Tag Archives: surface cleanliness

  • New Paper Presented at ANTEC 2017

    by Emily Walsh May 2017

    Last week, BTG Labs exhibited and presented at ANTEC 2017. We were pleased to connect and exchange intelligence with leaders in the plastics industry.

    Our booth featured the Surface Analyst, which uses contact angle to measure surface cleanliness of a material. This monitors the surface preparation process and ensures readiness to bond, print, paint, coat, or seal which can be challenging on plastics. More and more, plastics manufacturers are turning to the Surface Analyst for guaranteeing their surface treatment and final product.

    Along with exhibiting, BTG Labs’ Chief Scientist Dr. Giles Dillingham presented the paper, “Rapid Evaluation of Surface Properties of Medical Tubing for Process Development and Quality Assurance.” The paper explains that the key to manufacturing high performance medical devices is understanding and controlling surface properties. Crucial characteristics of medical tubing such as wettability, adhesion, antithrombogenicity, and biocompatibility depend on only the top few molecular layers of a surface. Dr. Dillingham discusses research done with the Surface Analyst for highly sensitive surface measurements on medical tubing to control coating application. …Read More

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  • Roosevelt University, Image by Chicago Tribune

    Roosevelt University, a liberal arts college in the Loop of downtown Chicago perfectly contrasts antiquated and contemporary architecture. Roosevelt’s first venue, constructed in 1889 just in time for the World Fair, is 17 floors of beautiful Art Nouveau structure. The Auditorium Building encompasses ornate railings and scaffolding, topping off with a regal library and a lofty tower overlooking Grant Park. However, because of its age, the Auditorium Building demands constant attention and is inefficient in the frigid Chicago winters and hazy summers.

    Their new building, the Wabash Building, erected in 2012 is just the opposite. Its 32 towering floors of curved glass superintends the Auditorium Building, arriving amongst the structural giants of Chicago. Illustrating the epitome of modern design, this highly efficient, state of the art structure is LEED certified.

    When looking up at the two buildings, old charm vs new-age sleek, the phrase comes to mind: they just don’t make things like they used to. But, there’s necessity behind this. As the global population rises, infrastructure becomes denser, and resources become scarce, engineers concentrate on building smarter. Designing a building that spares no expense—in terms of efficiency in operation and manufacturing of these smarter materials—is pivotal. This all begins in the research and development lab and extends to the manufacturing floor. Materials and processes are developed to allow for more efficiency in both the production of materials and the final construction. Guaranteeing bonds will hold; paint, print, and coatings will stick; seals will persevere; and cleaning processes will clean effectively is crucial to manufacturing a product that will withstand stresses of any structure.

    That is why more and more manufacturers are turning to the Surface Analyst™. This hand-held instrument ensures any surface is ready for effective bonding, coating, cleaning, sealing, printing, or painting. The ability to verify and quantify critical surface processes on the manufacturing floor is the keystone to efficient manufacturing and smarter structures.

    A high-grade window manufacturer, for example, uses the Surface Analyst to verify plasma treatment on vinyl window frames prior to sealing. This guarantees the windows will efficiently heat or cool a structure while also withstanding the elements of rain, wind, and snow. …Read More

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  • BTG Labs will present new data on monitoring laser cleaning with Surface Analyst at ALAC (Advanced Laser Applications Conference) 2017. Taking place in Novi, Michigan from May 9-10, this show brings together the latest in advanced laser technology.

    BTG Labs’ Lead Sales Engineer Lucas Dillingham will present a paper entitled, “A New Technology to Develop, Monitor, and Validate Laser Cleaning Processes” at 10:00am on May 10. Verifying the effect of laser cleaning on metal surfaces has proved challenging, especially on the manufacturing floor. This paper showcases new data on using the Surface Analyst to monitor and optimize laser cleaning processes on metals. The Surface Analyst’s portability allows for its use directly on the manufacturing floor to objectively verify laser cleaning on every part. Knowing the quantitative outcome of a laser cleaning application allows optimization to produce a more reliable final product. The Surface Analyst is the ideal way to verify laser cleaning processes quantifiably and precisely right on the factory floor. …Read More

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  • Manufacturers are all too familiar with the challenges of getting a bond to stick and hold. The success of a bond relies on the surface created prior to that bond, so, monitoring and measuring surface processes is the only way to know that the surface is ready to bond reliably.

