The COVID-19 pandemic has brought cleaning to the forefront for many manufacturers. Specifically, sanitizing measurement & test equipment.
Stop cleaning your measurement & test equipment.
We have seen many pieces of measurement & test equipment damaged due to improper cleaning. In an effort to sanitize gages you may actually be destroying them.
How should you clean your measurement & test equipment?
First and foremost; Read the owners manual. It is common practice to use denatured alcohol to clean equipment and this is NOT always the best choice.
Starrett provides a very useful guide called Tools & Rules for Precision Measuring.
Care of Tools
"Precision measuring tools should be handled with the greatest of care. Good tools will stand a lifetime of use, but the accuracy of even the finest tool can be quickly impaired by careless treatment.
Avoid scratches or nicks that obscure graduations or distort contact surfaces. Tools should be wiped clean of fingerprints after use and kept in separate boxes or cases. A high grade instrument oil should be regularly applied to precision tools to lubricate their mating parts. Starrett Tool and Instrument Oil is an extra fine lubricant used in our own factory to lubricate and protect Starrett tools in production. Starrett M1® Lubricant prevents rust and corrosion. It leaves a micro-thin, air-tight coating that provides lasting protection on exterior surfaces."
"Caring for your micrometer requires little effort and pays off in long, accurate life. Be sure to check your micrometer periodically for accuracy, making adjustments as required. An occasional drop of Starrett Precision Instrument Oil on spindle and spindle threads also assures free running performance. Always wipe off your micrometer before putting it away – never use an air hose as this is apt to force dirt and grit into spindle threads."
Mitutoyo offers a Quick Guide to Precision Measuring Instruments.
General notes on use of caliper
"Maintenance of beam sliding surfaces and measuring faces Wipe away dust and dirt from the sliding surfaces and measuring faces with a dry soft cloth before using the caliper. "
Cleaning is, therefore, an essential yet difficult task. Unfortunately, when comparing most published cleaning recommendations, you will discover that they contain several inconsistencies. In this pocket guide, we want to suggest ways to help you clean your various optical devices, and thus significantly improve the accuracy and repeatability of your lightwave measurements.
Keysight specifically states:
What do I need for proper cleaning?
Standard Cleaning Equipment
Before you can start your cleaning procedure you need the following standard equipment:
• Dust and shutter caps
• Isopropyl alcohol
• Cotton swabs
• Soft tissues
• Pipe cleaner
• Compressed air
Each type of gage and manufacturer has specific recommendations for cleaning their equipment.
READ YOUR OWNER'S MANUAL
We have seen significant damage to measurement & test equipment due to the use of improper cleaning materials in an effort to sanitize equipment.