News + Science from the Engineers of the Surface Analyst

  • 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.

    …Read More

  •   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?

    …Read More

  • 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.

    …Read More

  • 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:

    …Read More

  • 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.

  • BTG Labs’ CEO and Lead Scientist, Dr. Giles Dillingham and Research and Development Chemist, Brooke Campbell recently collaborated with NASA scientists and researchers from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Virginia on an article published in the journal of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy.

    The article covers research into the sensitivity of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) and how it compares to x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) to detect and measure surface silicone contamination.

    Click here to download the full article. …Read More

  • When a material begins its journey through a manufacturing process it becomes crucial to know and control everything that happens to that material as it makes its way down the line. There are two major factors to consider when understanding and controlling what happens to the surface of that material: the actual physical space of the warehouse and the time it takes to get through the entire process of being bonded, coated, painted, sealed, glued or printed. If you don’t know precisely what is occurring at each Critical Control Point and you don’t continually monitor the surface throughout the duration of the process, you could be trending towards adhesion failure and not even know it.

    …Read More