Category Archives: Industry Applications

  • Thanks to advancements in powertrain manufacturing, sealing processes have improved assembly efficiency. Formed-in-place gaskets (FIPG) are replacing traditional mechanical fasteners as they are more cost effective, stronger, and easier to apply. However, adhesive bonding rather than mechanically fastening presents different challenges and requires new protocols.

    Lead Sales Engineer Lucas Dillingham has presented “Defining Cleanliness in Powertrain Manufacturing for FIPG Applications,” at several events and automotive factories. BTG Labs works with numerous automotive manufacturers on surface chemical cleanliness and what it means for assembly.

    Traditional millipore tests reveal particulate contamination, but on a sealing surface, one must detect chemical contamination. To adhere successfully, surface cleanliness on a chemical level is vital.

    A byproduct of automotive manufacturing processes is contaminants that are detrimental to adhesion. Processes entailing unwanted contaminants include:

    • Die-casting
    • Machining
    • Washing
    • Assembly

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  • Home exhibiting Tesla solar roof. Image by Tesla.

    Last month, Elon Musk announced the availability of Tesla’s new solar roof. These solar roofs are made to masquerade as tasteful, modern shingles; their attractive panels offer roofs from sleek modern to French slate. The solar panels are hidden in a pane of glass which contains a hydrographic coloring–a process that uses water to apply printed designs– to provide texture.

    But, these shingles must not only look good, like all solar panels, they must be tough enough to withstand elemental threats.

    Wind, rain, snow, sun, extreme temperatures–these are all stresses to any structure, especially solar panels. Because solar panels serve as an energy source, there is no room for failure in the field. The bonds that keep them together such as bonds between dissimilar materials, bonds on low energy polymers, coatings, laminates, and seals, must withstand the stresses as well. That’s why solar panel manufacturers turn to the Surface Analyst.

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  • Every year for Memorial Day weekend, my family would pack up the station wagon and head to the lake. The weekend would be filled with red, white and blue, firing grills, festive picnic tables, and bathing suits. My mother would chide me to apply sunscreen before doing anything. And time after time, I would jump in the pool first. The sun screen could wait. I had been pining all winter for the water and some smelly, greasy paste wasn’t going to stop me.

    And then I would fry.

    I’ve since learned to appreciate the importance of sunscreen, but perhaps that is because it is much better than when I was younger. It’s less greasy and smelly, can withstand sweat and water, and better absorbs into the skin—thankfully preventing that touristy semblance.

    Skin care manufacturers work constantly to improve their brand. With a product that works so intimately with the human body and at times for important applications such as UV protection, failures are not acceptable. Yet, developing skin care products comes with challenges. Testing on artificial skin falls short of the real thing as skin types vary greatly. However, in-vivo testing is nearly impossible. …Read More

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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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

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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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  • 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.

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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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