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Dec. 18, 2013

IMS Now Offers U.S.-Made X-ray Gauges
 
Germany-based IMS Systems Inc. has completed the $3.5 million expansion of its U.S. manufacturing facility near Pittsburgh and is now offering its XR X-ray thickness gauge to flat-roll processors in North America.

The startup of manufacturing in the 9,500-square-foot addition to the Mars, Pa., facility marks the first time in the company’s 33-year history that IMS has made gauges outside of Germany. Because of production efficiencies and the currency advantage, IMS will be able to offer domestically produced gauges at a much reduced cost, says IMS Sales Engineer Vince Meneice.

The gauge is designed for service centers operating slitting, cut-to-length, multiblanking and tension leveling lines. It is also suited for cold mill applications such as temper and reversing mills. The noncontact device calculates the thickness of ferrous and nonferrous sheets by measuring how much of the X-ray radiation is absorbed and how much passes through the material.

X-ray gauges offer a number of advantages over commonly used isotope gauges, Meneice claims. X-ray is safer and easier to handle. When the power is turned off, the X-ray gauge no longer emits any radiation. An isotope gauge using naturally radioactive elements is hot all the time and must be handled carefully by certified technicians using Nuclear Regulatory Commission guidelines.

The IMS XR gauge is designed to measure steel from 0.004 to 0.315 inch; stainless from 0.004 to 0.256 inch; aluminum from 0.004 to 0.394 inch; and copper from 0.004 to 0.158 inch, with 99.9 percent accuracy.

“This gauge is safer and more accurate than an isotope gauge and its gives service centers the ability to use X-ray technology at a comparable cost,” Meneice says.

IMS Systems also plans to begin offering a new flatness gauge made in the U.S. by the end of first-quarter 2014.

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