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Prices, Detailed Comparisons, And Links To The Competition

See NASA quote.
Prices & Part #s
Rugged Version

All other bolt gages are one-point bolt gages. SureBoltTM lets you use the whole echo for more reliability, accuracy, and ease of use. You can not fully appreciate SureBolt's reliability and ease of use until you see the competition's manual: StressTel Users Manual

SureBoltTM patented technology All Other Bolt Gages are "One-Point" bolt gages
Short term lease plans available with option to buy. 100% of lease can apply towards the purchase price.
DEMO units
(if available):  $18,500. Regular Purchase Price: $22,000: (These are US prices. Prices to other countries are higher and vary depending on taxes, regulations, and distributors.) SureBolt includes a $3000 Panasonic Toughbook Laptop, 1 year guarantee, Microsoft Office, 13.3 inch color touchscreen, full size keyboard, familiar Windows 2000/XP operating system, and much more.

New DSP patented technology allows dramatic improvement in reliability, precision, and ease of use.

SureBolt records enough data to prove whether each bolt was properly tightened.

Easily customizable: call for estimates.

Prices: $13,000 - $27,000 (two units as low as $13,000 to $15,000 without options). Peak-jumping errors, reliability problems.

Black & white 5 inch display, cryptic keys, cryptic operating system, ... (the $27,000 unit does have a color display) See links below.

Have never been widely used because of 4 factors: 
1. Peak-jumping
2. Much NDT training and experience required
3. Harder to use reliably.
4. When a bolted joint fails, you cannot prove you took a good measurement.

No custom applications without major development costs.

More reliability by using the patented whole echo, not just one point. All use just one point (zero crossing)
More precision by using the whole echo, not just one point. All use just one point (zero crossing)
Full color 13.3" Touchscreen display. 1024 x 768 XGA. Full size keyboard. Ruggedized computer technology.

Press to get full size (61kB++) picture. Toughbook_SureBolt.gif (24563 bytes)  

Panasonic Toughbook Model 72 configuration.

Black and white 3" to 6" display. Display is 4 to 13  times smaller (126 square inches versus 36 to 9 sq. in.). Only a few buttons with cryptic labels. Please go to the web links below to see for yourself. The competition asked us to remove their units' pictures. So we give you the text links.




Easy to use and learn. Requires far less training. Human minds remember graphics better than text. The steps to a good measurement become obvious and easily understandable. Far more training and re-training. Users must learn a whole new operating system, bolt gage terminology, ... etc. Unless the customer uses these one-point bolt gages weekly, they will not be able to use them properly without opening the manual. Cryptic terminology and cryptic steps. See one of their users manual: StressTel Manual
Far greater reliability. NASA used the SureBolt prototype on Space Station bolts that were impossible for other bolt gages. SureBolt proved to be reliable on all measurements and much more sensitive to tension and temperature changes. 

The new patented DSP technique proved to be more reliable on every test and every bolt. NASA was so amazed, that they asked if SureBolt could ...

With a lot of training and laboratory tests, NASA has used these "One-Point" bolt gages for years. NASA engineers take Polaroid pictures of the bolt echoes before and after tensioning. 

Yet, even on strong signal ET umbilical bolts, NASA throws away approximately one third of the measurements because they cannot be trusted. Yet, when NASA used the SureBolt prototype, none of the measurements had to be discarded.

Easily compare echoes. SureBolt records and displays your echo when there was zero tension in your bolt. The new tensioned echo is laid on top of this zero tensioned echo.  The zero tension echo is in one color and the tensioned echo is shifted in time and in a different color.  

Therefore it is easy to see for yourself, if you have moved the transducer (signal loss) and if the tensioned echo has distorted and how much. SB realtime, see echoes, minus bottom graph.gif (48823 bytes)Full size 52 Kbytes.

Many bolt gages do not show you any echo.  Some of the latest bolt gages try to show you a small portion of the echo on their tiny 5" B/W screens (like a small scope).  There are no visual comparisons to the zero tensioned echo.  

So how can you see or verify that the distortion is within limits? You have to rely on some other cryptic measurement. Distortion can cause "Peak Jumping" (20% to 60% error). Peak jumping has limited the usefulness of these "one-point" bolt gages for 20+ years.

