Posts by Pierce Geary

  • For the past five years BTG Labs has been a major presence at the annual meeting of the Adhesion Society. This year we are heading to Hilton Head, SC Friday 2/15 – Tuesday 2/19, to share our insight into how adhesion success begins and ends at the surface of materials used in bonding.

    BTG Labs’ CEO and Chief Scientist, Dr. Giles Dillingham, has been an active member of the Adhesion Society since the 1980’s and is a Robert L. Patrick Fellow of the Society. He has over 120 publications and patents and is teaching two sessions at this year’s Short Course as well as presenting at the conference during the Society Meeting.

    Dr. Dillingham’s first education course on Friday will examine the basic principles of adhesion and surface chemistry: how they are inextricably codependent and what the nature of their relationship is. The concepts he’ll be discussing is the science at the heart of all the work BTG Labs does. It’s this foundation that has allowed us to build an extensive customer base within a wide range of industries to develop and enhance manufacturing processes.

    The next course Dr. Dillingham will be leading takes the fundamentals of the first course and expands on them by exploring how to analyze and control the chemical makeup of a surface. The understanding that comes from the surface analysis allows for the proper control of the surface chemistry which, in turn, makes it possible to reliably predict adhesion success. This correlation between chemistry and adhesion is the fuel that powers BTG Labs’ technology.

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  • Corona treatment is one of the most commonly used methods in adhesion processes for preparing materials like film and polymers manufactured on large rolls. Corona treatment is used to activate the surface, or create a molecularly amenable condition on the surface for adhesion, of a rolled material requiring coating, printing, laminating or painting.

    The treatment works by discharging high-voltage, high-frequency electricity from an electrode in a ceramic tube that runs the length of the roll of material needed to be activated. The electricity is sent through the material to an electrically-grounded, metal roll called the treater roll, that the material is wrapped around. This interaction between the electrode and the metal roll creates a visible flash on the surface of the material roll as it moves between the two components. The results, however, are completely invisible to the human eye. Like was stated earlier, this treatment is altering the surface at a chemical level. Therefore, there is no visual test that could ever offer confidence that the treatment was successful at creating a chemically clean surface. Only a measurable, quantitative inspection gives the data necessary to take action on.

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  • Get the Conversation Started at MD&M West

    by Pierce Geary January 2019

    BTG Labs is going to be exhibiting at the Medical Device and Manufacturing (MD&M) West medtech event Tuesday February 4 to Thursday February 7. Our Surface Experts will be joining 19,000 attendees from around the world for three days at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA to discuss the latest and greatest in manufacturing, cleaning, automation and advancements in the Medical Device industry. 

    Visit booth #349 to get an up-close look at the inspection power of the automated Surface Analyst XA. Tuesday morning at 11:00 the New Product Showcase will be featuring the XA. We’ll be demonstrating and explaining how our technology and services can find the root cause of adhesion failure, as well as give manufacturers the insight required to take back control of their process to prevent future failures. Join the conversation and gain deeper understanding of what it means to have a clean surface.

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  • It’s easy to be dazzled by the advancements in electronic and medical devices that are constantly being made and discovered allowing manufacturers to work on increasingly micro levels. Smaller tech means greater efficiency and higher production rates which can lead to lower prices and more accessibility. Tiny tech means less intrusion when incorporating electronics in everyday devices

    manufacture of chips on a silicon wafer under a microscope

    and medical applications. But we mustn’t let ourselves get distracted by all this progress. The surfaces of the electronic components of this incredible tech need to be clean at a chemical level in order to ensure that any bonding processes will be successful. It’s as true for these devices as for any others.

    Electronics packaging, even at the micro and nano level, requires wire bonding processes and coating operations that involve smaller versions of the methods used on a larger scale. When working at such tiny levels the importance of how molecular level surface activity influences bond success and true chemical cleanliness becomes all the more evident.

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  • Members of the BTG Labs team will be exhibiting at IPC APEX in San Diego January 29-31 at the San Diego Convention Center. IPC APEX is one of the largest showcases of electronics technology and emerging ideas about the future of electronics manufacturing. We’re very excited to be participating in this event and bringing our innovations directly to the attendees of this show. Register today so you can meet us and see firsthand how your most egregious coating and bonding problems can be a thing of the past.

