. Select between to file formats: Sequential, with auto identifiers or, our standard alpha numeric grid format.The storage capacity is rather impressive. Graphics on: Store 16,000 + readings (material & Coating) with a B-Scan, and all features and gauges settings per reading. Graphics off: Store 210,000+ readings, including material, coating, and min & max readings. Massive storage capacity
We need to perform precision thickness measurement of  very thin materials as low as 0.15mm with a resolution of 0.001mm, need to measure through paint. The PX-7 is our basic precision gauge model. The PX series are packaged in an aluminum extruded body, with nickel plated aluminum end caps. The PX series gauges are typically used for thin material applications. This gauge has the ability to calibrate to a variety of different materials using a one point calibration option. Some of the features include: Scan feature (allowing the user to scan an area for the minimum thickness), alarm mode (audible & visual), differential mode (+/- from nominal thickness value), and RS232 port out.
We need precision thickness measurement and also need to measure on very thin dia pipes, need high speed scanning , measure through paint and a visual waveform based display. PVX is equipped with an alpha-numeric data logger to provide increased versatility for those custom reporting needs. The high speed scan feature speeds up the inspection process by making 32 measurements per second. Remove transducer from the test material and display the minimum measurement scanned.Visual and audible alarm with hi and lo limit settings for specific application tolerances. Auto find features locates the detection point(s) and adjusts the display settings to bring the waveform into view. PVX comes complete with our Windows® PC software for transferring data to and from a PC.


ultracon-large  Ultrasonic pulse velocity tester or UPV as it is referred is one of the few methods utilised for in situ testing of quality of concrete and strength.As the name suggests, an ultrasonic pulse velocity tester is based on the principle of energized pulses generated and transmitted through a crystal transmitter of an ultrasonic transducer and received by a crystal receiver of an ultrasonic transducer. The frequencies utilized by industry recognized UPV concrete testers such as the Ultracon 170 from MKC Korea are generally commercially utilised low frequencies standardized at 54kHz.The time taken for the signal to be transmitted and received allows analysis of the quality of concrete.

 Test Method utilised for Insitu Ultrasonic pulse velocity testing of concrete:

The UPV tester is utilised on a concrete structure greater than 30 cms in width. An ultrasonic couplant (gel/paste) is applied on the ultrasonic transducers to allow a strong contact between the transducers and the concrete to ensure a good signal transmission through the concrete. If both the transmitter and receiver transducers are applied in line with each other, the method is referred to as a direct method of concrete testing with an ultrasonic instrument. If the transmitter and receiver transducers are aligned perpendicular to each other, the method is referred to as an indirect method. Care must be taken to avoid rebar in the path of the ultrasonic waves to avoid influence from the same.

Yardstick to be followed while interpreting results from a concrete ultrasonic pulse velocity tester :

Pulse Velocity ft/sec Interpretation of measured values in relation to quality of concrete
Above 15000 Excellent
12000 to 15000 Good
10000 to 12000 Questionable
7000 to 10000 Poor
< 7000 Very Poor

Application of UPV concrete testing in relation to building structures and building construction :

Firstly, as suggested initially, the ultrasonic pulse velocity method is suggested as a standard method for establishing whether the quality of the concrete is uniform or not. The test is applicable to both new structures under construction and existing building with concrete that has already aged. The basic fundamental to follow as indicated in the table referred, is that if the pulse velocity readings are low, there should be good reason to believe that the concrete is defective, not uniform or deteriorated.

If the readings are fluctuating i.e of if one reading is lower than the others, there should be good reason to presume the presence of defects such as cavities, cracks or voids in the concrete under test.

Synopsis :

The Ultrasonic concrete test is highly suggested to be utilized on load bearing structures of bridges, high rise buildings, industrial plants etc to determine the quality and uniformity of concrete and the effects of elements such as acidic rain, sulphatic attacks , freeze thaw effects .

detector-duo-1.largeAs built maps of utilities are made in reference to specific points, which become null and void as the civic layout changes. Most times, such maps do not even exist.

