Custom Measuring Solutions for Tough Applications

The Starrett Special Gage Division has worked with customers to find solutions for tough problems. In fact, we estimate that over the past 50 years, we have made about 25,000 special gages.

Measuring Hot Steel - A Custom Measuring Solution

The Starrett Custom Gage Division was asked by a customer to develop a new gage for measuring the diameter of hot steel flat stock while in the heat treatment process.

The existing measuring devise utilized a gage with a crude fractional dial (right) that did not provide accurate or repeatable results. In addition, it often stuck to the hot steel and ruined the piece being measured. Even worse, on several occasions the old process caused burn injuries to the operator.

The customer needed a new solution that provided precise and reliable results, a much lower scrap rate, and ensured operator safety.

The application presented some difficult challenges. Any operation that requires contact with hot steel is dangerous and must be of very brief duration.

From Problem to Solution

After an interactive process between the engineering staffs of our customer and the Starrett Special Gage group, a radically different gage (right) was developed, that met all of the design criteria.

The new Hot Steel Gage:
  • Takes measurements quickly, contacting the hot steel for only two seconds.
  • Is nickel plated to minimize heat transfer form radiant heat.
  • The operators hand stays 12” away from the hot steel.
  • The electronic indicator’s Hold feature locks the reading in the display so it can be safely read away from the dangerous area, and in better light conditions.
  • Is very accurate, measuring to within +/- .003".

Measuring Process with the Starrett Hot Steel Gage

First, turn on indicator and check the accuracy for the size being measured with the gage master. Then, with the jaws open, press “HOLD” to display MIN on display. Next, place gage over part to be measured with handle parallel to work surface and pull trigger to close jaws. Move the handle slightly above horizontal to slightly below while maintaining trigger pressure. Then, release the trigger and remove gage. The measurement is displayed on indicator.

A Family of Gages

After the demonstrated success of the hot steel gage, Starrett developed a family of similar products with capacities of up to 8" (in 1" increments) and a choice of 2" or 3" in-reach capacity. Special models with modified jaws are available for measuring round stock. A number of satisfied companies are now using the hot steel gage.

An Ideal Application for DataSure Wireless Data Collection

An important part of the process is to use the Hold function of the indicator, so the measurement will be recorded before the jaws leave the part. In addition, many manufacturers require measurement data to be recorded. The electronic indicators that do the actual measuring are available with output ports.

Starrett introduced the DataSure Wireless Data Collection System several years after the hot steel gage was developed and it was a perfect fit for this application. Many manufacturers now include DataSure when they order these gages, and existing gages have been field-retrofitted.