Barkhausen noise measurement can either be performed manually by using a sensor and analyzer, or it can be fully automated to include the production line. There are also solutions for semi-automated measurements when full automation is not needed. In this article series we will explain how to automate Barkhausen noise measurements, and why. This first article will explain why it’s better to automate Barkhausen noise analysis.
In many cases Barkhausen noise measurements require sample handling such as loading and unloading, and sample movements for the measurement. The heavier the samples get, the more dangerous they become for manually handling with human force. Sample loading and movements can be fully automated to eliminate operator risk.
The Barkhausen noise systems have been specifically designed to keep the operator’s safety in check. This is done by increasing the system’s automation level, which in turn decreases the probability of human error, causing injury or harm.
Manually performing the Barkhausen noise measurement is a monotonous task. As it is well known, monotonous tasks have detrimental effects on human physical health. Depending on the sample, manual measurement might require difficult working positions. However, with some simple samples, manual measurements can be performed with good ergonomics and in some cases just small manual or semi-automated sample handling equipment is enough.
Automated Barkhausen noise systems are currently being developed with a focus on replacing mundane tasks. These types of tasks can be better handled by an automated system than a person, thus freeing up the person to do more important things.
When Barkhausen noise data is analyzed manually, it requires an operator who is familiar with the phenomenon. With automated measurements, data analysis can be forwarded to somebody else than the operator. The system can be configured with an alarm system that alerts when there are non-acceptable measurement results or it can even give a warning before the limits are exceeded.
Technical and industrial factors
Repeatability and accuracy
Barkhausen noise analysis is a sensitive method. Any contact between the sample and the sensor can impact the measurement data. Scanning a surface with a hand-held sensor is possible but requires an experienced and precise operator. The different kinds of manual or automated sensor fixtures and holders increase accuracy and decrease variation caused by the operator. Robotized systems with fully automated measurements provide the most repeatable and accurate results.
When automation level of the Barkhausen noise system increases, the following parameters can be optimized for minimal cycle time:
- Scanning speed
- Automated sample loading and unloading
- Automated sample clamping
- Automated measurement routes
- Measuring with multiple channels simultaneously
- Automated sensor change when different kinds of surfaces are measured, or simultaneous measurement of different kinds of surfaces
Minimum down time
Automated system can be programmed to monitor system condition and its maintenance needs. For example Barkhausen noise sensor’s master sample procedure can be automated to save time and predict any service needs. Automated sensor cleaning is a common feature in the automated systems.
Maximum sample variations with one system
With hand-held sensors it is possible to measure different kinds of samples. This is also possible with robotized systems where one system can be equipped with different kinds of Barkhausen noise sensors and sample handling options. Sensor changes can be automated, or sensors can be changed manually with quick coupling.