Category Archives: Film & Flexible Packaging
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Plastics are ubiquitous a material as they come, and there is nary an industry that does not utilize them in an adhesion application; medical device, automotive, aerospace, consumer goods, and flexible film and packaging industries all exploit the versatility of polymers in manufacturing. Take a closer look at medical device and automotive industries and you’ll find that the same polypropylene used to make car bumpers in the automotive is also used to make life-saving implantable medical devices.
Polymers are generally chemically stable materials. While this is a desirable quality for other purposes, it is the industry’s greatest challenge to overcome for adhesion applications (coating, bonding, printing, priming and painting). In order for these materials to adhere successfully they have to undergo some type of surface activation process, like plasma treatment. This process will impart chemically reactive groups on the surface and increase chemical reactivity. This reactivity is a quantifiable material property called surface energy. Plasma treatment is a convenient, cost effective means of achieving surface activation of polymers. Before the plasma treatment can accomplish the proper activation of the surface, the chemistry of the polymer must be considered.
This week BTG Labs and Plasmatreat got together to co-present a webinar that de-mystifies plasma treatment as it relates to polymer chemistry.
Understanding surface state at each manufacturing step will allow you to gain complete control over your surface treatment and bonding operation. Here at BTG Labs, we provide a process control check that quantifies that surface state with a simple number.
Control the process, control the number, control the product.
This Tuesday, December 11 at 2pm EST we’ll be partnering with Plasmatreat, a developer of surface treatment systems, to present a webinar hosted by Plastics Technology magazine. Dr. Giles Dillingham, BTG Labs’ CEO and Chief Scientist, and Khoren Sahagian, Chief Process Engineer and Applications Manager to Plasmatreat USA, will discuss the relationship between polymer chemistry and the development of optimal plasma treatment recipes. Plasma treatment is the cutting-edge surface processing technique of polymers for critical adhesion applications. It is increasingly crucial to know how to control this process, know how the chemistry of your surface will affect the treatment and know your target number before and after treatment. Click on the title below to register:
Here’s what you can expect to learn:
1. Basic understanding of parameters that affect plasma treatment of polymers
2. Knowledge of the effects of plasma treatment on polymer surface
3. Basic skills in developing and evaluating plasma treatment processes
4. Tools for controlling plasma treatment processes, in the lab and manufacturing
If you have any questions about surface treatment and unforeseen contaminants that may be interfering with your adhesion process, bring them to the webinar for the Q&A at the end. You can also contact us using the form below and ask about scheduling your free process walk to discover your Critical Control Points and gain total surface quality control.
What is a Critical Control Point?
A Critical Control Point (CCP) is any point in the manufacturing process where the surface condition of a material has the opportunity to change—intentionally or unintentionally—and impact adhesion, in a positive or negative way.
Why should you care about them?
The wait is finally over. Making its world debut at MD&M in Minneapolis, the Surface Analyst XA integrates the power, simplicity and ease of our handheld Surface Analyst directly into the manufacturing process. Now, the most precise surface monitoring technology will seamlessly unify with any production line, magnifying the speed and efficiency of surface quality control.
Autumnal vibes have landed at BTG Labs and along with football-watching, apple-picking, Halloween costume-planning we have an array of opportunities for you to interact with us and learn more about the Surface Analyst.