Category Archives: Automotive

  • 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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  • 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

    …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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  • 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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  • The utilization of composites increases daily in manufacturing as more ways in which to use this advanced material are discovered. Composite is a smart material that provides a lighter weight and stronger product. This advanced material is being used in many different industries, from consumer products like bicycle frames to airplanes. Yet, because the strength is held in the fibrous matrix of the material, composites must be adhesively bonded together as traditional mechanical fasteners can break the fibers and compromise the material’s integrity.

    To guarantee these bonds, BTG Labs’ Surface Analyst™ precisely, accurately, and quantifiably measures the surface’s readiness to bond. BTG Labs’ experience in the field of composites reaches back to the genesis of the Surface Analyst when the USAF turned to the company to engineer a hand-held surface energy measurement device for composite bonding of aircraft. Since then, the Surface Analyst’s composite applications continue to increase and span into many more industries.

    Surface Analyst Applications Examples for Bonding, Coating, Sealing, and Painting Composites

    • Aerospace: satellites, aircraft, and spacecraft
    • Sports and Recreation: sporting equipment
    • Automotive: structural components, drive shafts, interior parts
    • Medical Device: prosthetics, repair equipment, tubing
    • Marine: structural frames and components, fiber glass applications
    • Renewable energy: wind turbines, fuel cells, marine turbines, power transmissions, solar panels
    • Construction: architectural, fiberglass, bridges, infrastructure, housing, refurbishing

    …Read More

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  • Automotive manufacturers who bond, seal, coat, print or clean need a reliable way to quantify the cleanliness of their surface.

    Automotive manufacturers who bond, seal, coat, print or clean need a reliable way to quantify the cleanliness of their surface.

    Automotive Applications

    BTG Labs boasts relationships with some of the world’s top automotive manufacturers and tier 1 suppliers. The Surface Analyst™, a fast, easy, accurate, and non-destructive surface cleanliness gauge, quantifies how prepared a surface is for bonding, coating, sealing, painting, printing, or cleaning from the lab to the manufacturing floor. Therefore, it can be implemented in a variety of applications. This non-subjective, user-friendly system allows users of all training levels to measure surface cleanliness levels in either a pass/fail mode or exact contact angle degree in under 2 seconds. …Read More

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  • The Surface Analyst Now has Countless Applications

    What began as an application in the aerospace manufacturing industry is now stretching across numerous diverse industries from medical devices to automotive to consumer goods, and many others. The applications of the Surface Analyst™ continually present themselves in a variety of settings. As the importance of surface cleanliness and surface preparation is recognized and implemented more and more, the significance of monitoring surface energy in bonding, printing, painting, sealing, cleaning, or coating comes along with it.

    From determining an automotive composite part’s readiness to bond to measuring cleanliness levels to meet highly regulated specs in medical device manufacturing, the Surface Analyst lends its expertise from the lab to the manufacturing floor.

    While the endless applications of the Surface Analyst are constantly revealing themselves, here is a list of some of the most common applications. From verifying surface cleanliness levels, to verifying adhesion and surface preparation processes, the Surface Analyst possesses multifaceted applications.
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  • Building a More Fuel-Efficient Automobile

     

    The pursuit to produce a more fuel-efficient automobile does not rely solely on the efficiency of the engine. A great amount of fuel efficiency gains are possible not because of improvements to engine design, but because of improvements in materials. This is an obvious thing to say, but by creating a lighter body, an engine does not require as much energy to move a vehicle forward. Car manufacturers have looked to the aerospace industry for inspiration, and much like modern fighter jets, have settled on the use of composite materials in car frames and interiors to reduce weight.

    Poznan, Poland - April 9th, 2015: Presentation of car body construction from BMW i8 on the Motor Show Poznan (in Poznan International Fair). The car body of this vehicle is constructed with carbon fiber, aluminium and special plastic. That's why the BMW i8 is very light in compare with rivals.

    BMW i8 with a body constructed with carbon fiber composite, aluminium and special plastic.

    As the use of composite materials continues to grow– and even become integrated into more critical parts such as automobile frames–the issue of safety becomes more important. Due to the structure of composite materials, mechanical fasteners sacrifice compatibility. The strength of composite materials dwindles when fibers break due to holes used for fasteners. Rather than using mechanical fasteners, adhesives replace fasteners to bond these composite materials to the frame. These bonds are strong enough to withstand the stresses of a wreck. This allows composite material utilization on critical components of the car frame. That is, of course, assuming the strength of the bond remains consistent – and that is where matters become complicated.

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  • Surface Requirements of Aluminum Castings

     

    Automotive manufacturers widely utilize aluminum castings as the most successful way to create aluminum parts. However, this process can involve inorganic contaminants on the surface which interfere with potential bonding, sealing, or coating. BTG Labs conducted a surface analysis test for an automotive company by measuring contact angle with the Surface Analyst™ to determine the condition and cleanliness level of their aluminum castings.

    Aluminum Casting

    Aluminum Casting

    Aluminum castings can sometimes entail silicone mold release or conversion coating which spells disaster for bonding, sealing, or coating. So the surface preparation processes of these castings plays a pivotal role in the success of any adhesion. For this analysis, BTG took surface measurements of the company’s machined engine front engine cover sealing surfaces in 10 different locations approximately 1.5″ apart. BTG measured in three different states: as received; after multiple isopropanol wipes; and after multiple hexane wipes. They also measured after treatment with 220-grit aluminum abrasive paper.

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  • conPolymers are some of the most common base materials used in automotive parts. Polypropelenes, Polyolefins, and ABS plastics are used in dashboards, door panels, bumper fascias, liftgates, sensors, and increasingly exterior doors and fenders. A polymer is a low surface energy material that typically needs some form of surface processing prior to bonding an assembly, encapsulating a sensor, painting an interior control knob or an exterior bumper fascia. These materials also tend to show high contamination with mold releases that can be tough to remove and will essentially guarantee unsuccessful adhesion or coating.

    There are a variety of surface processing methods used in the industry to help remove contamination and increase the surface energy of these polymer materials. These processes include flame treatment, plasma treatment, corona treatment, and solvent wiping. Another option is to utilize specialty paints and adhesives that tolerate lower energy substrates. There are pitfalls, however, to implementing any of these methods that manufacturers need to be aware of. Understanding the nature of these surface-critical systems is the only way to guarantee success in the final result. Control of the inputs means predictability and control of the output.

    …Read More

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