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What is a Digital Height Gauge?

What is a Digital Height Gauge?

Posted by EMG Precision Ltd. on Nov 03, 2021

Engineering Measurement Digital Height Gauges

Digital Height Gauges are a staple of the modern engineering machine shop and in this article we will take a look at what digital height gauges how, what they are used for and how they can benefit your processes.

First Published: 03 November 2021

Author: EMG Precision Ltd. UK

Figure 1.0


We live in a wildly competitive world these days and businesses are striving continually to reduce their costs through efficiency improvements. Companies also fight to improve their reputations through the quality, consistency, and reliability of their products. In engineering industries where precision is key to a company and a products success it is critical that manufacturing processes can be continually verified through the flow of production.

There are, an almost limitless number of techniques and tools to help manufacturers ensure the correct levels of precision or right first time, depending on how a company measures its quality performance. This is an incredibly complex topic covering topics like how lean six sigma might fit into a company’s overall quality management system, to a Jidoka automation on a production line or simple go, no-go, jigs.

What we are going to look at in the article is the indispensable height gauge. It does pretty much exactly what it says on the tin and that it measures or gauges the height of something. To keep in line with the industry we are generally focussed on, we will discuss the height gauge as used by machinists and engineers. Height gauges are typically used while manufacturing and inspecting metal components and assemblies. The height gauge is also extremely useful in many other industries like wood working for instance.

In the rest of this article we discuss what digital height gauges are and how they differ from other types of height gauge. We will discuss how they are used and what they can be used for. We will try to highlight the main advantages and limitations of these instruments and just how they can help your business deliver high-quality products giving you an increasingly competitive advantage.

Close up of a Digital Height Gauge screen and  Position Feeder Wheel

Figure 1.1

Close up of an Industrial Height Gauge Base on a white background.

Figure 1.2

What is a Digital Height Gauge?

Digital Height Gauges are a modern version of the more traditional Vernier Height Gauge. There are other versions of the height gauge including very expensive ultra-precision types, gauges with dial readouts and counters, double-beam or double pole alternatives and a variety of options, upgrades or premium features. For now we will focus on the Digital Height Gauge.

This engineering measurement tool functions similarly in method to the digital calipers that we have covered in our article ‘Digital Vernier Calipers: How they work and why you should use them?’. The key difference is that the height gauge features its permanent datum point as the bottom of its base. A height gauge stands vertically and measures a distance from the bottom on the instruments base to a specified point chosen by the user and defined by the position of the scriber or foot. It is important to consider and acknowledge that the base datum is also represented by the surface of which it is used on. While using a height gauge you should consider how relatively flat the surface is over the measurement footprint that the height gauge is used across.

Figure 1.3

Figure 1.4

How to Use Digital Height Gauge to take measurements?

Before using a height measurement tool, preparation is key to the accuracy and reliability of any reading you take. All surfaces should be free from contaminants like dust, grease or grit. This include the parts to be measured, the base and parts of the height gauge and the surface in which it will be used on. Depending on your quality management system you may need consider the frequency of which you check the calibration of your device to ensure its readings are reliable. Depending on the accuracy you require, you may also have specialised measurement workstations that use a ultra-precision granite surface plates. You may also consider having climate control to ensure that all your measurements are taken at the same temperature for instance to ensure thermal changes is size are not a contributing factor.

Different types of height gauge use different methods for moving the measurement assembly up and down the scale column. Figure 1.3 above shows a digital height gauge that uses a hand wheel to wind the sliding scale up and down. Let’s assume that the user is winding down the scribe to approach the top of the 150mm ceramic with the intent to make a positive contact. In figure 1.4 you can see that the scribe has contacted the ceramic gauge block and is reading correctly at 150.00mm. This is fundamentally how a height gauge is used to take a measurement. Specific to electronic height gauges, the result of the measurement is displayed on an LCD screen as opposed to manually shown on a vernier scale.

What are the uses of a Digital Height Gauge?

There is a whole myriad of functions that a Height Measuring device can do in addition to scribing and measuring the height of a part. Some of the other alternatives uses are as follows…
  • Measuring and profiling flatness.
  • Measuring Angles.
  • Verifying the accuracy of center to center dimensions.
  • Measuring the straightness of a part of assembly.
  • Measuring perpendicularity.
  • 2D measurement of part and assembly features.
  • Scribing features from datum points to supply references for assembly or further machining operations.
  • Go-No-Go Gauge.
Close up of a height Gauge Scribe

Figure 1.5

What are the parts of a Digital Height Gauge?

A digital height gauge consists of a linear scale mounted on a pole or beam that is held vertically and fixed rigidly to a heavy and stable base. The heavy base has a precision ground flat base for accuracy and stability. A high quality height gauge is usually manufacture from high grade stainless steel and it is usual to be quite heavy. This is to make sure that there is a limited amount of flex that would create variability while taking measurements or scribing a part.

Digital gauge vertical beams are often marked with a basic metric and imperial scale, but the main method for obtaining the reading is through the digital screen. Most models offer the ability to switch between metric and imperial measurements with the touch of a button on the control panel. The control panel is part of the sliding element, and it holds all the electronics to read the digital scale on the vertical beam. Typical controls for digital height gauges are for conversions, on/off, zero and the ability to switch between incremental and absolute modes on premium models.

Some models include position locking levers or thumbscrews and improved features like fine adjustment giving the operator the ability to position the slider with very small movements. Some height gauges offering a data out cable option for exporting measurements to a computer system, display or database. Some higher end models also offer this wirelessly through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. There are a large number of scriber type attachments that can be used to attach various accessories like dial indicators or specialist measurement feet. A scribing foot often features a carbide insert to provide high resistance to wear and tear from scribing metal components.

Dasqua Range of Digital Height Gauges, Vernier Height Gauges & Double-Beam Video

2021-11-02 Upload Date.Dasqua 3130 Series Digital Height Gauge Water Proof Heavy Duty Height Measurement Tools EMG Precision Height Measurement Tools
Dasqua 3130 Series Digital Height Gauge Water Proof Heavy Duty Height Measurement Tools EMG Precisio

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