In our ongoing informational series on gauging tapes, we previously discussed the difference between Innage and Outage tapes and how they are used. Another FAQ we have gotten is “What are the different blade styles available, and what are they used for?”
We have 4 different styles of gauging tape blades: Plated, Double Duty, Black Etched, and Etched Stainless Steel. They each have unique properties that make them better suited to use for measuring particular oils, gas, and other liquids.
Let’s start with a look at the coating used on the Plated, Double Duty, and Black Etched blades. Our recently formulated coating offers substantial resistance to petroleum products and some of the harsh chemicals found in the oil, gas, and industrial environments where these tapes are used. We perform rub tests on our blades to ensure that gasoline, crude oil, fuel oil, etc. will not remove the protective coating. There are also abrasion tests that are performed, but it should be understood that sand, grit, and other abrasives can shorten the life of the coating and blade. Substances left on the blade for long periods of storage, or storage in a wet environment can also destroy the blade. Exotic chemicals, acids, bases, or a mixture of chemicals may or may not affect the outer coating. We do test some unusual substances on our blades, but it is not possible to test for every chemical or scenario that might affect the performance of the blades.
So, what about the blades themselves? What are they made of? Why use one over the other? Here we go:
Plated blades are made of .011” thick steel which has been plated with Chrome Nickel. They measure about .013” to .014” thick after plating and coating. Plated oil gauge tape measures are designed to be used with petroleum products such as gasoline, crude oil, and fuel oil. Since the plated blades are light metal color, they are easier to read when measuring a darker oil or liquid such as heavy diesel, LVGO, HGVO, and light lube oils.
Double Duty blades are also known as Chrome/Nubian. These are plated blades, but have the extra feature of a black stripe along one edge. This makes them suitable for the same liquids as regular plated, but they are also able to be used to measure clear or lighter colored liquids and distillates such as jet fuel, kerosene, and light diesel.
Black Etched oil gauge tape measure blades have a black finish and markings and numbers that are etched into (not printed on) the surface of the steel. The etched markings and numbers are less likely to wear off due to abrasion, and the black background makes it easier to see light color liquids. Black Etched blades are approximately .008” thick and have a protective coating like the Plated and Double Duty blades.
Etched Stainless Steel blades have no coating and are approximately .007” thick. The numbers and markings are etched into the blade so are less likely to be worn away by abrasive material. The composition of the blade material is a 400 series, heat-treated stainless steel. This material is not as strong (tensile strength) as the carbon plated steel blade. However, being more inert than the plated/coated blades, stainless blades are able to withstand more caustic or wet environments and can be used for almost all liquids. This type of stainless does have a small amount of carbon and iron in it (for heat-treating) so it will tarnish or stain with water, and has a small attraction to a magnet. Stainless Steel gauging tapes can be used in the food industry as they won’t contaminate the substance being measured.
Hopefully this has given you some useful information to help guide customers who are not sure which type of gauging tape style to purchase. We have oil gauge tape measure blades in lengths from 18’ to 100’, and measuring scales in 8ths, 10ths, 16ths, and English/Metric. You can refer to our two websites www.ustape.com and www.oilgaugingtapes.com for images and product information, or send us your questions via the ‘Contact Us’ pages on our sites.
Stay tuned and we’ll keep adding to the knowledge base about our oil gauging tapes and accessories.