Paradigm shift in roughness measurement - Confovis opens the door to new measuring dimensions

The new ConfoGate CGM-100 optical portal system of confovis GmbH ( allows standardized roughness measurements for the first time in measuring times comparable with tactile measuring systems. It is designed for rapid optical quality inspection in the automotive, aerospace, toolmaking and mechanical engineering industries. The high measurement speed is achieved by area-wide geometric capture. This delivers comprehensive surface data of greater diagnostic value than tactile linear data.

While confocal optical instruments can capture and measure surfaces down to the nanometre range, standards-compliant roughness measurements have so far been reserved to tactile measuring equipment. The reason for this was the small image field and long measuring times of optical instruments. The innovation of the ConfoGate CGM-100 has now radically changed the range of applications of confocal measuring equipment.

Users now have a measuring portal with an image field of 2.5 x 2.0 mm that creates a precise microstructure analysis of up to 4.0 x 2.0 mm with two image stacks in 20 seconds. Normal systems need about 15 separate images to cover the 4 mm required by DIN 4287 and 4288 – at an image field size of only 0.45 x 0.33 mm. With the ConfoGate CGM-100, there is no need for the lengthy process of capturing and stitching together separate images. Measurement results are ready in much shorter time. This makes error analysis faster and reduces the number of rejects.

“If the analysis of earlier measuring systems are like looking through a keyhole, then with the new ConfoGate CGM-100 we have pushed the whole door wide open,” explains Frank Thielert, CEO of confovis GmbH, the importance of the new technology for roughness measurement in quality control.

The industrial use of confocal optical instruments is made possible by confovis’ patented technology based on "structured lighting". Unlike conventional confocal microscopy, there are no rotating pinhole discs or other moving mechanical parts like scanner mirrors involved in the scanning process. That makes the new ConfoGate CGM-100 accordingly vibration-resistant and low-maintenance.

The process is also reliable for highly reflective samples. Users in the automotive, aerospace, mechanical engineering and toolmaking industries benefit from significantly greater measurement certainty and data quality in standardized roughness measurements. Built compactly and robustly, the portal delivers perfect measurement results even in close proximity to ongoing production. The axial resolution of the new measuring system is 30 nm; lateral resolution is ≤ 1 nm.

Depending on the application, a precise microstructural analysis of a surface up to 4.0 x 2.0 mm can be created in around 20 seconds. The ConfoGate CGM-100 thereby combines speed with precision and is far superior to tactile equipment in terms of significance of its 3D measurements.

This story is reprinted from material from Confovis GmbH, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.