Category Archives: Our Leadership
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:
Manufacturers often encounter a similar puzzle, when cleaning invisible contaminants from a surface, how do you know when the surface is clean; how clean is clean enough? This is a common question that manufacturers ask when preparing their surfaces for bonding, coating, sealing, printing or painting. Until now, there hasn’t been an objective and reliable way to answer this question. Successfully cleaning a surface directly correlates to the adhesive ability of the surface. In order to get something to stick reliably the surface must be clean. How we define that parameter is different for a variety of materials.
For example, you clean your car differently than you clean your dishes. Why? Because a car rides on the road through rain, smog, dirt, maybe mud, and the other is a vehicle for your food.
At BTG Labs, our answer to the “clean enough” question is, “Depends on what you’re doing.” There are dozens of critical surface preparation processes that exist for a number of different applications. A handful include:
- Flame treatment on polypropylene bumpers prior to painting
- Plasma treatment on PET catheters prior to coating
- Hand sanding and solvent wiping on aircraft nut plates before adhesively bonding to composite
- Grit-blasting titanium golf clubs in preparation of bonding to composite
- Corona treatment on film for packaging prior to metallization, lamination, or coating
Roosevelt University, a liberal arts college in the Loop of downtown Chicago perfectly contrasts antiquated and contemporary architecture. Roosevelt’s first venue, constructed in 1889 just in time for the World Fair, is 17 floors of beautiful Art Nouveau structure. The Auditorium Building encompasses ornate railings and scaffolding, topping off with a regal library and a lofty tower overlooking Grant Park. However, because of its age, the Auditorium Building demands constant attention and is inefficient in the frigid Chicago winters and hazy summers.
Their new building, the Wabash Building, erected in 2012 is just the opposite. Its 32 towering floors of curved glass superintends the Auditorium Building, arriving amongst the structural giants of Chicago. Illustrating the epitome of modern design, this highly efficient, state of the art structure is LEED certified.
When looking up at the two buildings, old charm vs new-age sleek, the phrase comes to mind: they just don’t make things like they used to. But, there’s necessity behind this. As the global population rises, infrastructure becomes denser, and resources become scarce, engineers concentrate on building smarter. Designing a building that spares no expense—in terms of efficiency in operation and manufacturing of these smarter materials—is pivotal. This all begins in the research and development lab and extends to the manufacturing floor. Materials and processes are developed to allow for more efficiency in both the production of materials and the final construction. Guaranteeing bonds will hold; paint, print, and coatings will stick; seals will persevere; and cleaning processes will clean effectively is crucial to manufacturing a product that will withstand stresses of any structure.
That is why more and more manufacturers are turning to the Surface Analyst™. This hand-held instrument ensures any surface is ready for effective bonding, coating, cleaning, sealing, printing, or painting. The ability to verify and quantify critical surface processes on the manufacturing floor is the keystone to efficient manufacturing and smarter structures.
A high-grade window manufacturer, for example, uses the Surface Analyst to verify plasma treatment on vinyl window frames prior to sealing. This guarantees the windows will efficiently heat or cool a structure while also withstanding the elements of rain, wind, and snow. …Read More