The utilities are often confronted with the task of ensuring expansion of buried services, without knowing the locations or routes of their utility assets. The contractor is bestowed the responsibility to execute the work of new installation of cables or pipes or even over ground structures such as fly over’s, freeways or buildings without damaging existing buried cable and pipe utility services.

The task faced by the contractor (or the user i.e the utility itself) is applicable to all types of utilities and especially buried utilities such as water pipes, sewer pipes, power cables etc. The onus of avoidance of buried utilities is of the contractor.

Many a contractor recognize that they are faced with the task of mapping a jungle of underground utilities, that are a result of decades of installation of buried services such as sewer, water, power etc independently and without  correlation to each other, as they were and are installed under tender or contract for installation of services for that specific user alone for example a telco, water board, municipality or a power discom.

The mapping of such buried services , not detection but comprehensive development of maps of various types of buried utilities, requires both a background in surveying and construction and in depth knowledge of advanced gpr’s and other associated underground locating devices such as pipe & cable locators, magnetic locators etc.

While most contractors would want a one stop product solution to mapping of buried utility services, there isn’t a single shot answer. The question in fact in relation to mapping of buried utilities , once again not detection of utilities, but mapping is : what to use, when to use , how to use which decides how efficiently the utilities are mapped.  the answer to what to use is decided by the level of survey that the user or contractor desires. The level of surveys for underground utility mapping can be categorized as follows :

Level 1 survey Desk top survey involving a search of existing utility records. This can be consolidated onto one plan in CAD and overlain onto base mapping as an option. Can be used to target more detailed fieldwork
Level 2 survey A Visual walkover survey carried out as a site visit. This would normally be in addition to a Level 1 survey and act as a reconnaissance on large projects to advise on the letting of the main utility survey. The site visit would be much enhanced if the results of the level 1 survey were to hand for the walk over survey.
Level 3 survey Electro-magnetic location survey in passive and active mode with located services being marked onto ground surface.Includes cover lifting to allow line threading / sonding. Recorded manhole survey can beadded as an option.Advisable to have Levels 1 & 2 surveys carried out in addition
Level 4 survey A Level 3 survey but with the addition of  ground probing radar (GPR) in stake out mode to supplement EML results. Advisable to have Levels 1 & 2surveys carried out in addition.
Level 5 survey A Level 3 survey but with recorded close centred GPR over an agreed % of the whole site complete with post data collection processing, analysis and interpretation.Line & depth marked onto digital site plans in CAD.
Level 6 survey A Level 3 survey but with the addition of recorded GPR Survey over 100%of the site with post data collection processing, analysis and interpretation.Line & depth marked onto digital site plans in CAD. Intrusive trial holes to verify results can be added as an option


Given the comprehensive nature of the subject, please write to the Stanlay team of underground locating equipment experts at to share with us the details of your underground utility mapping project to allow us assist in a more informed manner.

While the cable pipe detector such as the CSCOPE DXL2 cable avoidance tool are thoroughbred professional tools for detecting cables & pipes

which are built to perform,  if there is a cable cut, the subject will come down to  :DXL Cable Avoidance Tool

1. Was the cable avoidance tool used at all before the digging was initiated.
2. The second question would be – If yes, which modes was it utilized in ; i.e was only the power mode utilized for detecting energized power cables, or was the all scan mode used to detect all utilities in one sweep.
3. Third question, were the right gain settings utilized.

While the use of the product is child’s play for an experienced operator, it is the first chapter of a boo for a new or inexperienced or untrained operator.

Data logging allows the supervisor or the manager to know  :

  1. Whether the equipment was utilized at all.
  2. On what dates and time it was utilized.
  3. How i.e in which modes the cable locator was utilized.
  4. What settings were used.

Ensuring that the ground operatives know that their activities can be monitored and ensuring that diagnosis of non-performance can be pinpointed to the exact human error i.e is the operator proficient, does he need more training, or are the equipment’s being utilized for the designated purpose.

The same can be further extended to allow GPS logs to be established  , using any standard android phone to capture utility data by way of Bluetooth connectivity with the utility locator to extend the capability of the equipment’s and in turn convert the data logging capability to being a tool for updating as built maps.

