Category Archives: Aerospace

  • Performing any kind of inspection on small parts can be difficult. When measuring for surface cleanliness, accessing small parts can be even more challenging, especially when measuring on the factory floor.

    With the Surface Analyst, measuring surface cleanliness on small parts has never been easier. This handheld instrument is fast, easy, accurate, and non-subjective allowing for precise measurements, right on the factory floor.

    With specialized measurement heads and a tether to allow access to small parts, manufacturers can verify surface readiness to bond, paint, clean, coat, print, or seal. The Surface Analyst optimizes manufacturing, repairs, and maintenance. …Read More

  • BTG Lab’s recently held another successful webinar. Hosted by Products Finishing and presented by Dr. Giles Dillingham, the webinar emphasized the importance of monitoring cleaning processes and explored different ways to measure surface cleanliness.

    In the webinar, Dr. Dillingham discusses measuring surface cleanliness as a way to quantify cleaning processes. By measuring the success of cleaning processes, manufacturers can determine the ideal solution for their application.

    Precisely evaluating cleaning processes with water contact angle is a fast, easy, accurate, quantitative to way to gain ensure consistency and precision on the factory floor.

    …Read More

  • Challenges often arise when verifying critical surface processes on the factory floor when measuring hard to reach areas and varying angles. The Surface Analyst conquers those challenges with the unique ability to measure on vertical surfaces, which include assembled parts and hard to reach spots. This allows for easier surface analysis on the factory floor.

    This ability is possible because of patented Ballistic Deposition which deposits a pulsed stream of micro droplets with enough kinetic energy to overcome surface roughness and textures.

    A few examples of the Surface Analyst’s ability to measure on vertical surfaces on the factory floor:

    • Airplane wings prior to bonding, painting, and repair
    • Canopy of jet fighters after cleaning
    • Wind turbine blades prior to bonded repair
    • Silkscreen bottles post flame treatment
    • Ship hulls prior to painting and bonding
    • Interior of automobile headlights prior to application of anti-fog coating
    • Windshield bond lines prior to sealing
    • Class A paint surface for decals applications and reapplications
    • Measuring appliances after metal cleaning and prior to power coating

    …Read More

  • BTG Labs Presenting at AA&S 2017

    by Emily Walsh May 2017

    Top aerospace manufactures recruit state-of-the-art equipment to ensure precision and perfection. One thing the best of the best have in common: the Surface Analyst. BTG Labs first engineered the Surface Analyst through an SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) grant to collaborate with the USAF (United States Air Force). Born out of necessity, the instrument was engineered to verify a surface’s readiness to adhesively bond fasteners.

    Today, the Surface Analyst is written into Lockheed Martin specifications for fighter jet manufacturing; it played a major role in the development of the F-35; and its expertise is trusted on all factory floors of top aerospace manufacturers.

    While the Surface Analyst use has spilled outside of the aerospace box, BTG Labs remains closely tied in the aerospace industry and that is why you will find us at AA&S 2017. Taking place May 22-25 in Phoenix, Arizona, The Aircraft Airworthiness and Sustainment Conference attracts leaders of the aerospace industry from around the world.

    …Read More

  • 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

  • Surface Analyst Inspection on Engine Casing

    Manufacturers working with metal are all too familiar with the obstacles that come along with coating, painting, bonding, printing, or sealing it. While the uses of metal in manufacturing are countless and exist in numerous industries, the common denominator is ensuring the appropriate surface cleanliness prior to surface critical processes to guarantee successful adhesion. Common surface cleanliness gauges—dyne inks and water break—are subjective and do not offer quantitative results. Water break can be messy and time consuming and dyne is destructive to the part and dangerous to the user. While these methods can offer some insight into surface cleanliness, they are less than ideal.

    BTG Labs Surface Analyst is a fast, easy, accurate, and non-destructive surface cleanliness gauge that tells the user right on the manufacturing floor how prepared the surface is to bond. This hand-held instrument improves surface processes and guarantees a bond will stick. Numerous manufacturers in industries such as consumer goods, automotive, and aerospace, have implemented the Surface Analyst in their specifications to improve their critical metal surface processes. …Read More

  • BTG Labs to Present at CMH-17

    by Emily Walsh March 2017

    This week, BTG Labs will attend the CMH-17 PMC Coordination Meeting in conjunction with ASTM D-30 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The purpose of this gathering is to present and collaborate on the latest in composite advances and standards and contribute to document updates.

    CMH-17, the Composite Materials Handbook, is the go to reference and guide for aerospace manufacturers who adhesively bond composite parts. It features standard, vetted composite technologies as well as standardization for data collection and analysis of composite processes. BTG Labs maintains a strong connection with CMH-17 by presenting at working group meetings and contributing to content.

    This year, BTG Labs’ Chief Scientist Dr. Giles Dillingham and Research and Development Engineer Tim Barry will attend the March meeting to collaborate and present.

    Dr. Dillingham and Barry will present BTG Labs’ work to a joint meeting of ASTM committees D30 and D14.80.01 on adhesives and composites. This presentation intends to create a new standard based on BTG Labs’ Surface Analyst™, a handheld instrument which measures water contact angle in 2 seconds to ensure bonding. The proposed standard especially focuses on the instrument’s unique abilities to deposit water drops via patented Ballistic Deposition technology and image drops from above to determine the contact angle.

    …Read More

  • This week, BTG Labs’ Chief Scientist Dr. Giles Dillingham will be co-hosting a booth and presenting a 3-hour long workshop with BTG Labs’ valued partner, Louis (Lou) Dorworth, Direct Services Manager at Abaris Training Resources, Inc.

    Louis C. (Lou) Dorworth Division Mgr.-Direct Services Abaris Training Resources, Inc. Reno, Nevada – USA

    As a specialist in the field of advanced composite materials and processes since 1978, Lou offers extensive information that he uses to educate the composite industry. His experience includes research and development, materials and process engineering, tool engineering/design, and tool fabrication.

    BTG Labs sat down with Louis to discuss his expectations for AeroDef 2017.

    What do you think about the latest in composite technology? What’s standing out?

    Composite technology is changing at a rapid pace as process methodologies and applications broaden across all industries.  Nano-fortified polymers and composites show much promise for enhancing structural properties in both adhesives and laminate structures.

    What can attendees expect to leave with after your workshop with Dr. Giles Dillingham?

    Attendees can expect to learn the key methods and techniques to achieving robust and durable adhesively bonded joints in composite structures.  They will have a much better understanding of both the practical and scientific factors that contribute to a successful adhesive bond.

    What are some issues faced by users when attempting to bond or repair composites?

    The primary issues involve controlling and verifying the integrity of the prepared composite surface, the environmental conditions that exist where the bonding takes place, the control of the adhesives so that they are not exposed to adverse conditions, and achieving a proper cure in the adhesive. …Read More


  • 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

  • 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.