Category Archives: News & Events

  • Dr. Carlos Barrios, a colleague of mine from 3M St. Paul, asked over dinner at the last meeting of the Adhesion Society if I would like to take part in teaching a week-long course in polymers at the leading university in Colombia.

    The course took place at Universidad Nacional in Bogota, Colombia. About 50 engineering students and several professional engineers from the community attended.

    I taught the course in conjunction with Carlos and Omar Arias (Manager of Technical Service for 3M in Latin America).

    We split the course into three segments: I taught “Fundamentals of Surface Energy and Adhesion”; Carlos taught “Recent Advances in the Science of Pressure Sensitive Adhesives”; and Omar taught “3M Solutions through High Performance Pressure Sensitive Adhesives”.

    My segment of the class included hands-on experiments that demonstrated the relationships between surface energy and peel strength of pressure sensitive adhesives.

    The students were incredibly engaged; as a result, the class lasted for almost 11 hours. The questions were technically very advanced and indicated a wonderful level of interest.

    Bogota was a wonderful experience in itself.  Founded by the Spanish Conquistadores in 1538, the old part of the city looks and feels like a medieval Spanish city. …Read More

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  • Plastics manufacturers are all too familiar with the challenges of bonding thermoplastics. Last week, BTG Labs successfully hosted a webinar with Plastics Technology to discuss improving bonding of thermoplastics. The webinar, entitled “Understanding Surface Energy: How to Measure and Control the Surface Properties of Thermoplastics to Maximize Adhesion,” brought in almost 400 registrants.

    Presented byBTG Labs’ Chief Scientist Dr. Giles Dillingham who discussed the surface characteristics of thermoplastics. Dr. Dillingham also explored surface treatment processes such as flame, corona, and plasma, and ways to monitor and verify those processes. The ability to understand and measure the surface precisely is the key to successfully bonding thermoplastics.

    This table shows the relationship between low surface energy and relative interfacial toughness. While thermoplastics are highly durable, they cause difficulties in bonding because of their low surface energy.

    …Read More

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  • SAMPE is the “Society of Advancement of Materials and Process Engineering,” and annually they host a conference and exhibit hall where Scientists and Engineers gather to learn about the past year’s manufacturing advancements. Giles Dillingham, our Chief Scientist and CEO, has been a member for 15 years, and BTG Labs has presented many different technical papers and research projects at this conference. This was my second time attending this conference, after last year in Long Beach.

    While SAMPE targets the advancement of all materials and processes, composites—namely carbon fiber—dominate the show. Many exhibitors manufacture woven carbon fiber materials that will be turned into aircraft structures or interiors. Other vendors supply OEM aircraft manufacturers and tier 1 suppliers, specific parts that will be installed directly onto final products.

    Some examples include specialized composite tubing and fluid tanks for waste and water storage. I also saw: tooling manufacturers, adhesive and tape suppliers, software companies, testing labs, autoclave/oven vendors (one was giving virtual reality tours of their equipment!), and material processing equipment. This included 4 plasma treatment companies. The most we have seen at SAMPE to date. …Read More

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  • Every plastics manufacturer knows that bonding low energy thermoplastics can be challenging. In the upcoming webinar hosted by Plastics Technology, BTG Labs’ Chief Scientist Dr. Giles Dillingham will discuss practical ways to improve bonding of thermoplastics more reliably and efficiently.

    Dr. Dillingham will discuss the nature of thermoplastic surfaces and how the manipulation of various surface treatment processes—flame, corona, and plasma—make or break a surface. The webinar will discuss how the Surface Analyst uses water contact angle measurements to lend imperative insight into surface energy and in turn, hone in on the necessary treatment level for a higher quality, more consistent manufacturing process. After all, the most expensive surface treatment is nothing without an in-place monitoring process. …Read More

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  • In the fast-paced automotive industry, manufacturers are constantly working to engineer stronger and more innovative vehicles. Emissions regulations call for more light weight, fuel efficient vehicles. As a result, manufacturers require a way to build an automobile that has it all: strength, efficiency, and light weight.

    Manufacturers are looking to the new world of ligthweighting; this method cuts down on weight and material without sacrificing the integrity of the automobile. June 8 at 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM ET, BTG Labs will host a webinar along with Industrial Market Insight, a strategic marketing consultant, and Plasmatreat, a BTG Labs partner specializing in highly efficient surface treatment.

    Entitled, “Surface Engineering for Successful Joining of Dissimilar Materials in Advanced Lightweight Automotive Structures,” this webinar explores the necessary aspects of successful ligthweighting. Topics include bonding of dissimilar materials, optimizing surface treatments, and creating new ways to bond. In an effort to reduce weight, traditional mechanical fasteners are replaced by bonded adhesives.  Controlling and understanding the surface is the key to a successful bond. …Read More

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  • New Paper Presented at ANTEC 2017

    by Emily Walsh May 2017

    Last week, BTG Labs exhibited and presented at ANTEC 2017. We were pleased to connect and exchange intelligence with leaders in the plastics industry.

    Our booth featured the Surface Analyst, which uses contact angle to measure surface cleanliness of a material. This monitors the surface preparation process and ensures readiness to bond, print, paint, coat, or seal which can be challenging on plastics. More and more, plastics manufacturers are turning to the Surface Analyst for guaranteeing their surface treatment and final product.

    Along with exhibiting, BTG Labs’ Chief Scientist Dr. Giles Dillingham presented the paper, “Rapid Evaluation of Surface Properties of Medical Tubing for Process Development and Quality Assurance.” The paper explains that the key to manufacturing high performance medical devices is understanding and controlling surface properties. Crucial characteristics of medical tubing such as wettability, adhesion, antithrombogenicity, and biocompatibility depend on only the top few molecular layers of a surface. Dr. Dillingham discusses research done with the Surface Analyst for highly sensitive surface measurements on medical tubing to control coating application. …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.

    …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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  • 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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