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Paints and coatings are used as surface finishing and for one or more protective layers in a wide range of industries. New algorithms are now set to facilitate contactless measurement of the layer thickness in real time. The new measurement technology has been developed by the Center for Material Characterization and Testing and by the Competence Center High Performance Computing , both at the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics (ITWM).

The process is based on a Terahertz measurement system also developed at the Fraunhofer Institute, which has four measuring heads and facilitates up to 50 measurements per second with a tolerance of less than 1 µm, and even up to 200 measurements per second if multiple sensors are used. Thanks to the new software, the researchers are achieving an improvement in the original evaluation time of several seconds to less than 1 ms – with a four-layer coating and using a standard notebook. In this way, the inline-compatible measurement system is meeting the increasing requirements of automated industry, which is moving towards ever shorter production cycle times .