    BTG Labs’ President Tom McLean and Sales Engineer Lucas Dillingham presented during Plasmatreat’s Open House on the 4 Surface Fundamentals for Successful Bonding in Manufacturing. They presented to industry leaders who can easily relate to bonding and cleaning issues. The presentation was such a success that BTG Labs decided to turn it into a webinar.

    Challenges with establishing a strong, reliable bond, when painting, coating, sealing, or printing are tied into the surface preparation process and the ability to monitor that process. This presentation focuses on the bond surface and what it takes to bond properly to that surface. There is also a comparison of various cleaning methods using contact angles taken with the Surface Analyst.

    While other monitoring processes such as dyne and water break fail to provide quantitative insight, monitoring cleaning processes with the precise and quantitative Surface Analyst tells the user, objectively, whether the surface is properly prepared to hold a reliable bond. …Read More

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  • The Aerodef Manufacturing conference was held last week in Ft. Worth Texas. This event is a smaller regional manufacturing show focusing on aerospace and defense industries. The show typically features technical papers on a variety of topics, a small trade show floor, and a few receptions to allow for networking and socialization.

    This year BTG Labs presented a paper on surface controls in manufacturing. Our marketing partner Abaris Training Services, kindly shared their booth with us. During the show, I had the opportunity to meet a variety of current and potential customers, discussing ways to validate surface prep, cleaning, and surface condition. Since my interests cover all surface material related topics, there is always a lot to discuss! …Read More

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  • Spring Cleaning: BTG Labs Style

    by Emily Walsh March 2017

    It’s the first day of spring. Depending on where you live, this could mean opening the windows, planting seeds, rolling out the motorcycle, and waiting for Opening Day. Here at BTG Labs, we think of spring cleaning. Of course, this usually generates visions of humming vacuums and sloppy mops, but, we see whooshing parts washers and smooth solvent wipes. Why? Well, because our instrument, the Surface Analyst is a significant player in the cleaning game.

    The Surface Analyst is the keystone to verifying, troubleshooting, monitoring, and even choosing a cleaning process.

    A cleaning method is only as useful as it’s verification process. In under two seconds, the Surface Analyst measures water contact angle to determine surface cleanliness. The instrument can be programmed to produce a pass/fail result based on the manufacturer’s specifications. This is an easy, objective method that immediately assures the technician of the surface cleaning process.

    Furthermore the Surface Analyst can be used to choose the most efficient cleaning method and optimize existing cleaning methods. Sometimes a particular solvent is more effective than another or the water in a parts washer becomes dirty. The Surface Analyst helps detect these elements to ensure the process is running flawlessly.

    Lastly, the Surface Analyst helps manufacturers choose the best cleaning method for their manufacturing process. In most scenarios, the only way to test a cleaning process is in the field or the laboratory. This is time consuming and causes failures and waste. The Surface Analyst, on the other hand, tells the user right on the factory floor, whether or not the part has been properly cleaned to bond, print, seal, coat, or paint without out wasting time or material. …Read More

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  • Surface Analyst inspection points on an automotive oil pan.

    BTG Labs’ Chief Scientist Dr. Giles Dillingham recently presented at the 40th annual meeting of the Adhesion Society. An elected Fellow of the Adhesion Society, Dr. Dillingham has been contributing to this community since 1980.

    Giles’ presentation, “Control of Cleaning Processes to Maximize Sealant Performance,” focuses on quantifying parts washers and sealant processes. The importance of monitoring cleaning processes in preparation for sealing is becoming increasingly important in the automotive industry, as sealant processes such as such as FIPG (formed in-place gaskets) are replacing traditional fasteners. However, when sealing, the surface must be clean and clear of contaminants in order to guarantee the bond.