Datalogging is starting to become as statutory requirement in various countries to ensure minimal cable cuts and pipe damages before excavation. However, as is the case with any system, while the CSCOPE DXL2 & MXL2 prevision pipe and cable locator range bring with them the latest in datalogging technology with built in Bluetooth, it comes down to the supervisors themselves to ensure that they utilize these technology benefits to ensure that best practices are followed by their ground operatives .

Pipe & Cable LocatorsThe task of Locating underground utilities can be bifurcated into two deliverable:

1.Detection of underground utilities
2.Mapping of underground utilities

If we take“a”this can be further subdivided into:

1. Detection of metallic cables & pipes, whether energized current carrying utilities or non energized utilities such as signaling cables, metallic pipes etc.

2. Detection of DI pipes, metallic manholes etc.
3. Non metallic HDPE telecom pipes, fiberglass manholes, etc.

Underground cable & pipe utility locating requires the use a combination of various equipment’s and techniques which need to be chosen based on desired deliverables and then correctly employed to obtain the desired results.

If the answer is “i”, an operator with basic training on usage of the ever dependable CSCOPE DXL2 Cable avoidance tool or CAT33XD Cable avoidance tool, can do the job blindfolded.

If the answer is “ii”, an additional metal detector &/or magnetic locator is required.

If the answer is “iii”. The use of a ground penetrating radar or GPR is necessary.

In layman term, Fundamentally, both I and ii operate on the principle of detecting electromagnetic energy (based on specified frequencies) . In case of CSCOPE Pipe & Cable locator standard features include capability to detect both 50Hz passive power signal frequency and the capability to transmit an electromagnetic energy (at a specified frequency) and in turn detection of a small amount of frequency. The time delay allows detection of range of the target.

Whereas. In case of a ground penetrating radar, The GPR  transmits a very short pulse of e.m. energy into the material by a transmitting antenna at a wide range of higher frequencies in comparison to a pipe & cable locator . Energy reflected by discontinuities is captured by a receiving antenna. Depth range & resolution are related to the radar frequency, transmitted power, host material e.m. properties and to the shape and characteristics of the targets. The above  combined with specialised electronic controllers allow Differences in dielectric properties between two adjacent materials through which the radar wave propagates to be captured allowing detection of both metallic and non metallic utilities.

The basic GPR allow detection of both metallic and non metallic utilities, “On Site”, by capturing the images of the scans , which display parabolas based on the differences in dielectric properties.

Combining basic surveying techniques with the on site detection GPR allows generation of  data of presence of such buried metallic pipes & cables.

In addition, on account of the principle , the GPR can scan through utilities to even detect layers of utiltiies below the first layer of utilities, which may not be possible with a cable & pipe locator if the utilities are too closely bunched.

The basic software in on site detection GPR, such as the Detector DUO from IDS Italy also combine a basic GRED software allowing the operator to mark on site , the kind of utility (to be decided by the operator based on visual observation, use of CSCOPE cable avoidance tool / digital pipe & cable locator and logical deduction).

If however, the call is for  “b” i.e mapping of underground utilities,  utilization of multifrequency multi array configuration GPR or ground penetrating radars such as the RIS HIMOD with advanced digital controllers providing fast sampling ratesto carry out high resolution capture, collation and processing of underground utility data over large areas – Combining with advanced GRED 3D software allows post processing of the acquired data with minimal human intervention to build detailed maps of the underground utilities which can be exported to CAD.  Such maps then become the foundation of work for utilities, municipalities, project teams and supervisors.

Thickness gauges are utilized where a micrometer or vernier caliper cannot be utilized – for measuring thickness of large sheets of metal or other substrates which can otherwise not be measured using the above devices.

Ultrasonic Material Thickness Gauge

Ultrasonic Material Thickness Gauge

A thickness gauge works on the principle of ultrasonics, i.e a signal is sent into the substrate through the transmitter  of an ultrasonic transducer which when received allows the thickness of the substrate to be measured.

While all this sounds so simple, should all ultrasonic thickness gauges not be the same?

