The Surface Analyst Now has Countless Applications

What began as an application in the aerospace manufacturing industry is now stretching across numerous diverse industries from medical devices to automotive to consumer goods, and many others. The applications of the Surface Analyst™ continually present themselves in a variety of settings. As the importance of surface cleanliness and surface preparation is recognized and implemented more and more, the significance of monitoring surface energy in bonding, printing, painting, sealing, cleaning, or coating comes along with it.

From determining an automotive composite part’s readiness to bond to measuring cleanliness levels to meet highly regulated specs in medical device manufacturing, the Surface Analyst lends its expertise from the lab to the manufacturing floor.

While the endless applications of the Surface Analyst are constantly revealing themselves, here is a list of some of the most common applications. From verifying surface cleanliness levels, to verifying adhesion and surface preparation processes, the Surface Analyst possesses multifaceted applications.

Automotive

Car Engine BlockThe Surface Analyst boasts relationships with some of the world’s top automotive manufacturers. As an easy to use, hand-held device it can be implemented in a variety of applications right on the manufacturing floor.

  • Verify readiness of high performance specifications composite surfaces for bonding
  • Reveal contaminants on machined parts (machined parts can contain mold releases which are detrimental for bonding
  • Verify cleanliness of sealing surfaces in aluminum castings prior to bonding
  • Verify a polymer’s readiness to be painted or bonded
  • Validate high cleanliness levels required for FIPG (formed-in place gaskets)
  • Assist in the finishing of automotive interiors
  • Validate clean surfaces on engine block seals
  • Monitor and optimize the wash process for machined parts
  • Measure brake and rotor contamination and coatings
  • Verify appropriate flame treatment of TPO used in bumper fascias, door panels, etc.

 

Aerospace

Aircraft repairThe genesis of the Surface Analyst was within the aerospace engineering industry. As stronger and lightweight composites began to replace heavy metals, adhesive bonding was replacing mechanical fasteners. But ensuring the strength and success of that adhesive bond depends on properly preparing the composite surface. The Surface Analyst is the first hand held surface energy measurement device to accurately and precisely measure surface energy in the aerospace industry.

  • Verify surface cleanliness for composite adhesive bonding and repair
  • Verify successful adhesion of mechanical fasteners
  • Develop appropriate surface preparation processes
  • Monitor surface preparation processes such as solvent wiping, grit-blasting, pneumatic and hand sanding, and plasma treatment
  • Determine parameters for surface treatments
  • Monitor surface energy post surface treatments
  • Train mechanics in surface preparation
  • Monitor and quantify surface preparation to ensure consistency and repeatability
  • Troubleshoot bonding processes
  • Optimize laser cleaning processes

 

Medical Device

Urinary catheter, medical equipment used to drain the urinary bladder, isolated on white background

BTG Labs has origins in the research and development of adhesives including the development of a corrosion resistant antimicrobial coating–often used in the medical device industry. BTG Labs’ twenty plus years of expertise can assist in the optimization of medical device manufacturing to meet the highly tailored specs of this industry to manufacture more reliable, fail resistant products.

  • Verify surface cleanliness of stainless, aluminum, titanium, and polymer devices
  • Verify audit concerns with shelf-life and uniformity of antimicrobial coatings
  • Measure flame treatment on medical devices including catheters
  • Validate catheters for microbial lubricious coating and uniformity
  • Identify presence of detrimental silicone in a bonding step
  • Verify sterilization methods such as ultra sonic baths and vacuum plasma chambers

 

Electronics

electronics_chipsAs adhesives such as coating become more and more utilized in the electronics industry, the Surface Analyst can help ensure those coatings will properly adhere to the surface. An example is conformal coating. This coating, used on sensitive circuit boards to protect against moisture, temperature, contaminants, and other threats must be applied on an optimally clean surface.

