Magnetic pull-off gages are used to nondestructively measure the thickness of a nonmagnetic coating on ferrous substrates. Most coatings on steel and iron can be measured this way.
Magnetic pull-off gages use a permanent magnet, a calibrated spring, and a graduated scale. The attraction between the magnet and magnetic steel pulls the two together. As the coating thickness separating the two increases, it becomes easier to pull the magnet away. Coating thickness is determined by measuring this pull-off force. Thinner coatings will have stronger magnetic attraction while thicker films will have comparatively less magnetic attraction. Testing with magnetic gages is sensitive to surface roughness, curvature, substrate thickness, and the make up of the metal alloy.
By rotating the dial with a finger, a spring increases the force on a magnet and pulls it from the surface. These gages are easy to use and have a balanced arm that allows them to work in any position, independent of gravity. They are safe in explosive environments and are commonly used by painting contractors and small powder coating operations. Typical tolerance is ±5%.
Magnetic pull-off gages are rugged, simple, inexpensive, portable, and usually do not require any calibration adjustment. They are a good, low-cost alternative in situations where quality goals require only a few readings during production.