The process of manufacturing efficient and high-performance industrial pumps involves a series of inspections and tests, both before and after assembly.  This series of tests is essential to verify that the production processes have been carried out according to the manufacturing criteria and the required standards. It is essential to bear in mind that, during their operation, pumps are normally exposed to numerous factors such as:

Mechanical stress.
Hydraulic loads.
Thermal variations.
Environmental factors.

Therefore, the manufacturer must ensure that the pumps are ready to deal with all these factors to ensure efficient and reliable performance, even in worst case scenarios.

Non-destructive testing for industrial pumps

Non-destructive testing is a great way to verify if the pumps being manufactured are ready to operate efficiently and reliably.

Some common non-destructive tests performed on pumps include:

Ultrasonic tests

Ultrasonic tests are a great way to verify the performance of different areas of the pumps. Common areas tested with ultrasound technology include:

  • Material thickness
  • Material hardness
  • Material cracks and other discontinuities
  • Corrosion
  • Integrity of welds

It is clear that verifying the performance of the areas mentioned above is essential during and after the production of the pumps to guarantee proper operation.

This type of tests can be performed with tools such as:

  1. Ultrasonic thickness gauges
  2. Ultrasonic hardness testers
  3. Ultrasonic flaw detectors
Ultrasonic hardness tester

In photo: Ultrasonic hardness tester SAMA Tools

Magnetic particle detection

These types of tests can be performed by measuring instruments such as our ultrasonic thickness gauges, ultrasonic hardness testers or ultrasonic flaw detectors.

As the name suggests, this type of non-destructive test uses the magnetic particle method for the detection of possible flaws on the surface or at sub-surface levels of the materials.

This test is particularly useful to verify the integrity of welded areas and casting parts, and helps to identify cracks and other defects before the pump goes into operation.

Tools such as our AC/DC magnetic detector and our digital gaussmeter can be of great help when performing magnetic particle tests on pumps.

AC/DC magnetic detector and our digital gaussmeter

In photo: AC/DC magnetic detector and our digital gaussmeter SAMA Tools

Dye penetrant testing

This is a test to verify the integrity of materials. It takes advantage of highly capillary liquids that are used to reveal possible defects and discontinuities on the material. This helps identify problems in welds, and other critical areas in the pumps.

Some penetrating liquids we offer include:

  • Fluorescent penetrant spray
  • White penetrant spray
  • Red penetrant spray

These are three important non-destructive tests that are recommended to guarantee that pumps are ready to withstand the factors mentioned above, especially those related to the operation of machines, such as mechanical and hydraulic loads.

Nevertheless, there is another important aspect to verify during production, as well as after some time, when maintenance is required.

Read on as we explain further.

Penetrant spray

In photo: Penetrant spray SAMA Tools

Coatings that protect against corrosion and other environmental factors.

Industrial pumps that are exposed to the environment, especially under tough conditions, require special protection to guarantee operation without failure.

A common practice is the application of special coatings to protect against corrosion and other environmental effects. To achieve the required coating protection, both the surface of the materials being coated and the coating applied need to comply with certain requirements.

Some examples of these requirements are:

  • Adequate surface roughness
  • Proper adherence of the coating
  • Correct coating thickness
  • Expected coating elasticity
  • Specific hardness and abrasion resistance

To verify compliance with these requirements, some tests and measurements must be carried out. Some of the required tools include:

In addition, pumps must be designed to very tight tolerances and the require high-precision manufacturing processes to operate as efficiently as possible.  Furthermore, these tolerances must be maintained throughout their lifespan. However, thermal variations from operation or from exposure to the environment in different seasons may affect the dimensions of the different parts, thus deviating from the tolerance ranges.

A good way to ensure the parts of the pump are within the tolerance range, and to identify if thermal variations are having an impact, is by verifying their dimensions.

However, for some parts, dimensional verifications may require special measuring instruments. But any manufacturer striving for excellence knows the investment is worth it. And this is the case for several of our customers  that work in this sector.


quality control

Photo by

Other tests to produce high-performance industrial pumps

There are also special measuring instruments that help the customers guarantee that the dimensions of the different parts of the pumps and pressure units comply with their standards.

Among the most popular tools, there are the outdoor micrometers with exchangeable anvils and carbide tipped measuring faces  – SAX101

With these instruments, even the largest parts of the pumps, including the external coverings, can be measured, while ensuring compliance with tolerances down to 0.01 mm.