Will work with weaker signals. Can be used on a greater variety of bolts. Must be able to get a strong signal. Therefore, will not work on some bolts.
Technical Note: 
All bolt gages must get an echo into a bolt. Lower frequencies couple to the bolt better. But, lower frequencies have more unreliability and less resolution for all other gages because they use a single "Zero-Crossing" (the slope is less).

SureBolt works even better with less damped and lower frequency transducers. SureBolt lets you take advantage of the greater signal strength and signal to noise ratios. No tradeoffs required.

All other bolt gages work better with higher frequency transducers that are highly damped. Therefore weaker signals. 

These higher frequencies make it harder to see the echo distortion, even if you use a Polaroid (like NASA did). 

Users have to sacrifice signal strength to get resolution. They have to make a tradeoff between frequency, damping, resolution, and signal distortion. See how this increases the experience and training required!

Graph your tension changes in real-time and in color. See multiple passes. See stability.
SB realtime, see tension graph, whole screen, medium quality.JPG (44947 bytes)Full size 60 Kbytes.
No color, no graphing capabilities. See StressTel Manual
Easy to enter notes, file names, special parameters, tension calibration constants, temperature, ... Small keypad with very limited choices.  Requires cryptic codes.  The user manual has to be read. Cryptic way to enter all the parameters necessary to take a tension reading.
Graphics, long labels, large screen, and on-line help let you quickly understand how ultrasonics work. No hidden information. The user must understand ultrasonic bolt gages before he can use one of these. The language is very cryptic because there is not enough room on a 4" to 6" B/W screen. 

Also there is not enough room to show all the needed real-time information on one screen. See StressTel Manual

Large on-screen buttons. Each button is large enough for a long label. Also there is on-line dynamic help for each button.  Their buttons are so small that the button labels can only be 8 to 10 characters long. And some buttons have a label that is very cryptic - you have to open the manual. No on-line help.
Each button does only one function. Full standard keyboard. Buttons have more than one function. Example: you must press 3 or more buttons, just to enter one ASCII character for a file name.
Familiar Windows XP/2000 operating system. Learn a new cryptic operating system.
Store each set of bolt files, with all your on-line notes, in their own test folders.  Files are Excel compatible. No notes. Cryptic file system.
See the whole echo train. This makes it easy for you to learn and show others how ultrasonics work. Too cryptic. No whole echo train capability.
Playback echoes and graph data. No playback capabilities.
When something goes wrong, what caused it? Prove to safety that you took a reliable tension reading. If the bolt breaks or comes loose, you have proof that your tension data was based on a non-distorted, or distorted echo (if your installer made a mistake)

Therefore it is easier for you to investigate what really caused the problem. 

You have no way to investigate the cause of the failure. You cannot prove to safety or your boss, you took a good measurement. If the bolt breaks, it may have been a good or distorted echo, but you have no way of proving it. 

Therefore it is harder for you to investigate errors.

Higher accuracy using less measurements. Easier to make these measurements. Built in bolt calibration calculations. See SureBolt's "Spare Parameter". You can use the "Spare parameter" to calculate your bolt's coefficients. Less accuracy. More measurements required. For improved measurements, the user needs to calculate the bolt parameters for each bolt. This requires measuring more bolt parameters than is really necessary (like the ultrasonic velocity for each bolt) or do the calculation by hand.
Use SureBolt to calculate and record bolt calibration parameters. Not available. Do this manually.
Hardware and user interface features use the familiar standardized PC technology. Updated multiple times per year. New features, options, ... etc. No regular system upgrades, no add-in software, no easy upgrade capabilities, ..., etc. 
You have no need to transfer data to another machine to do your reports with Excel. You can use Excel (comes already installed) to write your reports. 

You can use the floppy disc, Ethernet, USB, etc. to share you reports and backup your data.

You must install and learn how to use custom software on a remote PC to download the data files. 

No report capabilities. 

No floppy disc.

No hidden information. The screen and memory are large enough to let you see everything that is going on. Hidden information. You have to trust their cryptic distortion and signal strength indicators.
Simple equation on the screen lets you see how tension is derived.

(Echo change MINUS change due to temperature) TIMES Calibrated coefficient = Pounds tension

Two calibrated coefficients required (change in echo time due to tension and change in echo time due to temperature). Both are easily calibrated.