    As FIPG relies on properly made bonds, contaminants preventing the success of those bonds must be monitored and properly expelled. There is a wide range of assembly liquids that can interfere with the bond of FIPGs–cutting fluids, die lubes, corrosion inhibitors, as well as particulates generated from casting and machining. This paper shows the importance of quantifying parts washers in order to ensure the part is properly prepared to bond. An engine casing was cleaned in two different parts washers. After each wash, Surface Analyst measurements were taken across the engine casing. Figures within the paper show different measurements and the inconsistency throughout the casing from just one parts washer. Some areas showed low contact angle (indicating a successful wash) while others showed high contact angle (indicating an improper wash). …Read More

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  • The utilization of composites increases daily in manufacturing as more ways in which to use this advanced material are discovered. Composite is a smart material that provides a lighter weight and stronger product. This advanced material is being used in many different industries, from consumer products like bicycle frames to airplanes. Yet, because the strength is held in the fibrous matrix of the material, composites must be adhesively bonded together as traditional mechanical fasteners can break the fibers and compromise the material’s integrity.

    To guarantee these bonds, BTG Labs’ Surface Analyst™ precisely, accurately, and quantifiably measures the surface’s readiness to bond. BTG Labs’ experience in the field of composites reaches back to the genesis of the Surface Analyst when the USAF turned to the company to engineer a hand-held surface energy measurement device for composite bonding of aircraft. Since then, the Surface Analyst’s composite applications continue to increase and span into many more industries.

    Surface Analyst Applications Examples for Bonding, Coating, Sealing, and Painting Composites

    • Aerospace: satellites, aircraft, and spacecraft
    • Sports and Recreation: sporting equipment
    • Automotive: structural components, drive shafts, interior parts
    • Medical Device: prosthetics, repair equipment, tubing
    • Marine: structural frames and components, fiber glass applications
    • Renewable energy: wind turbines, fuel cells, marine turbines, power transmissions, solar panels
    • Construction: architectural, fiberglass, bridges, infrastructure, housing, refurbishing

    …Read More

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  • Medical Device Applications

    by Emily Walsh February 2017

    BTG Labs’ origins are in the research and development of adhesives and coatings, including the development of a corrosion resistant antimicrobial coating–often used in the medical device industry. The Surface Analyst is the ideal surface cleanliness gauge for the medical device industry in that it is completely non-destructive, precise, quantitative, and able to measure on various substrates including rough, convex, and concave surfaces. BTG Labs’ twenty plus years of expertise can assist in the optimization of medical device manufacturing processes to meet the highly-tailored specs of this industry to manufacture more reliable, fail resistant products.

    Monitor

    • Layers of silicone wafers prior to bonding
    • Sanding and solvent wiping on carbon fiber and titanium for prosthetics
    • And identify the presence of detrimental silicone in a bonding step
    • Flame treatment on medical devices including catheters
    • Plasma treatment on catheters prior to bonding luers
    • Surfaces preparations prior to solvent bonding

    Validate

    • Microbial lubricious coating and uniformity on catheters
    • Surface cleanliness of stainless, aluminum, titanium, and polymer devices
    • Sterilization methods such as ultra-sonic baths and vacuum plasma chambers
    • Audit concerns with shelf-life and uniformity of antimicrobial coatings …Read More
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  • Water break is a common test for surface cleanliness. It allows the user to test for the presence of hydrophobic contaminants, which can be detrimental to adhesion. It is usually considered non-destructive to the part because it uses only water.

    To perform a water break test in accordance with the ASTM-F22 Handbook, the material is dipped in water and withdrawn vertically. The behavior of that water on the surface reveals the surface energy which is determined by the cleanliness level. If the surface is clean it will show high surface energy and the water will spread out due to its attraction to the surface. This strongly correlates to adhesion ability. Water break is mostly used on metals to expose the presence of contaminants or after surface processes such as etching, anodizing, painting, priming, coating, grit-blasting, or sanding. However, these tests can be messy and sometimes can result in unintended contaminating due to impure water. The user must also allot a significant amount of time for the part to dry after the test. These tests require a trained user who can determine a “go” or “no go” result. This leads to subjectivity. Lastly, the test can lack sensitivity as a surface can visually appear clean, when it’s not.

    In contrast, the Surface Analyst™  is sensitive to the top 2-3 molecular layers of a surface. By using a single drop of highly purified water, there is virtually no mess and no threat to the measurement surface. Furthermore, it’s a small, handheld, user friendly instrument, that has the ability to measure on almost any surface or surface orientation, regardless of shape or roughness. The automatic calculation of contact angle removes operator subjectivity. The Surface Analyst measures on a cleanliness scale as opposed to a binary go/no go result. So measurements taken with the Surface Analyst can more closely map out a surface’s characteristics.

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