The world of consumer goods is highly diverse so consequently, manufacturing processes are even more varied. From golf clubs to paints to windows to solar panels, consumer goods products face a variety of stresses in the field that can include moisture, impact, contaminants, and environmental stresses. Manufacturers must produce a product to withstand those stresses. BTG Labs’ Surface Analyst™ can do just that. It is a versatile, handheld, accurate, easy to use instrument that can cut down on failure and waste and ensure surfaces are properly prepared to create the strongest bonds whether its coating, printing, painting, sealing, or cleaning. The Surface Analyst measures, monitors, and guarantees from the lab to the factory floor.
A Sample of Surface Analyst Applications in the Consumer Goods Industry
- Flame and plasma treatment used in golf ball manufacturing
- Hydrophobic coatings like Teflon in appliance manufacturing
- Grit-blasting in metal surface preparation (used in products such as golf clubs)
- Metal cleaning prior to painting or bonding
- Hydrophilic coatings
- Resin laminates on surf boards
- Absorbency of skin care products on skins
- Conformal coating on consumer electronic circuit boards like cell phones
- Bonding of composite bicycles
- Surface of polymer window castings for bonding (these castings require perfect adhesion to maintain thermal efficient and longevity)
- Plasma treatment of window castings
- Flame treatment of appliances prior to painting or coating
- Bonding strength of adhesives and tapes
- Even coating of linings in products like paint cans
- Quality control of laser welding processes in appliance manufacturing
- Strong bonds on solar panels
- Development of paints
- Print on consumer goods packaging
Manufacturers implement surface preparation methods to optimize their bonding processes. But, the only way to verify those preparation processes is to implement a monitoring process.
A high-end golf club manufacturer had implemented a Surface Analyst in their R&D lab. Their goal was to develop a metal golf club head bonded to a composite cover. To hold this bond, the manufacturer pre-treated the metal with a grit-blaster. However, one day the surface cleanliness levels did not change like expected upon being treated with the grit-blaster.
BTG Labs came in and took measurements with the Surface Analyst themselves. The instrument was reading higher contact angles, meaning the surface was not being cleaned properly. Using BTG Labs’ Performance Verification Check Surface, the instrument’s integrity was confirmed. This prompted BTG Labs to ask, “Could it be the grit-blaster?”
The investigators went to another grit-blaster in the plant to treat the metal and to the manufacturer’s surprise the contact angle changed dramatically, indicating the surface had been cleaned properly. The first grit-blaster used turned out to have worn, or “dirty” media. Consequently, the process was unable to properly treat the metal surface and even deposited further contaminants on the surface. Without the Surface Analyst, this issue would have gone unnoticed until failure began. Not only did the Surface Analyst provide a way to verify the bond strength of the golf club, but it also was used as a way to monitor the cleanliness of their media in the grit-blaster.
The company was able to rectify this issue and move forward on designing a tough, strong golf club that could roll with the punches—or in this case, the swings.