Failure to comply with dimensional tolerances could result in a reduction in the efficiency and/or reliability of the products, and can lead to several consequences such as:

Customer dissatisfaction
Negative feedback about the company
Reduced profitability

To ensure high quality pumps and avoid unwanted problems, it’s crucial to implement effective quality control (QC) and quality assurance (QA) processes by using the right tools.

Fortunately, you can rely on the SAMA Tools name-brand to provide you with a wide range of mechanical measuring instruments, such as outdoor micrometers, calipers and dial gauges, as well as a variety of non-destructive testing tools.

Our mission is to support our customers in their commitment to quality control, and for this we are dedicated every day to offer first-class solutions.

If you need assistance in choosing measuring instruments or if you would like specific advice regarding your unique situation, do not hesitate to contact our technical department.

You can call us at 05843923420584392453 or write to


Ultrasonic thickness measurement or simply UTM is essential in many industries, especially those where the materials are exposed to harsh environmental conditions that may lead to wear and damage due to corrosion and erosion.

What is ultrasonic thickness measurement?

Ultrasonic measurement is a common non-destructive technique used to measure the thickness of a part in detail.

This means that the integrity of the part is not affected in the process. Another important aspect is that it is possible to obtain results by measuring only one side with the help of a probe. In other words, it is not necessary to complicate the measuring process like having to go inside a metal vessel.   Measuring from the outside will do.

Why is ultrasonic thickness measurement essential in many industries?

Ultrasonic thickness measurement can be applied to many different components and structures, and it provides a simple way to detect different problems. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Material loss due to corrosion and erosion.
  • Structural and welding problems on ships hulls and other components.
  • Damage resulting from splitting materials.
  • Defects on the surface finish of a finished product.

It is also a great way to control the quality of metal sheets and coated materials, which can be useful for manufacturers to validate the products received from their suppliers.


Ultrasonic thickness measurement SA8812

How to measure ultrasonic thickness?

The instrument used to measure thickness with this technique is commonly called an ultrasonic thickness gauge.

Operating an ultrasonic gauge consists of accurately measuring the time it takes for an ultrasound pulse generated by an ultrasonic transducer, known as the probe, to pass through the thickness of the sample, which gets reflected on the opposite surface, and finally returns to the probe.

After the time is measured the ultrasonic thickness gauge performs the calculation of the thickness of the material and displays the result on the digital screen, integrated within the instrument.

The calculation is performed by means of the following mathematical expression:

T = (V) x (t/2)
T = the thickness measured
V = the velocity of sound in the test material
t = the measured time

At this point, it is important to highlight that the velocity of the sound waves significantly varies from one material to the other, so it is important to calibrate the ultrasonic thickness gauge for the material being measured.

Fortunately, modern instruments like our Precision Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge – SAUT160 and Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge – SA8812 make this calibration very easy and able to measure the thickness on a wide range of materials such as:

  • Steel
  • Cast iron
  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Brass
  • Zinc
  • Quartz glass
  • Polyethylene
  • PVC
  • Gray cast iron
  • Spheroidal iron

Another important aspect of how ultrasonic thickness measurement is performed is the fact that some instruments require the material to be free of any coating, painting and residues such as rust caused by corrosion. This makes measuring thickness difficult in certain situations.

However, for these types of applications where the material in question has an existing coating, we offer the Through Coating Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge – SAUT310D-SW and the Graphic Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge – SAUT500D-SW:   two ultrasonic gauges that are capable to measure sample thickness excluding the coating over metallic substrates.

Ultrasonic thickness measurement SAUT160

What are the applications of ultrasonic thickness measurement?

As described above, ultrasonic thickness measurement is essential in many industries. Some of the sectors that commonly perform ultrasonic thickness measurement include, but are not limited to:

  • Oil and gas
  • Energy generation
  • Structural contractors
  • Foundries
  • Aerospace
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Food processing

Ultrasonic thickness measurement is generally used for quality control activities and maintenance inspections to detect corrosion on the workpiece.

Nevertheless, more specific applications are:

  • Wall thickness loss detection on piping, which require on-line and in-operation ultrasonic measurement. Different types of corrosion, and erosion due to flowing liquids and air bubbles can cause this material loss that may result in pipe failure, costly shutdowns and industrial accidents.
  • Nautical and maritime maintenance, like in the case of bulkheads, tanks, ship hulls, etc. The ultrasonic gauges capable of measuring through coating mentioned above are particularly useful for this application.  A specific thickness gauge model which is suitable for measuring materials such as fiberglass is the Fiberglass Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge.

Fiberglass is widely used in the boat manufacturing industry for recreational and work crafts.


Ultrasonic thickness gauge naval field

Graphic ultrasonic thickness gauge

  • The pressurized containers field, including fire extinguishers, gas tanks, industrial boilers and others. Again, the ultrasonic gauges capable of measuring through coating mentioned above are particularly useful for this application.
  • Lighting columns, also known as poles, are often exposed to harsh environmental conditions, water splashes from cars passing by and condensation on the swage joint. To avoid structural collapse, authorities are required to perform ultrasonic thickness measurements in a regular basis.
  • Tank trucks, especially those carrying toxic chemicals or flammable liquids such as gasoline, must go under regular inspections with ultrasonic thickness gauges since they are constantly subject to corrosion and erosion, and any structural damage may result in a terrible accident.
  • Maintenance inspections on bridges, especially those with metal structures which are exposed, in order the evaluate their structural strength.

How to select an ultrasonic thickness gauge?

Acquiring an ultrasonic thickness gauge should not be a challenge, and it only requires knowing the specific application required to make the right choice. Anyways, there are different aspects that require consideration when selecting the right ultrasonic thickness gauge.

The most relevant are:

  • The type of material or materials that will be inspected.
  • Whether inspections will take place on-line or in a quality control (QC) laboratory.
  • Whether through coating measurement is required or not.
  • The possible need for measuring samples with very small wall thickness values that require higher accuracy and higher resolutions.
  • The need for a graphic display and special functions for the highest professional levels.

No matter what the application, we have an ultrasonic thickness gauge for each of the aspects mentioned above. If you want to check the ultrasonic thickness measuring instruments we offer, just click here, or, if you prefer, you can contact us on Direct Industry.

However, if you are not yet sure or have any doubts about measuring thickness with an ultrasonic instrument, we recommend you contact us and one of our experts will gladly help you.

Based on the name “ultrasonic instruments”, it is clear that these are devices that use ultrasound to perform their function. So, to be able to answer the question “what are ultrasonic instruments?” , one should begin by describing what ultrasound is.

What is ultrasound?

Ultrasound makes reference to the principle of using sound waves at very high frequencies, usually higher than those the humans can hear. This means that ultrasound applies frequencies higher than 20 kilohertz with operating values reaching up to the gigahertz ranges depending on the ultrasonic instrument.
The word ultrasound is commonly heard in the health sector, where ultrasound imaging is commonplace.
Yet, when it comes to the engineering field, ultrasonic instruments are used for different purposes, such as non-destructive testing, measurement and quality control.

Ultrasonic instruments for non-destructive testing

Some ultrasonic instruments are used for non-destructive testing in order to identify and verify mechanical features while keeping the integrity of the part tested.
This type of ultrasonic instruments is especially useful for finished parts or products. They allow you to identify and test aspects such as:

  • Flaws on the surface finish which may not be visible to the eye.
  • Hardness of the material.
  • Pipe fractures that may lead to leakage.
  • Other invisible flaws.

Ultrasonic instruments - saut500

Using ultrasonic instruments for non-destructive testing provides you with a series of advantages, for example:

  • Both internal and external flaws can be detected.
  • Both volumetric and crack like flaws can be detected no matter their orientation
  • Some instruments take the exact same time to test pieces with different thickness.
  • The radiation risk present with the radiography method of testing is eliminated.

Among the most common ultrasonic instruments used for non-destructive testing, we offer:

Reference standards for non-destructive testing

Non-destructive testing is regulated by different standards which determine the verification methods to be applied according to the material, the thickness of the metal, the type of joint, etc.

S.A.M.A. Italia is associated with UNI Ente italiano di Normazione:

Being a Member allows you to participate personally in the definition of the rules, helping to define the rules of your sector of reference rather than subject them.

UNI allows members and not to consult the reference standards at any time, purchasing them online.

Italian Association of Non-Destructive Tests

AIPnD has been present in Italy since 1979.  It’s a scientific, cultural and professional organization and it’s among the first and most important in the world in its sector.

