Category Archives: Film & Flexible Packaging
In some industries–including film and flexible packaging–dyne is the primary language. BTG Labs’ Surface Analyst uses water contact angle measurements as a fast easy, objective, and non-destructive alternative to dyne inks.
The main concern we hear from manufacturers is that both the suppliers and the customers speak dyne as their standard.
The answer is the Surface Analyst’s Dyne Mode. This unique feature takes the Surface Analyst’s default contact angle measurement and automatically converts the measurement into a dyne/cm readout, directly on the instrument. This mode allows manufacturers to maintain their investment in the dyne measurement language.
BTG Labs believes in dyne measurements, but not dyne inks. Manufacturers using dyne inks struggle with inaccuracy and subjectivity, leaving much room for error. Furthermore, because of dyne inks’ destructive nature, users can’t measure on the actual part. This leaves dyne inks virtually impossible for testing the part on the factory floor. …Read More
Last week, BTG Labs traveled to Las Vegas for the largest and most comprehensive packaging event in North America: PACK EXPO 2017. BTG Labs Sales Engineers met with leaders of the packaging industry to exchange the latest trends and advances.
The event gave BTG Labs a chance to visit existing customers and learn new applications in the industry.
BTG Labs Sales Engineer, Derrick Merrell was a first-time attendee and was highly impressed by the enormity of the show that included over 30,000 packaging professionals from more than 40 countries.
Sales Engineers Alex Bien and Paul McLean who have attended many PACK EXPO’s, explain that a lot of the major players are high end film and flexible packaging. BTG Labs plays major roles in these industries by optimizing surface critical processes from treatment to printing.
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
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.
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
Contrary to popular belief, print isn’t dead: at least not printed packaging, an industry growing to a worth of $8 billion of the $20 billion global print market.
The printed packaging market is booming. As with any growing industry, manufacturers must work vigorously to produce the best product and continue developing better ones.
Some of the newer developments include smarter surface processes. Que BTG Labs. When it comes to surface processes, we’re in our element. As experts in materials science, we have the ability to optimize critical surface processes for manufacturers—including printed packaging.
Any printing involves critical surface processes including supplier quality check, surface treatment, verification, shelf life, and trouble shooting.
The Surface Analyst improves these areas of printed packaging. This surface cleanliness gauge determines the quality of incoming product; sets or optimizes specifications; verifies surface treatments such as corona and flame; determines the shelf life of the material after treatment; and trouble shoots printing issues.
Plastics manufacturers are all too familiar with the challenges of bonding thermoplastics. Last week, BTG Labs successfully hosted a webinar with Plastics Technology to discuss improving bonding of thermoplastics. The webinar, entitled “Understanding Surface Energy: How to Measure and Control the Surface Properties of Thermoplastics to Maximize Adhesion,” brought in almost 400 registrants.
Presented byBTG Labs’ Chief Scientist Dr. Giles Dillingham who discussed the surface characteristics of thermoplastics. Dr. Dillingham also explored surface treatment processes such as flame, corona, and plasma, and ways to monitor and verify those processes. The ability to understand and measure the surface precisely is the key to successfully bonding thermoplastics.
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
It’s Opening Day in Cincinnati, Ohio! Now this isn’t just any season opener, Opening Day in Cincinnati is an unofficial city holiday. Downtown is painted red as people gather for the 98th Opening Day Parade and celebrations around town. Offices slow down and desks are empty in schools. Today, Cincinnatians are gearing up for the hometown Reds’ game against the Phillies. We don our red, grab our game day snacks, and pray for fair weather.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks
Food packaging and print industries often face the obstacle of adhering to low energy substrates such as polypropylene. Measuring the surface’s cleanliness prior to bonding or printing is the key to successful adhesion. The common method for measuring surface cleanliness, or surface energy on these materials is dyne inks. However, dyne is highly subjective and requires a skilled technician, and because of its destructive nature, dyne can only be used on a sample rather than an actual material on the assembly line. These downfalls often restrict the use of dyne inks.
This paper examines the relationship between surface energy and adhesion and how water contact angle provides an accurate and quantitative method for predicting adhesion. The results of this paper reveal that the Surface Analyst, a handheld water contact angle measurement instrument is an accurate and effective indicator of surface energy. …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.