Surface texturing is a process that gives textures to metal and plastic surfaces. Texturing not only makes products look high-class but also adds functions such as prevention of reflection and slipping. This section introduces observation and measurement examples of textured surfaces using digital microscopes.

Observation and Measurement of Textured Surfaces Using Digital Microscopes

What is a Texture?

A texture is a wrinkle pattern formed on a metal or plastic surface. Texturing can give various appearances, such as wood texture, leather texture, matte texture, and geometric patterns, in addition to simple irregular surface patterns.

Classifications and Purposes of Texturing

Design improvement

  • A high-class appearance is added.
  • Moulding defects, such as sink marks and weld lines, are made less noticeable.
  • Dirt and flaws are made less noticeable.

Improvement of functionality

  • Light is diffused, which prevents gloss.
  • Antiskid effects are added.
  • Close contact is prevented.
  • Moisture retention and water repellent effects are improved.

Texturing Types

Metal surfaces are either directly textured, or metal moulds are textured and that texture is transferred to products. Typical methods are introduced below.

Surface irregularities are formed by masking areas that should not be processed and applying an etchant (mordant) to areas to be processed. This method is typically used to form leather textures.
Fine abrasives are sprayed into metal mould cavities to form surface irregularities. The size of surface irregularities is controlled by changing the size of the abrasive and level of blasting force. This method is typically used to form matte textures.
Metal moulds are cut with small end mills to form surface irregularities.
Laser processing
Metal mould surfaces are engraved with a laser to form surface irregularities. Complex geometric patterns can be formed.

Observation and Measurement Examples of Textured Surfaces Using Digital Microscopes

These are the latest examples of observation and measurement of textured surfaces using KEYENCE’s VHX Series 4K Digital Microscope.

Observation of steering wheel texture
VHX-E100, 100×, ring illumination
Normal image

Optical Shadow Effect Mode image

Optical Shadow Effect Mode can be used to visualise irregularities.

Optical Shadow Effect Mode
Colour Map image
Height differences can be displayed in different colours on Colour Map images.

Observation of car seat surface texture

ZS-20, 20×, ring illumination + multi-lighting

Normal image
Multi-lighting image
The optimal lighting conditions can be selected using the multi-lighting function.

Observation of an instrument panel texture (white)

VH-Z20, 200×, ring illumination + HDR

Left: HDR + Depth composition image Right: Normal image
Even white textures can be clearly observed using the HDR function and depth composition.

3D profile measurement of a textured surface

VH-Z20, 200×, ring illumination

Texture shapes can be analysed with 3D profile measurement.

Automatic area measurement of a textured surface using a 3D image

VH-Z20, 200×, ring illumination

3D images in which height differences are displayed in different colours can be analysed using the automatic area measurement function, which allows for measurement of the height distribution ratio. Texture distribution used to be unmeasurable, but now it is possible to analyse prototypes and control quality.