Category Archives: Film & Flexible Packaging

  • When adhesion failure plagues a manufacturing process it can be particularly disruptive. A production process may be humming along just fine and then it suddenly becomes clear that a coating is uneven, or paint is chipping (when it wasn’t before), or joints are weaker than they had been, or film is delaminating. These instances of adhesion not working properly can be minor if caught and fixed early enough, or they can be catastrophic to the performance of the end product.

    Industries demanding high reliability require adhesion to completely work every single time, no exceptions. The risks of medical devices not functioning properly, faulty wiring in navigational equipment caused by poor coating, or the seal used on a car engine part failing are all too great to leave to chance.

    Not finding the root cause of adhesion failure has real consequences.

     

    So, how do manufacturers eliminate adhesion failure before it starts? How do manufacturers QUICKLY solve an adhesion problem once it becomes apparent?

    Manufacturers need to suss out the source

     

    Finding the Root Cause

    In order to do this, there have to be some preliminary steps taken. First, a well-defined understanding of what adhesion success and failure actually are needs to be established. This seems obvious but putting skin on the bones of the issue and formalizing the performance requirements helps create achievable and manageable standards. This clear, diagnostic approach also gets to the heart of what the trouble truly is. It could be an inadequate adhesive, or a faulty curing process or an issue with the state of the material surface. Systematically checking off these possibilities gets you that much closer to the source of the problem.

    It can be a knee-jerk reaction to only say: if the adhesion failed it must be the adhesive. This is a fine place to start. It is logical to contact your adhesive vendor and look into handling requirements and curing methods if you are experiencing an adhesive. But if his is where the investigation into the root cause ends, the full picture will never be seen.

    If the adhesive and the curing process are looked into and the adhesion issue persists, in our experience, this means the material surface holds the key to understanding where the problem is originating.

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  • Manufacturers are constantly fighting against adhesion problems. Surfaces not sticking and adhesives not working is the daily reality facing manufacturers looking to make high quality, reliable products. The daunting nature of the task to eliminate adhesion failure seems insurmountable and never-ending.

    Changes to equipment or processes are made, and yet, failure still occurs in the form of bonds not holding, coatings not uniformly covering a surface, paint or ink not adhering and in dozens more ways that every manufacturer is all too familiar with. These failures redound to costly scrap rates, recalls, unhappy customers, expensive rework and major stalls in getting a product to production or to market.

    Using a proper wiping technique has a big effect on adhesion: Common Mistake #8

    So, what are manufacturers to do? Luckily there are some steps that can be implemented quickly and relatively easily to move towards eliminating adhesion failure and increase productivity.

    By looking at common mistakes made by manufacturers we can identify exactly how those steps can be used to combat the everyday scourge of adhesion failure.

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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • click here to view plasma treatment webinarPlastics 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.

    Visit our video gallery to view the webinar and use the form at the bottom of this page to contact a BTG Labs process engineer, who can give you remarkable insight into your adhesion process.

  • Surface Activation with plasma treatment

    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:

     

    How to Develop and Quantitatively Control Plasma Treatment Processes for Polymers

     

    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?

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  • The Automated Surface Analyst XA is HERE!

    by Pierce Geary October 2018

    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.

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