  • Verify surface readiness for conformal coating in circuit board manufacturing
  • Measuring cleanliness levels of silicon wafers used in integrated circuits
  • Ensure coatings on composite conductive equipment
  • Inspections on glass used in cellular devices
  • Verify a circuit board’s readiness for polyamide over-molding

 

Industrial Printing

Transit printingIn the industrial printing industry, manufacturers must ensure their print can withstand environmental stresses such as temperature variation, moisture, and weathering. The success of these products often lies within the quality of their adhesive bonds and coatings. The Surface Analyst can measure surfaces to ensure they are at optimal surface cleanliness levels to create strong and resilient bonds.

  • Ensure polymer substrate’s readiness to bond, for billboards
  • Verify corona treatment prior to printing on a substrate
  • Validate surfaces on vehicles, trains, and billboards for printed advertisements
  • Develop optimum flame or corona treatment level
  • Confirming surface treatment level in production
  • Troubleshoot printing and sealing problems
  • Verify polymer surfaces readiness to bond
  • Validate surface’s readiness to be printed–for labels and such
  • Identifying treatment decay of film surfaces due to extended storage or storage under non-ideal conditions

 

Consumer Goods

Golf BallThe Surface Analyst’s countless applications reveal themselves in the diverse industry of consumer goods.

  • Validate the bonding surface of titanium and composite in golf clubs
  • Verify surface of polymer window castings for bonding (these castings require perfect adhesion to maintain thermal efficient and longevity)
  • Monitor flame and plasma treatment used in golf ball manufacturing
  • Verify surface readiness of golf ball surface to be printed on
  • Monitor coatings on golf balls
  • Verify plasma treatment of window castings
  • Develop exterior paints
  • Ensure even coating on paint can linings
  • Quality control of laser welding processes in appliance manufacturing
  • Monitor hydrophobic coatings like Teflon in appliance manufacturing
  • Monitor metal cleaning prior to paining or bonding

 

Packaging

Bottling PackagingWhen printing on packaging or assembling packaging material, the manufacturer must ensure the product’s resilience to withstand physical stresses and environmental stresses. The Surface Analyst’s precise contact angle measurement can determine whether or not a surface is ready to be printed or bonded and can verify surface preparation processes.

  • Development of optimum flame or corona treatment level; confirming treatment level in production
  • Troubleshoot printing and sealing problems
  • Identifying migration of low MW components to polymer surface
  • Identifying decay of treatment level due to extended storage or storage under non-ideal conditions
  • Print on PET and polyethylene bottle packaging
  • Monitor printing film on flexible packaging
  • Verify surface treatment on flexible packaging
  • Verify surface treatment on rigid packaging

 

Structural Glass

Structural glassThe Surface Analyst’s involvement in the glass industry is growing. With an offer of verifying coating processes, surface treatment processes and determining surface aging with the those processes. Knowing the surface energy of the glass prior to bonding and after cleaning can ensure that the bond will maintain integrity.

  • Developing cleaning processes
  • Verifying cleanliness in production
  • Validate cleaning processes such as ultra sonic baths
  • Identifying degraded (corroded) glass surfaces prior to application of AR coatings
  • Documenting glass cleanliness prior to shipment; verifying cleanliness upon receipt
  • Confirming cleanliness of architectural glass surface prior to installation to guarantee adhesion

 

Renewable Energy

Solar panelsBTG Labs Surface Analyst is continually revealing applications in the renewable energy industry. This equipment must withstand extreme environmental stresses and maintain reliability. Two ways to ensure this include meticulous manufacturing and field maintenance. The Surface Analyst can verify, on the factory, that surface preparation processes are accurate and surfaces are prepared to hold strong reliable bonds. Likewise, the Surface Analyst can be applied in the field to assist in bonded repairs.

  • Bonded field repair in wind turbines
  • Verification of bonding solar panels
  • Bonded field repair of solar panels
  • Verify surface treatments prior to bonding, coating, and sealing components in electric cars