Category Archives: Industry Applications

  • Parts washers play an integral role in manufacturing, especially on machined parts and bonding surfaces. Prior to coating, sealing, painting, and welding, parts washers help remove contaminants generated from fabrication to facilitate stronger bonds.

    But, for a reliable bond to form, the surface must not only be free of particles, it must also be chemically clean. Thus, quantifying and analyzing parts washer effectiveness in removing chemicals is the key to ensuring the desired surface is achieved.

    The importance of monitoring cleaning processes in preparation for bonding is becoming increasingly necessary as sealing processes are rapidly replacing traditional mechanical fasteners and gaskets.

    However, when sealing, the surface must be clean and clear of contaminants to guarantee the bond. The Surface Analyst monitors and optimizes washer systems to ensure the part comes out chemically clean and ready to hold a reliable bond. …Read More

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  • Print Isn’t Dead

    by Emily Walsh August 2017

    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.

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  • Teflon is a household name that commonly invokes images of eggs sizzling on a skillet, spatulas flipping pancakes, or rice steaming in a pan.

    But, there is much more to this magical non-stick coating.

    Teflon, a brand name for PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), prohibits food from sticking to pots and pans because of its hydrophobic properties.

    As a low-energy, fluorocarbon solid neither water nor water containing substances can influence the surface. This means that nothing will stick to the surface or penetrate it.

    Today, Teflon has improved culinary pursuits and made cooking more accessible, but that isn’t the only field PTFE has influenced.

    The medical device industry would not be what it is today without PTFE. As medical devices work intimately with the human body, they must be completely sanitary, inert, and harmless.

    With its lubriciousness and impenetrable properties, PTFE is used to coat a variety of medical devices such as catheters, surgical equipment, balloons, bladders, and implants.

    But, PTFE only works when the coating itself sticks to the surface. This requires proper surface preparation which can be challenging in any manufacturing floor. It’s especially difficult in medical device manufacturing as specifications are so high and there is no room for failure.    …Read More

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  • 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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