News + Science from the Engineers of the Surface Analyst

  • There’s nothing like arriving at the course on a fresh spring morning. The sun is low, casting long shadows across the green mounds, foggy rays bring hints of warmth, a fresh, dewy smell fills the air, and everything is the most vivid green of the year.

    It’s time to get out the bag, polish the clubs, and maybe replace the grips. The courses are meticulously manicured. The weather is warming. It’s spring and we’re in the midst of golf season.

    Whether it’s a tournament or a casual round with a buddy, relying on your equipment is reflexive. Although, mishaps do occur—grips slip, shafts bend, and balls lose their print—top  golf manufacturers use the Surface Analyst to produce a reliable product that will hold up all season long. …Read More

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  • Visit booth 220 or attend the presentation of Chief Scientist, Dr. Giles Dillingham.

    What is known as The Plastics Technology Conference, ANTEC (Annual Technical Conference) 2017 brings together diverse members of the plastics industry from around the world. Taking place in Anaheim, California May 8-10, ANTEC 2017 showcases the latest technologies and advancements in the plastics industry.

    Dr. Dillingham’s presentation, “Rapid Evaluation of Surface Properties of Medical Tubing for Process Development and Quality Assurance” explores methods of quality assurance testing on sensitive medical tubing. Significant properties of medical tubing–adhesion, wettability, antithrombogenicity, biocompatibility—allow for the ability to deliver fluids, gases, drain, and enter the body effectively. Yet, these properties depend on the top 2-3 molecular layers of the tube’s surface. This is why precise control of the surface is crucial for the success of medical tubing. But, this can be challenging. Laboratory techniques such a FTIR and XPS can reveal surface composition, however, these methods are not practical on the manufacturing floor.

    …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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  • A Beer with Giles Dillingham

    by Emily Walsh April 2017

    In 1987, Giles earned his PhD and moved to Midland, Michigan to begin laboratory work at Dow Chemical.

    The office of Giles Dillingham is unique, eclectic, and full of resources; very much like Giles Dillingham. The corner office is filled with books, antique tools, paintings by his beloved wife, family photos, and of course, a very nice stereo set-up.

    Giles, BTG Labs’ Founder and Chief Scientist, can often be found typing eagerly away at a report while listening to classical music, or seated at the Cherrywood table, collaborating with colleagues.

    One Friday evening, as the Cincinnati sun began to sink, I shared an end of the week beer with Giles in his lovely office to hear the origin story of BTG.

    Emily: So, Giles, you started BTG Labs. Where did it begin?

    Giles: Well, after I finished my PhD at the University of Cincinnati, I had a job waiting for me at Dow Chemical up in Midland, Michigan. And, I worked there for five years in a variety of assignments, mostly in polymer processing and surface properties. Central Research at Dow in the 90’s was an amazing place to work.  It was a very academic environment with amazing scientists from all fields. I spent most of my time in the laboratory. I learned and grew a whole lot.

    E: And, then what? …Read More

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  • BTG Labs is gearing up for Earth Day; after all, we proudly manufacture an instrument that is valuable in a variety of industries from aerospace, automotive, packaging, and even renewable energy. It’s also pretty eco-friendly.

    The Surface Analyst™ improves the manufacture of renewable energy equipment including solar panels, wind turbines, and electric cars. BTG Labs also works with start-up companies creating brand new technologies for renewable energy. The Surface Analyst measures water contact angle to ensure that surfaces are ready to bond and withstand environmental stresses without failing. Its precision, portability, and ease-of-use allows for its implementation on the manufacturing floor as well as in the field for repairs and maintenance.

    Technicians use it for repairs on wind turbines in the field; solar panel manufacturers value its precision when bonding dissimilar materials to withstand weathering; and electric car companies use it to guarantee paints, bonds, seals, and coatings will stick reliably. New applications for improving renewable energy manufacturing using the Surface Analyst reveal themselves constantly.

    Cleaner Manufacturing 

     

    The Surface Analyst also contributes to conservation in every manufacturing field. Because it offers manufacturers precision and is non-destructive, it cuts down significantly on waste material. The Surface Analyst replaces dyne inks which hold harsh chemicals—including teratogenic chemicals—that are hazardous to the user and the environment. Because of this, dyne cannot be used to test on the actual material and often requires a coupon of the material that has been cut off or specifically designated for testing, off the assembly line. Dyne is also highly subjective and leads to inconsistencies in manufacturing, causing rework and failures, which in turn, means more waste. On the other hand, the Surface Analyst uses highly purified water so it’s completely harmless to both the user, the part, and the environment. A win for both the manufacturer and the planet. …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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  • Image by Cincinnati Reds via Cincinnati Business Courier 

    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

    …Read More

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  • This week, BTG Labs will travel to Hayward, California to attend Plasmatreat’s Open House and Surface TechDays. As a partner of BTG Labs, Plasmatreat recruits the Surface Analyst to verify plasma treatments. We value chances like this to collaborate and offer customers complete surface treatment solutions.

    This event, which showcases Plasmatreat’s new R&D Center and Plasma Laboratories will also include Surface TechDays in which leaders from diverse industries will present and discuss the latest in surface technologies. BTG Lab’s President Tom McLean and Sales Engineer Lucas Dillingham will present on the “Four Critical Control Points for Managing Surface Performance” and how the Surface Analyst improves surface sensitive processes.

    BTG Labs sat down with Plasmatreat’s President and CEO, Andy Stecher to find out more about the upcoming event. …Read More

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  • 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

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