Category Archives: Our Leadership

  • Sitting Down with BTG Labs President Tom McLean

    by Christian Meininger August 2017

    Tom McLean’s distinctive voice can often be heard throughout the halls of BTG Labs. I sat down with President and Chief Growth Officer of BTG Labs to learn more about the man behind the voice.

    If you could, please walk me through the steps of your career.

    The career is dominated by software. I started working in the software business in ‘76. At that time, when you told people that you worked at a software company, they didn’t even know what it was. If I was at a cocktail party and said software, people would usually think ‘software’ referred to clothing.

    “Anyway, software from the early days was meant for computers the size of a warehouse. Things that were once done on computers costing millions of dollars are now done on your cell phone for almost nothing.

    “There are similarities between Ci-Vision [where Mr. McLean was President] and BTG Labs. Ci-Vision is a vision inspection company using cameras, lights, and software, and BTG Labs uses cameras, lights, and software to inspect products, so it is also a vision company in many ways. Software is key in both situations. The more powerful your software, the more value you provide. We have a sophisticated scientific instrument here [the Surface Analyst™], which has important hardware elements, but software is also key.

    “I started my career as a programmer with a goal of going into sales and marketing. I was successful at sales, and over time, moved to product management, which I enjoyed most. To me it is the most exciting area of any company. At BTG Labs, product management determines what features go into the next release of a product and the overall product direction. We blend what the market needs and wants, and what we can physically develop, not unlike other companies I have managed.” …Read More

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  • Nestled in the tall pines of the Jemez Mountains lies the Los Alamos National Laboratory. This center of scientific excellence, brings together some of the top minds in the world to maintain the country’s nuclear arsenal.

    This maintenance requires precise attention to detail and includes upkeep and repairs.

    Dr. Dillingham presented to the lab last week on how those repairs can be improved and ways to establish the strongest possible bond.

    His presentation, “Understanding and Controlling the Bond Surface in Manufacturing for Reliable Adhesive Bonding” delved into surface characteristics, the importance of controlling the bond surface, and characteristics of the surface that can be manipulated to form stronger bonds. …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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  • The Aerodef Manufacturing conference was held last week in Ft. Worth Texas. This event is a smaller regional manufacturing show focusing on aerospace and defense industries. The show typically features technical papers on a variety of topics, a small trade show floor, and a few receptions to allow for networking and socialization.

    This year BTG Labs presented a paper on surface controls in manufacturing. Our marketing partner Abaris Training Services, kindly shared their booth with us. During the show, I had the opportunity to meet a variety of current and potential customers, discussing ways to validate surface prep, cleaning, and surface condition. Since my interests cover all surface material related topics, there is always a lot to discuss! …Read More

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  • 2016: A Big Year for BTG Labs

    by Emily Walsh December 2016


    The New BTG Labs


    2016 was a big year for BTG Labs. The year brought new members and growth, to improvements on the Surface Analyst and a new company look. The BTG Labs team comprises of a collection of members from diverse backgrounds such as engineering, marketing, software development, and sales.

    Our new branding took us from Brighton Technologies Group, to BTG Labs. Our new name and logo better reflects who we are: a modern and innovative Surface Analysis company. We call the new, full color logo the Taking Flight mark. It is an abstraction of the contact angle measurement, flowing across multiple dimensions. The logo celebrates the uniqueness and innovation of BTG Labs as well as our ties to diverse industries. Along with these improvements have come improvements to our facility with a new exterior paint color and completely re-done interior. We now have a space that reflects our new look and feel.

    BTG Labs has evolved from an R&D services group to a booming Surface Analyst product company. Through years of deep experience and knowledge in surface engineering and material science, we decided to offer this knowledge to our customers in a standard package and in 2016, created new standard Process Development Packages. These new packages help companies to develop and control their manufacturing processes. Once these processes are established, the Surface Analyst monitors them.

    …Read More

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  • water droplet on circuit board

    Today, the mobility of electronics allows us to broaden the range of when and where we use them. Consequently, electronics encounter threats such as water, extreme temperatures, shock, and contaminants. BTG Labs’ Surface Analyst™ helps electronics manufacturers build a product to stand up to elemental threats. This fast, easy, accurate, and non-destructive handheld device verifies surface cleanliness levels in order to bond, coat, and print properly on a surface.

    Typical Surface Analyst Applications in Electronics Manufacturing

    • Monitor cleaning processes for solder flux
    • Verify surface readiness for conformal coating in circuit board manufacturing
    • Ensure strong bonds on solar panels
    • Guarantee bonding of print on electronics
    • Predict adhesion for UV cured adhesives
    • Measure cleanliness levels of silicon wafers used in integrated circuits
    • Ensure coatings on composite conductive equipment
    • Inspections on glass used in consumer electronic devices

    …Read More

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  • BTG Labs Celebrates Knowledge

    by Emily Walsh December 2016

    Monthly Lunch & Learn

    As a science based company, BTG Labs emphasizes the importance of continually sharing and gaining knowledge. Once a month, the office gathers together over lunch for one reason: to learn.

    Our topics vary, as do our “instructors”. We’ve had Lunch & Learns presented by a chemist about our X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer, a “How the Surface Analyst Works” talk by a product engineer, and our most recent one, “Advancing and Receding Contact Angles” by our very own Chief Scientist and CEO Dr. Giles Dillingham.

    Lunch & Learn

    Dr. Giles Dillingham leading a Lunch & Learn.

    In our latest Lunch & Learn, Giles Dillingham, discussed advancing and receding contact angles. A common question among customers and even employees, concerns receding and advancing contact angles. The receding contact angle is a very sensitive measurement of surface activity and is used by many companies such as 3M to monitor surface treatment level. These contact angles can be measured by using a syringe to slowly deposit or remove the liquid from a surface, which in addition to being slow, can be very difficult to do.

    However, instead of a syringe, BTG Labs’ Surface Analyst™ uses patented Ballistic Deposition to measure water contact angle. Ballistic Deposition, unlike a syringe, allows for measurements on various surfaces and at any angle. Interestingly enough, this measurement produces a contact angle similar to the receding angle which correlates well with adhesive ability. The presentation always includes a question and answer portion in which all members of the BTG Labs team can ask questions.

    BTG Labs brings together brilliant minds of several disciplines like chemistry, engineering, and marketing. We have things to teach each other and we are always looking to learn more. As our team continues to grow, so does our ability as a member of the Material Science community.

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  • Progress in the Reliability of Bonded Composite Structures


    Improving Composite Bonds in Aircraft


    The Surface Analyst™ technology has many of its roots in the CAI (Composites Affordability Initiative) program from the mid to late 1990’s.  This industry/government partnership comprised of a team charged with addressing the perceived risks and barriers to a more widespread use of composite materials in aircraft design. The collaboration included members from the Air Force Materials Laboratory, the Office of Naval Research, Bell Helicopter Textron, The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation, and Northrop Grumman Corporation.

    …Read More

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  • F-35

    F-35 Lightning II

    With the exciting release and testing of the F-35 Lightning II, BTG Labs swells with pride over its involvement in the development of this remarkable aircraft. The F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office recently released a booklet of Small Business Success Stories to share the involvement and collaboration from innovative companies. The use of bonded nut plates makes this plane lighter and tougher. But, successfully bonding nut plates would require verification of surface readiness. BTG Labs’ Surface Analyst provided a way to accurately and precisely measure a surface’s readiness to confidently bond.

    …Read More

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