Videos & webinars

How to Measure Coating and Paint Thickness with the PosiTector 6000

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Video Transcript

Coating thickness is arguably the single most important measurement made during application and inspection of protective coatings as it affects the appearance and performance of the coating. Color, gloss, adhesion, impact resistance, and other factors are all affected by coating thickness.

The PosiTector 6000 is the simple, durable, and accurate solution for measuring coating thickness on all metal substrates.

PosiTector inspection instruments are comprised of two components: a gage body and probe.

The PosiTector gage body is available in either Standard or Advanced models. Visit to learn more or watch the PosiTector video linked below.

The new PosiTector gage body is compatible with all PosiTector probes manufactured since 2012, quickly transforming from a coating thickness gage, to a dew point meter, a surface profile gage, gloss meter, and more.

PosiTector 6000 coating thickness probes are designed to take fast, accurate measurements in industrial environments. Our most popular probes feature v-grooves and chamfered sides for measuring on concave or convex parts, knurled grips, and durable cables. Ruby or alumina probe tips eliminate wear—meaning that the factory calibration is maintained throughout the lifetime of the probe. Whether out of the box or after years of use, the PosiTector 6000 paint thickness gage will continually provide accurate results throughout the entire measurement range.

Using both magnetic induction and eddy current principles to measure, the PosiTector 6000 accurately measures on non-magnetic coatings on ferrous metals (such as steel), and non-conductive coatings on non-ferrous metals (such as aluminum, copper, and some grades of stainless steel).

DeFelsko manufactures over 25 PosiTector 6000 coating thickness probe models for measuring nearly any application.

Integral probes are ideal for one handed operation, while cabled probes make it easy to access awkward areas, are fully waterproof, and can be extended up to 75 meters or 200 feet.

Microprobes are designed for measuring small parts, hard-to-reach areas, or edges and are available in either zero, forty-five, ninety degree, and ninety degree extended configurations.

Higher range probes are available for thicker coatings, with models available for measuring up to 63mm or 2.5in of coating thickness.

Specialty probes are also available, for measuring rough or hot coatings, and for simultaneously measuring zinc and paint thicknesses in duplex coating systems.  

View all of the PosiTector 6000 probe models at A helpful link to the ordering guide PDF is included in the description.

The PosiTector 6000 is ruggedized for industrial use and includes advanced functionality like memory, statistics, scanning, and powerful reporting software.

Taking a dry film thickness measurement with the PosiTector 6000 is simple. Standards such as ASTM D7091, ISO 19840, and SSPC-PA2 describe the following four operational steps for all coating thickness gages: calibrate, verify, adjust, and measure.

• Step 1: Calibration. Calibration is performed by DeFelsko or an accredited laboratory, and involves taking measurements on traceable standards throughout the range of the probe under controlled conditions. The result is a long-form certificate of calibration, which is included at no charge with every PosiTector 6000.

• Step 2: Verification. Verification is typically performed at the beginning of a work shift, if the instrument has been dropped, or if erroneous readings are suspected. It ensures that the PosiTector 6000 is measuring accurately at the time of use.

Power the gage on with the center navigation button. Hold the instrument near the probe by the outer shell or probe casing—not the cable.

Simply take measurements on certified coating thickness standards and ensure that the instrument is measuring within the combined tolerance of both the standard and instrument.

• Step 3: Adjustment. Adjustment is required when conditions differ from the smooth, flat, thick substrates coating thickness gages are calibrated on. Check zero on the uncoated substrate. If the instrument measures within tolerance at zero, the instrument is measuring accurately.

If not, typically due to substrate mass, composition, or geometry—simply perform a zero adjustment. To perform a Zero Adjustment with the PosiTector 6000, select “Cal Settings” from the menu, then, “Zero”. Take one or more measurements by following the on-screen prompt. When completed, verify that the instrument measures within tolerance of zero.

Adjusting for surface profile presents a special challenge. The accepted industry practice is to measure coating thickness over the ‘peaks’ of the profile, while profiling methods result in an effective magnetic surface that is somewhere between the 'peaks' and 'valleys'.

To adjust for surface profile, a 1-point adjustment is required. Choose one of the included shims that is near the expected coating thickness, and place it on the uncoated, blasted substrate. The instrument will typically read higher than the thickness of the shim, reflecting the difference between the magnetic surface and the peaks of the profile. Select “Cal Settings”, then “1 Pt Adjustment”. Choose the number of readings and then measure over the shim following the on-screen prompts. The measurement average will be displayed. Use the “plus” or “minus” buttons to adjust to the thickness of the shim. When completed, verify that the instrument measures within tolerance of the shim thickness.

If the curvature, substrate thickness, geometry, or blast profile changes significantly while measuring, it is important to check the adjustment by checking zero or measuring the thickness of the shim on the bare substrate.

If access to the uncoated substrate is not possible, or if measuring in accordance with ISO 19840, correction values can be used to make a “Zero Offset” adjustment. Select “Cal Settings”, then “Zero Offset” and select from either “Fine”—.40 mils (10 μm), “Medium”—1 mil (25 μm), or “Coarse”—1.55 mils (40 μm).

• Step 4: Measure. The PosiTector 6000 is now ready to measure. A single reading should seldom be trusted whether you are making a thickness determination or adjusting to a shim. Repeated gage readings, even at points close together, often differ due to surface irregularities in the coating and substrate.

For the most meaningful results, it is recommended to take an average of several readings. When memory mode is enabled by selecting “New Batch” in the “Memory” menu, the PosiTector 6000 displays live statistics including average, standard deviation, and min/max while also storing readings for download. On Advanced models, press the “Up” key to view a live graph of the readings while they are being taken.

To reset statistics or create a new batch, press the plus button. To ignore the previous reading, press the minus button.

If live statistics are desired without saving readings, enable statistics mode from the menu.

Scan modes can be used to quickly collect measurement data by continuously taking measurements, and can be used with any PosiTector 6000 probe when connected to an Advanced gage body. Learn how to take up to 180+ readings per minute in the “How to Take Scanning DFT Measurements with the PosiTector 6000” video. Find the link in the description.

Prompted Batches can be used to quickly assess DFT on repetitive jobs or when specific measurement locations are required. Easily create and store multiple templates for different jobs and access measurement data in PosiSoft Desktop. View our, “Prompted Batch mode with the PosiTector 6000” video to learn more.

Input Devices such as barcode scanners and Bluetooth keyboards can be paired with the PosiTector 6000, allowing for easy batch and reading annotations. Include important information such as part numbers and notes in reports to streamline workflows. Watch the, “Using Input Devices with the PosiTector Gage Body” video to learn more."

PosiTector 6000 Advanced Gages also feature several modes for conforming to standards, including SSPC-PA 2, ISO 19840, and IMO PSPC 90/10. These modes help users conform to those standards by prompting for specifications, displaying the necessary readings, automatically calculating statistics with a pass/fail result, and compiling it all into detailed reports. Learn more about how the PosiTector 6000 makes conforming to standards easy at the links in the description.

Once measurements have been saved, PosiSoft software makes it easy to manage data from multiple probes and create professional, custom reports. Simply connect the USB cable or join the same WiFi network as your computer, import your readings, and quickly save a PDF report. Learn more about PosiSoft Software in the, “How to use PosiSoft Software for Better Coating Inspection” video.

The PosiTector 6000 coating thickness gage for all metals is the simple, durable, and accurate solution for DFT measurement. Backed by DeFelsko’s renowned quality, customer service, and exceptional two-year warranty, the PosiTector 6000 is the ideal choice for coating thickness measurement.