How to Measure the Thickness of Plastic Bottles

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The DeFelsko PosiTector UTG P precision wall thickness gauge uses proven ultrasonic technology to quickly and accurately measure the wall thickness of plastic bottles and other relatively thin plastics and metals.

Monitoring the wall thickness of plastic bottles is a key factor in ensuring consistent quality, controlling manufacturing material costs, and reducing the potential for defective products. Plastic bottles are ubiquitous and represent a steadily growing category of product container. Advantages of plastic bottles include being economical, flexible, and lightweight. Additionally, plastic is easily formed, allowing a distinctive bottle shape to act as a visual brand identifier.

Manufactured by a process of extrusion blow-moulding (EBM) from PET (polyethylene) and HDPE (high-density polyethylene), plastic bottles will vary in wall thickness, commonly measuring between 0.010” to 0.035” (0.25 mm to 0.89 mm) depending upon their intended use and the characteristics of the product they will contain.

ASTM E797 “Standard Practice for Measuring Thickness by Manual Ultrasonic Pulse-Echo Contact Method” details the method used to nondestructively measure the thickness of materials including plastic, steel, and glass. The typically uniform geometry of a plastic bottle is conducive to obtaining accurate and repeatable wall thickness readings with a precision pulse-echo ultrasonic instrument such as the PosiTector UTG P. The PosiTector UTG P utilizes a 15 MHz transducer and is designed specifically for measuring the thickness of relatively thin plastic and metal with an accuracy of ± 0.0004” (± 0.01 mm) and minimum plastic wall thickness of 0.005" (0.125 mm).  Additionally, the PosiTector UTG P detects the presence of a coating applied to a material and will automatically switch the operating mode between single- and multiple-echo, allowing the instrument to ignore the coating and report only the material thickness.

Generating professional plastic bottle thickness inspection reports from the PosiTector UTG P is quick and easy. Simply connect the gage to a computer using the supplied USB cable. View reports directly from the PosiTector using a standard web browser or download measurements to the powerful PosiSoft Desktop software. Easily add images, notes, and other relevant inspection information to reports. See the PosiSoft Solutions page to learn more.

Performing plastic bottle wall thickness inspection in accordance with ASTM E797 is essential to ensuring both quality control and minimizing waste. Areas that do not meet thickness requirements can rupture, resulting in lost product and costly clean-up. The PosiTector UTG P is an ideal choice for measuring the thickness of plastic bottles.

More information regarding the PosiTector UTG Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge is available on our PosiTector UTG page.

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