 Which leads to the questions –

1.  what is the type of substrate under test ? egg, steel, aluminum, iron, titanium, glass etc.
2.  What are the conditions in which the thickness gauge will be used, will there be dust, oil, water ?
3.  Is it a simple sheet of material or a final product ?
4. How thin or thick is the product or material  ?
5. Is it a tube , sheet or a block ?
6. Are measurements required to be conducted on the same type of material each time or do the materials which are being tested keep on changing ?
7. Does the material have a coating or not ?
8. What is the accuracy required ?
9. Is datalogging required ?

amongst others.

Knowing the answers to the above decides :

  1. What we need from an ultrasonic thickness gauge in terms of capability.
  2. What is the kind of ultrasonic transducer required to efficiently carry out the measurements and with accuracy.

Thickness gauges are available in options ranging from general purpose thickness gauges to precision thickness gauges with accuracy of 0.001mm. also, apart from general purpose thickness gauges, options are available of multimodal thickness gauge which go beyond the standard pulse echo mode introducing the echo – echo mode for measuring through coating. The options go forward to include thickness gauges that also measure coatings apart from just the material thickness.

Top end professional units are A/B Scopes which perform the function of not just providing thickness but also the capability to view cross section .professional units also include pre fed velocities or the option to set custom velocities to allow the user to work unhindered without the need to repeatedly calibrate to the material.

Stop Before You Dig

On March 20, 2013, in Locate & map buried pipes & cables, by Stanlay

The civic layout of India based on the growing need for housing and roads has changed beyond recognition.  As a result As-built maps of underground utility assets, if existing , have been rendered redundant and cannot be used for reference for presence of buried utility assets.

Jcb Excavators or manual labour at work in the country are digging in the blind at most times, at the peril of significant safety concerns of digging directly into live high voltage cables. Such cuts of buried cables can lead to , in order of priority , fatality to the person excavating and serious losses to the company who has taken the work contract. Not to mention the relative inconvenience to the citizens.

The underground space is a jungle of energised power cables, dead power cables, water pipes, jelly filled telephone cables and optical fiber cables. The detection of these assets is an absolute must before undertaking any excavation activity.

Detection of buried utility services requires utilisation of specialised proven pipe and cable locator equipments also referred by some as cable route tracers and others as cable avoidance tools. While the use of these equipments is mandatory in most developed countries, the equipments find acceptance by only more professional companies in India whereas the general contractors who take on jobs carry on work without consideration. Many safety oriented organisations in India propagate utilisation of buried cable pipe detectors as standard safety equipments.  Many  major users in india are also pushing financial damage in case of a utility cut as a measure  to cause the contractors to ensure use of methods which allow prevention of cuts of cables and pipes.

Internationally, as is the case in the united kingdom, utilisation of cable avoidance tools from pipe cable locator manufacturers such as cscope uk is a standard HSE requirement. Premier respected organisations such as British rail, British telecom require utilisation of the cscope cable avoidance as standard safety equipments which have to be utilised prior any excavation activity is undertaken. These cable avoidance tools are the latest generation equipments which are portable and light weight allowing hours of use of the equipment by ground operatives in charge of safety.

The latest generation of pipe cable detectors are highly capable equipments which allow the operator to detect and mark or even gps log location of buried assets with confidence. And even allow differentiation of the utility type detected at a basic level, such as power cable or any other metallic utility.

Cable and pipe detection is both a science and an art. Science as the equipments use the principle of electromagnetic frequency detection to detect radiated or reradiated frequency fields . And art as major pipe cable locator suppliers such as stanlay ( or experienced users possess a significant amount of knowledge to detect cables in extremely complex locations or understand frequency or equipment behaviour in difficult detection scenarios to ensure the most efficient detection of buried cables and assets. and take the capability from just detection to complete mapping, if necessary or required.

suppliers such as stanlay ensure that the operators are given a hands on stepwise training covering basics to advanced training, to ensure efficient utilisation of equipment to ensure that the cable pipe locators assist to do the intended job of preventing cable cuts.

Next time – Stop before you dig. Ensure you use the right avoidance tools to confidently excavate for new utility installations without cutting existing buried cable or pipes.