Category Archives: Our Leadership
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.
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.
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.
Last week, BTG Labs exhibited and presented at the largest composites show and conference: CAMX 2017. Despite a set-back due to Hurricane Irma, causing the date to be rescheduled from September to December, the show attracted a large turn out with hundreds of industry specialists to exchange the latest in composite innovation.
As manufacturers of the fast, easy, accurate, and hand-held Surface Analyst that is used widely in the composites industry, CAMX is a show that BTG Labs anticipates every year.
BTG Labs Sales Engineer Paul McLean, who hosted a booth alongside Sales Engineer Alex Bien, reflects on the event: …Read More
Watch the latest BTG Labs’ video showing the Surface Analyst’s revolutionary method for optimizing critical surface processes in manufacturing.
This video demonstrates how the Surface Analyst provides total surface quality control for manufacturers who previously had ineffective methods, or no method at all. The instrument’s portability, ease-of-use, intuitive GUI, and rechargeable battery provides a surface cleanliness gauge that verifies surface treatment directly on the factory floor.
Maintaining control of a surface allows the manufacturer to guarantee bonds, paint, and adhesives. The Surface Analyst provides instant quantitative surface cleanliness measurements to verify these bonds will hold reliably.
Check out BTG Labs’ recent article published in Converting Quarterly’s Q3 issue. The official publication and technical journal of International Metallizers, Coaters, and Laminators, Converting Quarterly is the go-to publication for web processing, converting, and finishing industries.
Industry professionals and researchers contribute to the magazine and offer the latest in research and development and industry trends.
Dr. Giles Dillingham, Chief Scientist of BTG Labs, contributed to the most recent issue with an article entitled, “Film surface properties: Techniques for measurements and control of treatment level.”
The success of print quality and adhesion quality of films relies on precise control of the surface. Manipulating surface composition with methods such as flame, corona, and plasma treatment can increase surface energy and thus improve the integrity of print and adhesion on film. …Read More
BTG Lab’s recently held another successful webinar. Hosted by Products Finishing and presented by Dr. Giles Dillingham, the webinar emphasized the importance of monitoring cleaning processes and explored different ways to measure surface cleanliness.
In the webinar, Dr. Dillingham discusses measuring surface cleanliness as a way to quantify cleaning processes. By measuring the success of cleaning processes, manufacturers can determine the ideal solution for their application.
Precisely evaluating cleaning processes with water contact angle is a fast, easy, accurate, quantitative to way to gain ensure consistency and precision on the factory floor.
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
Challenges often arise when verifying critical surface processes on the factory floor when measuring hard to reach areas and varying angles. The Surface Analyst conquers those challenges with the unique ability to measure on vertical surfaces, which include assembled parts and hard to reach spots. This allows for easier surface analysis on the factory floor.
A few examples of the Surface Analyst’s ability to measure on vertical surfaces on the factory floor:
- Airplane wings prior to bonding, painting, and repair
- Canopy of jet fighters after cleaning
- Wind turbine blades prior to bonded repair
- Silkscreen bottles post flame treatment
- Ship hulls prior to painting and bonding
- Interior of automobile headlights prior to application of anti-fog coating
- Windshield bond lines prior to sealing
- Class A paint surface for decals applications and reapplications
- Measuring appliances after metal cleaning and prior to power coating
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
Thanks to advancements in powertrain manufacturing, sealing processes have improved assembly efficiency. Formed-in-place gaskets (FIPG) are replacing traditional mechanical fasteners as they are more cost effective, stronger, and easier to apply. However, adhesive bonding rather than mechanically fastening presents different challenges and requires new protocols.
Lead Sales Engineer Lucas Dillingham has presented “Defining Cleanliness in Powertrain Manufacturing for FIPG Applications,” at several events and automotive factories. BTG Labs works with numerous automotive manufacturers on surface chemical cleanliness and what it means for assembly.
Traditional millipore tests reveal particulate contamination, but on a sealing surface, one must detect chemical contamination. To adhere successfully, surface cleanliness on a chemical level is vital.
A byproduct of automotive manufacturing processes is contaminants that are detrimental to adhesion. Processes entailing unwanted contaminants include: