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TeraCota – Terahertz Coating thickness analysis

A Non-Contact, Multi-Layer Coating & Paint Thickness Sensor with Scanning Capability.

Designed for the coatings industry, the TeraCota 2000 sensor can determine the individual thickness of multiple paint layers on both metallic and non-metallic substrates and offers significant benefits over existing techniques.

The sensor is non-contact, suitable for working on curved surfaces and capable of performing horizontal and vertical line scans.

Based on terahertz technology, the sensor represents a significant leap beyond the current method of measurement for quality and process control in automotive paint application, and also provides significant economic and environmental benefits.

Unit Sensor

Production Features
  • Non-contact – no couplant required; operates on flat and curved surfaces, including windshield flanges.
  • High accuracy reporting of film thickness.
  • Both hand-held and fully automated options are available.
  • Self-calibrating without the expense and time of sending samples to a third party.
  • Suitable for wet-on-wet preparations.
  • Industrialized form factor; designed for the automotive manufacturing environment.
  • Can be integrated with plant IT systems and existing robotic hardware.
  • Non-interpretive; automatic layer thickness calculation without operator input.
  • Linescans provide greater information on paint distribution.
Application Areas

Paint Systems

Application Types Liquid and powder coatings | wet-on-wet preparations | tri-coats
Basecoats Solid | Pearlescent | Metallic (independent of hiding power)
Substrates Metallic (steel, aluminium, etc.) | non-metallic (plastic, carbon fibre, etc.)

Measurable Surfaces

Curvature Operates on both flat and curved surfaces
Accessible areas Recessed areas, including window flange
Temperature range From ambient to 150 °C (post bake)
Comparison Table

Technical Specification

Measurement

Thickness Accuracy* 1.5 µm
Minimum Thickness* 5 µm
Sampled Area Spot size of 1-2 mm
Measurement Time Typically 2-4 seconds per point (acquisition plus analysis)
Sensor Positioning Working distance to painted surface of 50 mm (± 0.75 mm)
Handheld option provides real-time positional feedback
Robot-mounted version requires angular positioning to within ±1° of normal incidence
* typical values; dependent on individual paint type and properties

Environmental

Dimensions (L×W×H) Sensor head: 20 × 15 × 16.8 cm | Core unit: 63.6 × 60 × 160 cm
Approx. weight Sensor head: 1.6 kg | Core unit: 150 kg (for handheld version)
Extension Sensor-core separation of up to 10 m
Communications Ethernet connection to fixed IP address on internal PC
Power requirements 110 / 220 V, 20 A line power, earthed, via standard 3-pin connection
Operating temperature 18 °C (64 °F) – 30 °C (86 °F)
Operating humidity 20 – 80%, non-condensing

Watch TeraView discuss the development of the TeraCota system.

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