    Visit us at booth #1320 where we will be demoing the automated Surface Analyst XA and the handheld Surface Analyst 3001. The Surface Analyst XA is featured in the IPC APEX New Product Showcase where you can add a demo to your calendar. Have a specific challenge with adhesion, cleanliness, product quality control or other problems with your manufacturing process? Having trouble with your PCB coatings peeling or delaminating? Experiencing de-wetting with your electronic components? Unsure of where the silicone that’s wreaking havoc on your bonds is being introduced in your process? This is the perfect opportunity to speak directly to one of our experts about getting to the root cause of your issue and fixing the problem permanently.

    Our experts will also be able to walk you through the benefits of our newest surface preparation tool, the Surface Analyst 2001, as well as all of the services we offer to optimize your entire surface preparation operation.

    The conference features hundreds of educational sessions and panel discussions offering tons of opportunities to learn about where the industry is going. Use this planner from the event website to organize your visit and schedule an appointment to speak to one of our experts.

  • The BTG Labs suite of tools, that enable manufacturers and technicians to fully control their adhesion processes, has a new addition. The Surface Analyst 2001 introduces new levels of ease, simplicity and accuracy to manufacturing processes, providing the confidence that the surface will stick.

    This handheld tool is an entry-level surface inspection device that harnesses the power of the BTG Labs’ technology to precisely meet the needs of any manufacturing plant floor, field service troubleshooting, or processes that include heavily repeated surface preparation and inspection steps. The 2001 is built to be used in any environment and is sturdy enough to take accurate measurements under any circumstances.

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  •   January 22 and 23 BTG Labs is heading to San Diego, California for the Advanced Packaging of Medical Microelectronics technical workshop hosted by the International Microelectronics Assembly and Packaging Society (IMAPS). We’ll be tabling in the exhibition hall ready to discuss ways to improve adhesion for electronics of all sizes as well as ways to ensure the cleanliness of implants and the reliability of bonds or coatings on prostheses.

    The workshop will feature keynote presentations and many discussions about emerging technologies in wearable, portable and implantable medical electronic devices. We’re excited to be a part of the event and hope to see you there.

  • Photo courtesy of Crest Ultrasonics

    Parts washers are the heavy-duty, hardworking machines that have become irreplaceable staples in any automotive or machined part manufacturing process. As manufacturing processes have become more sophisticated, the industries using parts washers includes not only industrial metals and aerospace materials but also more delicate applications such as medical implants and electronic devices.

    But what are the Critical Control Points within a parts washer system? What are the elements that get overlooked and result in adhesion failure even though the parts SEEM clean?

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  • Co-written with Elizabeth Kidd, BTG Labs’ Custom Applications Scientist.


    There’s a logical fallacy akin to a “what’s good for one is good for all” mindset that is devastating when applied to surface treatment in adhesion processes. Polymers are rapidly being developed and synthesized for niche applications to push the limits of current physical properties of materials. Polymers that are available today did not even exist a few years, or even months, ago. These different materials possess very particular molecular qualities that require distinct treatment approaches in order to compensate for their differences.

     New polymer materials enhance the aesthetics and safety of cars.

    In order to utilize these cutting-edge plastic technologies, manufacturers need to be aware of the effect on the full material system – the baseline material, the adhesion, and outcome of bond performance.

    Diversified polymer use has seen huge advances in consumer goods industries

    The chemical make-up of the baseline material surface is where it all begins and controlling this aspect of the process can stop adhesion failure at the source. This is, however, often the most overlooked and least understood component of successful adhesion.

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  • The pervasiveness of electronics in every manufacturing industry has provided unique challenges. Manufacturers are tasked with protecting these components

    conformal coating adhesion for electronics

    A populated printed circuit board before a conformal coating has been applied.

    in environments that make

    electronics vulnerable to even minute amounts of moisture, debris and environmental contamination.

    A useful solution to this problem is conformal coating. Conformal coating is a thin (usually 25-75µm thick) chemical or polymer film (parylene and acrylic are popularly used, depending on the application) that covers an electronic component to act as a barrier against contamination and a defense against moisture. While, this capability massively enhances the protection of, and therefore the reliability of, electronics, manufacturers have been overlooking a key element to dependability in this system: surface condition.

    Here are four major factors that could lead to poor adhesion which manufacturers are often unaware of the impact they have:

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