Companies in the vehicle painting and coating industry rely on gloss meters for quality control and specific measurements that would be impossible with the naked eye. When vehicles are designed, part of that design includes how the paint will appear when the vehicle leaves the assembly line. The gloss meter allows for the creation of a specific level of gloss across all the vehicles in a given line.
Most vehicles today are coated with a gloss finish, which not only looks nice but acts as a protector against damage from heat, intense cold and other natural elements. But customers don't buy protection as much as they buy the way the vehicle looks. Instrumentation that helps manufacturers and refinishers of automobiles create beautiful, attractive finishes see these meters as high-tech sales tools.
Another use for gloss meters in the industries we're talking about is, they help inspectors detect poor quality paint. Incorrectly cured paint can result in unusual - and unacceptable - gloss levels on the body of a vehicle. This defective paint, later in the vehicle manufacturing process, can chip and flake. What does this technology mean for manufacturers? It means a way to prevent a huge re-coating effort and possibly a financially ruinous recall of vehicles.
Gloss meters perform their functions by measuring specular reflection. This type of reflection is related to the ratio of incident light and reflected light. It's the foundation determining the standards and measurement of gloss values. The meters must adhere to international standards, which cover how the instruments are to work as well as a long list of technical specifications.
Some gloss meters are small, portable devices that allow for multiple measuring angles of 20°, 60° and 85° that meet ISO, ASTM, DIN, BS and JIS norms. These meters may feature just two operational keys that let the technician access calibration, language, statistics, measurement and language settings. Additionally, the powerful memory of these instruments allow for the storage of and statistical calculations on as many as 999 measurements.
Less expensive models used in the auto painting and coating industries provide just one measuring angle - 60°. This model is an ideal gloss meter when a single function repeated over and over is all that's called for.
Most people don't realize the extent to which vehicle manufacturers and re-finishers go to create products with standard and consistent finishes. Before gloss meter technology was available, the best they could hope for was that someone in the company had a good-enough set of eyes to monitor how finishes were being turned out. Now, a simple handheld device does all the work.
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