Surface energy measurements have many obvious uses; however, some are not so straight forward. A manufacturer of high quality consumer paint containers who prides itself on meticulousness, desired to refine their existing surface energy measurement processes. The company required a faster and more repeatable way to quantifiably measure their surfaces on the factory floor.

A step in their production process entailed applying a barrier coating on the inside of their paint container lids and a portion of the can interior. This coating was applied as a protective barrier between the plastic or metal of the lid and the paint inside to prevent leaking, rusting, denting, and skinning. Skinning, an especially inhibiting condition happens when the paint comes in contact with an exposed, uncoated lid and dries. This dried paint has the potential to chip off into the rest of the container, causing contamination and compromising the paint’s adhesive ability.

The manufacturer was originally using a benchtop goniometer to verify the application of the coating on the lids. However, this presented complications, as the inside of the lid had a texture the goniometer couldn’t accurately measure. Furthermore, it’s size and immobility did not provide the answer for testing each container on the factory floor.

In an attempt to find a more productive and accessible method for measuring surface energy, an engineer from the manufacturer discovered BTG Labs and purchased an instrument. Once the Surface Analyst™ was brought in, the instrument presented a handheld, fast, easy, and accurate way in which to measure the surface energy of these lids. An uncoated lid produced a high contact angle of 80° while a properly coated lid showed a 40° contact angle. The manufacturer used this information to program pass/fail parameters in the Surface Analyst. This made measurements of the coating on the factory floor extremely objective and easy for operators.

The paint container manufacturer now boasts an easier and more efficient way to verify a crucial surface step in their manufacturing process.