Read the manual on how the change in echo time is converted to a change in length, and then converted to a change in tension. See StressTel Manual

Three calibrated coefficients are required (change in ultrasonic velocity with tension, change in length with tension, and change in length with temperature).

Longer Life. SureBoltTM uses PC technology and industry standard interfaces. Therefore SureBoltTM is easy to repair and troubleshoot. Industry standard interfaces give SureBoltTM a long useful life. It will be easy to replace any failed components (PCMCIA card, CD bay, or laptop). Useful life limited to the manufacturer's limited resources. No hardware or software is based on an industry standard. Therefore more likely to have some parts that go obsolete. Therefore making future repairs more difficult (more expensive).
Vastly easier and more reliable. Enough data is recorded to prove your measurement was reliable.

One customer called up and said he wanted SureBolt because SureBolt was not "tweekable". He had employees who learned to trick the other gages to "read" the value they wanted. SureBolt records enough to catch this fraud. Like banks do not have to trust their low salary tellers to handle $300,000, because they have ways to catch this fraud.

Have never been widely used because of 5 factors: 
1. peak-jumping
2. more training and experience required
3. harder to use.
4. The operator got the bolt-gage to read the desired value, but how do you know it was a good measurement? You cannot verify the measurement.
5. Employees have been known to turn dials and knobs (lying to the boltgage about temp, ultrasonic velocity, ... etc.) to get the desired value, so they can go home.
Many more advantages. Many more weaknesses.


Purchase or lease SureBolt. Compare prices or contact us about the short term lease plans with options to buy.


An even more customized and more rugged version is available upon request. 

Tell us about your application. 

Send your email to with questions or  comments about how we can help. Contact us here, or type in the email address shown above (Due to spam, we have replaced the text email address, with the image email address shown above).
Note: We respect your privacy. We will NOT give your address to anyone, for any price!


The Standard Portable PC version. We are using a Panasonic Toughbook Model 72, with 13.3" TFT touchscreen, 256 MB RAM, as our standard configuration. SureBoltTM uses the CD bay and one PCMCIA type 2 slot. The user can remove both (CD cartridge and PCMCIA card) if the laptop needs to be used in a different configuration. 

Press for pricing comparison, SureBoltTM winXPv2.0.0

Again, the advantages to you are;

More reliability, reliability, reliability. No hidden information. Easier to use. Easier to learn. SureBolt records the whole echo for safety verification. Also, you will have a much shorter learning curve.  SureBoltTM uses the familiar Windows XP/2000 operating system.  Therefore you can easily;

bulletName your bolt files and put them into your named folders.  The name can contain a full description of your setup or test.  No need wondering which file contains which information.

bulletInclude your field notes.  SureBoltTM gives you a place to enter all of your field notes (or lab notes). These notes are stored with each tension measurement so you know exactly which note goes with which tension measurement.

bulletSureBoltTM  files are Excel compatible (tab delimited ASCII).  Excel is included with SureBoltTMGive your boss the final report or bolt tracking data in Excel's familiar format (graphs, custom calculations, ..., etc.).

bulletExcel compatible file includes all the parameters of each measurement.  Here is a list of some of the information available to you after you take your tension readings: Tension in lbs, microseconds of stretch, echo signal strength, equation used to convert usec to pounds tension, date and time of each tension measurement, field notes for each tension reading, exact echo region used, calibration data used, ..., etc.

bulletmuch, much more


Tell us about your application. 

Send mail to with questions or  comments about how we can help. Contact us here, or type in the email address shown above (Due to spam, we have replaced the text email address, with the image email address shown above).
Again: We respect your privacy. We will NOT give your address to anyone, for any price!


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Let us know how we can help you.

(800) 732-7832
Postal address
1022 Antelope Trail, Winter Springs, FL 32708, USA

Send your email to with questions or  comments about how we can help. Contact us here, or type in the email address shown above (Due to spam, we have replaced the text email address, with the image email address shown above).

Note: Privacy. We will NOT give your contact information to anyone.

 No more guessing as to which "one point" is the right point.


The FIRST whole echo method (patented DSP Technique).

SureBolt picture

Built into a 
Panasonic Toughbook

Weather proof keyboard.

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Last Modified: September 27, 2011