Its members belong to institutes, research centers, organizations, schools, professional firms, instrumentation manufacturers and companies that provide PnD services.

The association is based in Brescia, Italy and promotes scientific and technical knowledge.  It’s also involved in the technological development of non-destructive tests as well as enhancing the profession of those working in the sector.

Ultrasonic intruments - saut310d-sw

Ultrasonic instruments for measurement

Another group of ultrasonic instruments is formed by those used to measure parameters such as the thickness of a material or a coating with high precision.
This group uses a measuring method called “Ultrasonic Thickness Measurement” or UTM. Therefore, they are usually known as ultrasonic measuring gauges.
Ultrasonic measuring gauges are capable of measuring the thickness by using a probe that generates an ultrasound pulse and sends it through the thickness of the part being measured.
Then, the instrument calculates the thickness by a calculation that considers the time needed for that ultrasound pulse to go through, get reflected by the opposite surface of the piece and return to the probe.
With the values obtained by the instrument, it is possible to identify and verify:

  • Thickness of the material for possible wear.
  • Corrosion on the material.
  • Possibility of splitting material.
  • Accurate coating thickness.

Considered part of the non-destructive testing tools, ultrasonic instruments for measurement offer a variety of benefits, such as:

  • Not damaging the measured sample.
  • Access to both sides of the sample is not required.
  • High precision achieved.
  • Do not require laboratory like conditions to work.
  • These instruments are cheap compared to other alternatives.

Some ultrasonic measurement instruments that you can get with us include:

Watch the video we made on the graphic thickness gauge

Ultrasonic instruments for quality control

Both non-destructive testing and measurements are used to compare results with what is expected. If results match the specifications of the part or the product tested, it can be concluded that the part has the quality desired.
It is then obvious that ultrasonic instruments are an important asset for quality control. Most ultrasonic instruments provide information which is essential for quality assurance, such as:

  • Roughness measure and control.
  • Wall thickness.
  • Coating thickness.
  • Color and gloss differences measure.
  • Hardness of the material.

Therefore, benefits for the quality control department include all the benefits mentioned above, plus the fact that some of these instruments can be applied directly in the production line without the need of taking samples to a laboratory.
Also, all the ultrasonic instruments mentioned above are useful for quality control activities, but we have more. Other instruments we offer and can come in handy for quality control are:

  • Portable surface roughness testers.
  • External probe surface roughness testers.
  • Integrated probe digital coating thickness gauges.
  • External probe digital coating thickness gauges.

And this is just a small list.

ultrasonic instruments sa8825fn

What materials can be tested?

At this point, you should already known what are ultrasonic instruments, how they work and their main applications.
However, it is also important to understand which are the materials that make ultrasonic instruments the right choice.
Fortunately, these instruments work with a wide range of materials, especially if they are high-quality instruments.
For example, our precision ultrasonic thickness gauge – SAUT160 can measure the thickness of ultrasonic conducting materials such as:

  • Steel
  • Cast Iron
  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Brass
  • Zinc
  • Quartz Glass
  • Polyethylene
  • PVC
  • Gray Cast Iron
  • Spheroidal Iron

8 Articles on ultrasonic instruments for further information

Are you interested in learning more about this topic?

We have selected these themed articles for you:

1.  Ultrasonic Thickness Measurement: definitive guide
2.  Coating Thickness Measurement
3.  Graphic Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge – SAUT6100D-SW
4.  Sheet Metal Manufactoring and Quality Control
5.  Industrial Pumps: What checks do you need to do for high performance?
6.  Quality Control of the Coating on Commercial Vessels and Mega Yachts: MCR Marine
7.  Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge: the case of Progetto PSC S.r.l
8.  Gloss vs Brightness: What’s the difference?

Final thoughts

It is clear that a short and accurate answer for the question “what are ultrasonic instruments?” could be “powerful measuring and testing tools”.

The fact that these instruments are capable of providing essential information to improve the quality of products and processes makes them a must have for any company, that takes their business seriously.

Keep in mind that ultrasonic instruments are not only for quality control, some of them are also very useful on the field to perform maintenance inspections on tanks, metal sheets, pipelines, under pressure containers, bulkheads, and other equipment where corrosion and other defects may be present.

If you are interested in acquiring any of our ultrasonic instruments, or you have any inquiries about these and any other of our products or services, do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to help you.